Sanjeev Aggarwal's Blog

October 4, 2009

Could Video Conferencing become the SMB segment ‘Killer App’ ? At least Cisco thinks so with the Tandberg acquisition!

Good move by Cisco. The key beneficiary of Cisco’s acquisition of Tandberg will be the SMB and mid-market. Cisco already has video Telepresence solutions. However, these Telepresence solutions are primarily enterprise solutions – way beyond the affordability of the SMB (1-499 employees) or the mid-market enterprises (500-1000 employees). Both segments together are referred to as SMB in this blog.

The SMBs and vendors (that service this segment) are rapidly comprehending the business value and short-term ROI that Video Conferencing solutions offer. The global SMB video conferencing solutions and services market opportunity is around $150M in 2010 and forecasted to grow at an annual rate of around 9%. The SMB segment purpose built, cost effective, standards based solutions (from vendors like Tandberg and Polycom) coupled with rapidly declining prices of high throughput network bandwidth are now making the SMB video conferencing market very interesting.

In my 2 previous blogs, I have addresses the market opportunity for these solutions and vendors that provide solutions: Video Conferencing Solution – Now Affordable by the SMBs, SMB’s turning to Conferencing Solutions in tough economic times

Tandberg has an extensive video conferencing solutions family purpose built for the SMB market. With the introduction of the Quick Set C20 solutions, they have priced these solutions more in-line with what the SMB market can afford. What Tandberg lacked was a channel that could sell and service the SMB market – hence, not much of a installed base.

What does Tandberg bring to the Cisco-Tandberg party?

  • A complete set of video conferencing solutions for the SMB market that are standards based
    • Personal, desktop to conference room based video conferencing solutions
    • Desktop video conferencing phone with E20 and the MPX desktop solutions
    • PC based video conferencing with Movi
    • Conference room based solutions from standard def. to HD with the Quick Set C20
  • Almost no product overlap between Cisco and Tandberg in the SMB segment
  • The recent acquisition of Nortel Enterprise Div. by Avaya makes them the market leader in the SMB IP Communications segment. Cisco’s differentiation for these products was diminishing. Adding video conferencing to the Cisco product portfolio will provide the required differentiation.

What does Cisco bring to the Cisco-Tandberg party?

The Cisco/Tandberg pairing will open-up opportunities for Polycom to work with vendors such as Avaya, Nortel, HP (a Tandberg partners) – as they compete with Cisco in the SMB segment.

Cisco’s strength in integrating some of the SMB segment based acquisitions has been less than stellar, especially in the collaboration area. Acquisition such as WebEx, Jabber, PostPath have lost the momentum they once possessed before the Cisco acquisition. Hopefully Cisco will do a better job integrating Tandberg.

One private company (which is a partner of Tandberg) that will make a good acquisition target for Cisco is Broadsoft. They could provide Cisco the push and presence with the global service providers for hosted VoIP and Unified Communications solutions that Cisco currently lacks or are not much of a competitor.

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March 19, 2009

BroadSoft now supporting Hosted Video Unified Communications creating new revenue opportunities for Service Provider partners

Filed under: Collaboration, Conferencing, mid-market, SaaS, SMB strategy — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — sanjeevaggarwal @ 8:56 pm

BroadSoft, the leading provider of hosted PBX platform, VoIP services and unified communications solutions is now supporting video communication solutions from the leading video communications vendors – Tandberg, Polycom and LifeSize.

As SMBs become more distributed and globalized, efficient communications and collaboration are becoming increasingly difficult with utilizing only applications like e-mail and audio conferencing solutions. These companies are turning to affordable web and video conferencing solutions to resolve and optimize the above issues.

In the current difficult economic environments and with increasing travel expenses (both domestic and international) and time commitment required, the new affordable and easy-to-use hosted video conferencing systems that may be conference room or desktop based, the reduction in travel costs is providing rapid ROI and savings in travel time providing increased employee productivity – leading to increased adoption even among SMBs globally. In addition, as SMBs become more environmentally aware and responsible, these solutions help support the need to reduce carbon emissions and provide support for ‘green’ initiatives.

In my discussions with several small and mid-market SMBs in the last several weeks, an increasing percentage of the SMB and mid-market enterprises distributed over several locations, are now seriously considering video conferencing solutions. Some of the larger financial and private venture companies are looking at 3 Tier solutions. The top Tier of Telepresence solution at corporate locations to communicate with key accounts for executive management, Tier 2 small conference room solutions for teams/workgroup meetings and training sessions, Tier 3 of personal integrated or desktop system for more regular 1:1 communication sessions. As the adoption of “presence” becomes more prevalent for IP devices and unified communications, integration of video communications into presence engines will further increase interest and adoption; new video conferencing solutions are based on standards and allow easy integration with other audio visual systems at partner and customer sites.

The ability to use standard web browsers with hosted solutions, off-the-shelf web cameras, and existing network infrastructure has accelerated the popularity and growth of web-based video conferencing market and has helped to drive its adoption into new industries and applications. As video communication solutions now support reservationless On-demand conferencing, they let employees hold impromptu meeting, without pre-scheduling these meetings – allowing them to collaborate when they need to, with whomever they need to, provided both parties have access to video conferencing systems.

Vendors are recognizing the market opportunity and value of video conferencing solutions for the SMB market and are making available systems that are affordable and easy-to-install/ use/manage because SMBs typically don’t have the IT staff to support these solutions. In some instances these solutions can be managed remotely by VARs and service providers. However, they are still a ways away from a price that will explode mainstream adoption in the global SMB markets.

Key Drivers for Video Conferencing Solutions in the SMB Market:

Applications/Markets — Horizontally across all mid-market companies’ sales, marketing, training (for distributed employees, partners, and customers), recruitment, and product development are the key application segments. Vertical industries including financial services, professional services, technology, manufacturing, healthcare, oil and gas, law, entertainment and education are among the top adopters of video conferencing solutions. New applications for video conferencing are being launched with greater frequency as deployment increases; increases in travel costs are prompting SMBs to interview potential employees as this allows one to interact virtually face-to-face.

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February 4, 2009

SMB’s turning to Conferencing Solutions in tough economic times

Filed under: Collaboration, Conferencing — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , — sanjeevaggarwal @ 7:19 pm

In today’s tough economic times, driven by higher travel costs, staff reduction, and tight credit – SMB are turning to solutions that will reduce costs and provide clearly identifiable short-term ROI. In the past year, conferencing solutions service providers that provide hosted audio and integrated web/video conferencing services are experiencing dramatic increases in adoption of these services among SMBs and mid-market enterprises. Not only are more SMBs adopting these solutions, the existing users of these solutions are also using these solutions more often.

This bodes well for the vendors, VAR’s and service providers involved with selling these conferencing solutions. However, businesses need to be careful when selecting a vendor. Stability and financial viability of vendors/service providers becomes more important in the current economic climate, as startups feel the squeeze.

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