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HP Introduces Rival to Cisco, LifeSize, Polycom Video Conferencing
January 26, 2011 | Kendal Kirby
HP will make its Visual Collaboration video conferencing portfolio available to the channel through distribution giant Ingram Micro. The solutions enter a market that is dominated by players such as Polycom, LifeSize and Cisco.
The HP Visual Collaboration videoconferencing portfolio was launched at the end of 2010 is making its way to HP channel partners by way of Ingram Micro. Now available through Ingram Micro, HP Visual Collaboration products will be jointly promoted to the channel by the two companies, starting with road shows and boot camps in January and February.
HP Visual Collaboration is a software-based videoconferencing solution based on Scalable Video Coding (SVC) encoding technology that includes a desktop client, executive desktop and room videoconferencing systems. HP announced the portfolio of products at the end of 2010, entering into a competitive landscape that includes vendors like Cisco Systems, LifeSize and Polycom.
"We believe with the technology we're launching, which is an SVC-based codec instead of very expensive hardware-based codecs, we think we're really leapfrogging in technology," said Frank Cohen, director of worldwide channels for HP Visual Collaboration. He added that the products and low price point of the products will give HP channel partners an advantage.
According to Cohen, many partners have been expecting HP to enter the videoconferencing space to compete with the desktop and telepresence videoconferencing systems already on the market. Cohen noted that the Visual Collaboration solution is an extension to all of the other technologies HP partners are already deploying into customer environments. This will give them one more thing to layer on top of the infrastructure that they're already implementing.
"It really does change the economics from a number of perspectives for the customer," Cohen said. "It has a very low barrier for entry. Everywhere from the enterprise to the mid-market to the SMB customer can benefit from wide-scale deployment of low-cost videoconferencing."
HP chose to work with Ingram Micro for the channel launch of Visual Collaboration because of the distributor's geographic reach, its ability to be a one-stop shop for HP products, and its historic strength in dealing in HP products. Ingram Micro will also be jointly promoting the videoconferencing solution with HP to its customers.
"We've got these three initial recruitment seminars that are going to be taking place over the next several weeks. Those seminars are going to be taking place in conjunction with Ingram Micro," Cohen said.
The VAR Boot Camps series kicks off on January 26 at HP's Executive Briefing Center in Cupertino, California, followed by additional events in Plano, Texas and Buffalo, New York in February.
Ingram Micro will be carrying the full line of Visual Collaboration products, which includes HP Visual Collaboration Desktop, HP Visual Collaboration Executive Desktop (which won't be available until June 2011), HP Visual Collaboration Room 100 and Room 220, HP Visual Collaboration Portal (which comes pre-configured on HP ProLiant DL360 servers), HP Visual Collaboration Router and HP Visual Collaboration Gateway.
Channel partners will have all the typical benefits of the HP PartnerONE program, including access to sales tools on the partner program's portal, discounts on demo equipment, special pricing for enterprise opportunities and the MDF program.
With demand for video in the enterprise accelerating, Cohen said HP channel partners can start now to build a healthy video practice. And there should be plenty of opportunities for the channel, as Gartner forecasts explosive growth in the videoconferencing space over the next 12 months.
"This is not commoditized technology, and as such, because it's such a hot space and there's still a lot of value from the customer's perspective in the knowledge and technology that's being deployed and supported, there's a lot of money to be made," Cohen said. He added that partners can gain additional revenue through providing services and support to customers that adopt videoconferencing technologies.
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