It's the Collaboration, Stupid !
Ofer Shapiro, the CEO of videoconferencing vendor Vidyo, recently wrote an open letter to Wainhouse Research on Vidyo's blog. It commented on a Wainhouse report relating to Cisco's future architecture and congratulated Wainhouse for saying that Cisco, and the rest of the industry are finally waking up and following Vidyo's lead. (You decide if you agree with that spin).
The problem is that Vidyo has developed a new way to do the same old thing.
Replacing a hardware MCU with a "Vidyo Router" doesn’t solve the REAL problem, which is improving people’s ability to collaborate in an intuitive and cost effective way.
Where are Vidyo and others missing the boat?
- Presence -- Presence is a buddy list that shows who you are connected to and whether or not they are currently available. We all owe a debt to ICQ, AOL Instant Messenger, Skype, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, and others who created a consumer expectation of Presence, and being able to reach out to a contact with one click. People now bring that expectation to work and enterprise communication platforms need to catch up.
- Escalation -- If you have Presence and the ability to engage at different levels: starting with text chat, moving to audio, immersive video, app sharing, white board sharing, etc. depending on what makes sense for each particular interaction, you have an effective solution and what VeaMea believes will drive “Videoconferencing 3.0.”
- One Solution -- A friend often tells me that Polycom and Tandberg can do everything that VeaMea can. The difference is that we put everything into one package with one interface. Other solutions tend to use a cafeteria approach that makes users learn multiple interfaces, and IT support a patchwork of boxes.
- Interoperability -- To roll out a business grade solution, you need to leverage the existing network and desktop assets, to interoperate with traditional H.323 videoconferencing, phone systems and LDAP, have strong security and IT management tools, and increasingly to operate on a variety of tablet and mobile clients. Not a lot of organizations want to throw out everything they have now and migrate to a new platform. More often, adoption is an evolution than a revolution.
To be successful, any company has to focus its product on the core business problem it is trying to solve -- in this case to make it easy for people to communicate in a natural and "in person" fashion despite distance -- and not fall in love with its particular technical implementation, because the technology changes rapidly.