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Videoconferencing with Swiss Quality and Precision
The VidyoWorks platform is supporting yet another partner, as Swisscom launches Vidia. There are a few interesting things about this announcement in particular, but it is also a great example of a larger Vidyo story. We spoke with Mark Summerson, Vidyo VP of EMEA Managed Services, to get the details.
Swisscom is the leading ICT provider in Switzerland. They were looking to provide their customers with more than a typical rebranded videoconferencing offering. They wanted to create a Swiss offering. The Swiss reputation for quality and precision goes beyond watches and other stereotypes. It even applies to their communications services. Swisscom has some advantages going into the VC game, as they have a great existing infrastructure for mobile and fixed IP networks. This puts them in the enviable position of being able to offer their customers a load of new services, with the knowledge that their network can handle it and their customers won't be disappointed.
Videoconferencing is an obvious choice if you are looking to provide services that benefit from strong bandwidth, and Vidia is the result. While Swisscom took it upon themselves to create the user interface and other customer facing elements of the solution, they needed a partner who could provide the video infrastructure and technology to support it. Vidyo was chosen for a number of reasons. The quality of the Vidyo experience was an obvious key factor. Perhaps not as obvious, but equally important, is Vidyo's ability to easily scale to support all of Swisscom's customers, without massive hardware costs or additional complexity.
What I find most telling about the Vidia offering is that it is being directed towards the SMB market. In my opinion, this is the vast underserved audience for video. Google Hangouts and Skype are covering the low end consumer market, while the high end market can afford full featured, high quality, meeting room VC. But what about those in the middle? The small working team trying to make do with a laptop in a huddle room, or the startup with 2 offices? They need something more than consumer video, but with professional quality and features. It is a great sign for our industry to see companies like Swisscom actually target this market, rather than treat it as an afterthought.
Vidyo's Current Market Differentiation
The bigger story is how this partnership provides a direct answer to industry pundits, who have been questioning Vidyo's strategy in recent blog posts. They start the discussion by noting that when Vidyo first hit the market, it was very easily differentiated from the existing VC industry players, which helped with early growth and success. Obviously, being different isn't enough to disrupt a market. Vidyo made a huge bet, not just that software would replace hardware, but that their SVC protocol would be the preferred way of pumping video over the public internet. The fact that SVC was the real deal, meeting its performance expectations at large scale, combined with its clear differentiation and price advantage over the existing market, was a clear winning combo for Vidyo.
But the problem, according to the critics, is that the industry has evolved and Vidyo is now one of many affordable software VC providers. Was Vidyo's success solely based on cutting into competing hardware sales, or do they have a way to compete against the wave of software VC upstarts? The answer lies in the Swisscom partnership. Vidyo is competing at a platform level. Sure, they have a desktop client which can be compared toe to toe with the new upstarts, but that isn't their focus. Vidyo strongly believes that their technology is the most logical, efficient, and effective way of sharing video across the public internet. They don't care how users ultimately consume it, as long as Vidyo gets to provide the platform, which is why they have focused on making it scalable, and flexible, for partners.
Vidyo wants the world to use their technology, regardless of whether you are a Swisscom customer, a CERN affiliate, Mitel UC user, WiiU player, Google Hangout user, FPT customer, Arkadin customer, etc., etc., etc. When you see Vidyo as competing on this level, their market advantage once again becomes clear. Now that software VC is the name of the game, why should a company like Swisscom go with an upstart when they can go with Vidyo, now an established industry player, and still the SVC technology leader (in terms of patents, and membership / participation in SVC standards organizations).
In other words, over the first portion of its history, Vidyo had great success with the early adopters, who were willing to bet on what seemed like a new and perhaps a bit "weird" technology. The more conservative Swisscoms of the world don't bet on unproven technology, and would prefer to avoid betting on upstarts, if experienced vendors are available. Vidyo has now been around long enough to be considered part of the established guard. Somehow the big gamble in the industry became the safe bet.
About the Author
David Maldow, Esq. is a visual collaboration technologist and analyst with the Human Productivity Lab and an associate publisher at Telepresence Options. David has extensive expertise in testing, evaluating, and explaining telepresence and other visual collaboration / rich media solutions. David is focused on providing third-party independent analysis and opinion of these technologies and helping end users better secure their visual collaboration environments. You can follow David on Twitter.
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