Was taking a few planned days off when I realized that everywhere I looked there was video conferencing news. Gartner's new Magic Quadrant for group video systems just came out, there was a big acquistion in the business meeting / video conferencing space and leading business publications were pushing stories about how to make video work for your business. Let's dig in.
2016 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Group Video Systems
The group video market is changing quickly (no surprise) and according to Gartner is in a slow decline phase (contracting by 1.3% annually through 2020). Software video infrastructure, innovative form factors and video as a service and are reshaping video collaboration. In an updated Magic Quadrant report Gartner reviews eight vendors with the necessary reach, scale and interoperability for the global enterprise market.
The report evaluates vendors based on dedicated and huddle room systems, personal video endpoints and video infrastructure. The 'Leaders' in this go-round are Cisco, Polycom and Vidyo, with Lifesize tagged in the 'Visionaries' quadrant. Take a read through the entire report here, courtesy of Vidyo (thanks guys).
LogMeIn Acquires Video / Web Confereing Provider GoToMeeting from Citrix
I used LogMeIn for the first time in 2002 for their server management solution when carving out a $100M business from a larger company and always appreciated the simplicity, security and stability of thier system. Their business conferencing solution had many of the same attributues but I was never a big user. When Citrix came out with GoToMeeting, it exploded onto the scene as a key competitor to Cisco's WebEx and it seemed as if everyone was using it for awhile.
In big news this week, LogMeIn has acquired GoToMeeting from Citrix in a deal valued at about $1.8 billion. According to Fortune:
The combined conferencing business, should take in $1 billion in (pro forma) revenue in its first year, the companies said. And it will have bigger reach to help compete with Cisco’s CSCO -0.42% WebEx, Microsoft MSFT -0.63% Skype for Business, and Blue Jeans Network. Business-focused paid services are all feeling intense pressure from free or near free consumer video conferencing alternatives like Google GOOG -0.05% Hangouts and Microsoft Skype.
The deal will allow Citrix to focus more on its core business lines like XenApps and XenDesktop and in some financial wizardry mumbo jumbo:
Now if only I could figure out how to not pay taxes when I sell something.
Inc. Spells Out How to Choose the Best Free Video Conferencing System for Your Business
Free is a word that a lot of companies like, but when it comes to video conferencing systems it is a word that can come with some tradeoffs. As this Inc. article goes into some of those can be things like, 'immediate, easy-to-use and reliable'.
The article digs into the pros and cons of Google Hangouts, Skype and Zoom and does a nice job of looking at the kinds of things businesses should consider when making this decision. Since this is Inc., it is obviously focused on smaller businesses. So which one wins the prize? Zoom...who would have thought.
The only ding against Zoom is that your clients, investors, or customers might not already use it or know about. Skype is more popular. It means it could take a bit more time to install the app and get things working, but in my experience, it's seamless.
Otherwise, Zoom is my top pick for the low cost, ease-of-use, and features.
My First Time Using Yorktel's Univago Video Conferencing
The other day I was invited to a Univago video conferencing meeting leveraging Yorktel's enterprise-grade collaboratin platform. As I cover in this podcast with Wainhouse Research, Univago is powered by the Pexip platform which brings a lot of benefits along with it, and the experience was pretty seamless.
I clicked on a link in my meeting invite and the conference opened up directly in my web browser. I entered my name and was brought to a full-screen video image of the meeting host (who was the only one in the meeting to start). The video quality was seamless and far beyond what I am used to with Skype, or even most Skype for Business meetings I've been in. As more people entered, the video quality didn't degrade and it was easy to keep track of who was speaking. Honestly, it was as good of a desktop video experience as I have had.
As Ira Weinstein from Wainhouse put it, Yorktel was very smart to start with the Pexip platform which is field proven and stable and takes care of the plumbing. Yortel then extended this solution and put a wrapper around it to make it an easier to use, enterprise platform with improved workflows and management capabilities that allows businesses to take advantage of on-demand virtual meeting rooms and bring in a myriad of devices across various existing video conferencing solutions. It also allows them to do so completely in the cloud.
This is what Gartner meant when they were saying that software video infrastructure, innovative form factors and video as a service were revolutionizing in-room solutions, video endpoints and video infrastructure. With video conferencing solutions as capable and easy to use as Univago, don't be surprised when you are having more and more video conferences as part of your daily work life (just make sure you're not part of the 11% that admit to not wearing pants during video conferences!).