Blue Jeans ready to unleash B2B videoconferencing
“Our basic premise is that a video meeting is better than an audio one,” says Blue Jeans CCO, Stuart Aaron. So why, he asks, isn’t there a booming business in video conferencing using the audio conferencing meeting model? That’s the universal approach in audio where the call chairperson or organiser sends out invitations, and users reply and then log in?
While consumer, mostly point-to-point, video (Skype, Facetime and so on) is booming, the B2B videoconference is only responsible for 200 million video minutes per year while audio B2B is currently generating around 100 billion minutes.
If visuals are better than just listening, why isn’t B2B videoconferencing taking off and that number climbing faster, asks Aaron.
Part of the answer, he says, is that audio conferences have a standard access device - the telephone - whereas video conferencees are stuck with all sorts of different techologies and devices. That means there is a real problem with compatibility should you want to invite disparate participants to a conference.
Then there is the traditional complexity of the video technology itself - getting the sound and lighting right, setting up the camera, and so on. Everyone has a story about videoconferences that didn’t work or took 20 minutes to set up and that tends to make potential partlicipants run shy of committing to another one.
Aaron says Blue Jeans research shows that people who use video conferencing often revert to asking ‘IT’ to come and set it up for them. This is no way to drive increased usage.
Blue Jeans claims it’s overcome these traditional difficulties by coming at the problem-set from a different angle. “We’ve come at this from outside the traditional videoconference industry,” claims Aaron.
So any conferencing end-point client will work with Blue Jeans at the core - includiing Skype, Facetime and Hangouts and a newly announced Android client. Engineering all those connections was presumably no trivial task.
“Essentially we took the classic audio bridging model and constructed a video equivalent. Invitees can access the conference from any device, they get a calandar invitation and they don’t have to sign up to hangouts or become ‘friends’ of the participants. It all follows the usual meeting course.”
So while this is essentially an online service and highly scalable, Blue Jeans has calculated that there is more mileage in using a distribution model - selling the capability through established sellers of kit and services, especially audio services, who will bundle it in under a joint branding arrangement.
Blue Jeans has partnered with InterCall, one of the world’s largest audio and conferencing service providers. Other announcements are expected says Aaron. Telcos are a possibility as partners of course, but there’s nothing to report at present.