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In the spotlight: Tandberg's Rick Snyder

March 19, 2008 | Chris Payatagool

tandberg_160x46px.jpgTandberg is one of a number of companies riding the popularity wave of telepresence, announcing yesterday that it has signed agreements with both Nortel Networks and Microsoft. Rick Snyder, president, Americas, for Tandberg, spoke to Editor-in-Chief Carol Wilson from the VoiceCon show.

On the current popularity of videoconferencing: I've been in and out of the industry over the years. Every year seems like a big year for video. But this year, we are seeing it everywhere - at this show, everyone has a sign up about Unified Communications and videoconferencing. Some of those companies really don't do that yet. You look at our growth, and if that's any indication - we grew 50% last year, and it's all video. I think it's truly inevitable. Video is getting integrated into daily business practices everywhere. We've got a large Internet company customer who makes 42,000 calls a month on video. We used to see large products with 25 units installed; now it's 250 and 1000 units getting purchased at one time. We have big financial institutions making over 10,000 [video] calls a month. They have increased their usage of video four-fold. We are seeing real cases like this, not to mention integrated applications. It is not niche-y, it is part of the communications fabric.

On what caused this change: I think the big players entering the space has helped. Microsoft, Cisco and HP. High definition has come into mainstream. Flat panels and high definition in the home has created an awareness of high-definition and the fact we are now doing it has helped. IP networks have become more robust. All those factors are having an influence.

On Tandberg's licensing deal with Microsoft: Earlier this year, we announced integration with OCS (Office Communications Server) - a nice level of interoperability with Microsoft. Someone using Tandberg in their enterprise can communicate seamlessly with Microsoft OCS, it's an elegant connection without having to think of it. Microsoft has announced RT Video and RT Audio - improved codecs in the Office Communications Suite, and we have licensed those. It is basically an enhanced level of performance.

On the Nortel announcement: Nortel and Tandberg have joined together to deliver a fully managed suite of presence and videoconferencing services. Nortel is delivering managed services, the company is now a global reseller through its direct organization and through service providers of Tandberg's solutions. They have made a major push into services space. They are wrapping around our solutions set a full suite of professional services - concierge, Web-based reservation systems, 24-by-7 support, network monitoring. Nortel had a world-class voice and data NOC [network operations center]. Now they are a triple threat, with a robust video NOC capability as well.

On managed video conferencing services: It's a green field. If you think about video, it's a high-bandwidth application. It requires some thoughtfulness and planning up front when you do implement it in the enterprise, so there's a professional opportunity right up front. There are all kinds of managed services opportunities once the service is launched, to continue to do fine tuning, enhance NOCs, and do an ongoing review and consultation about utilization, video and meeting as well as bandwidth. There are a few companies in the space, however it still is a relatively immature space. It represents a wealth of opportunity.

On environmental concerns as a driver: The business justifications are clearly there -- keeping people off airplanes and driving competitive advantage and productivity gains, saving travel dollars. I talk to customers all the time, and if it's a global business and it's a Fortune 1000 business or state or municipal government, at the senior levels of leadership, the green initiative is a top 10 initiative on their radar. If they can find a tangible way to keep people out of a car or off an airplane, it is valuable, it's real. We're hearing it.

[via Telephony Online]

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