The real challenge with videoconferencing in a business-to-business environment is not getting end users to appreciate the value of the technology as a communications medium, but rather finding a way to cost-effectively deliver a quality experience to the desktop that truly scales.
Of course, the biggest single issue with scale isn’t the number of people who can participate on the same conference, but rather the lack of easy interoperability between disparate videoconferencing systems. After all, the real business value of any communications medium is going to be the ability to communicate across organizations. Without that capability, videoconferencing is like having a very expensive phone system that can’t be used to talk to anybody outside the organization.
Vidyo starting today is trying to address that issue with the launch of new free cloud computing service called VidyoWay, which allows users of videoconferencing systems from vendors such as Cisco, Polycom and Microsoft to communicate with each other. VidyoWay is a cloud-based instance of the high-definition videoconferencing software that Vidyo markets for the enterprise. The key thing that differentiates Vidyo from network-based videoconferencing systems, says Vidyo CEO Ofer Shapiro, is that the Vidyo approach is an application that can be deployed on a server. That makes it not only easier to scale the videoconferencing system, it makes it easier to create a truly interoperable environment that reaches all the way out to mobile computing devices, says Shapiro.
Shapiro admits that the primary purpose of delivering VidyoWay is to create an opportunity to introduce organizations to its videoconferencing technology, which is already being used by vendors ranging from Shoretel to Google to deliver videoconferencing capabilities. VidyoWay also obviously competes with services from vendors such as Blue Jeans and Fuzebox, the latter of which actually makes use of Vidyo software.
Videoconferencing is obviously a technology whose time has come. Millions of people, for example, take advantage of services such as Skype every day. What needs to happen next is for IT organizations to figure out how to deliver similar types of service across the enterprise before more end users take matters into their own hands.