When it comes to video conferencing, inevitably people think of Skype. Catching the hitch of its huge success as a consumer product, Microsoft saw an opportunity to adapt it to the business market. In 2015, Skype for Business (S4B) was born, more a rebranding of Microsoft Lync than a brand new product, and made it part of Office 365.
As video conferencing service providers, we deal in a regular basis with questions like
Does your product integrate with Skype for Business?
What’s the difference between your product and Skype for Business?
We understand and agree S4B is a great tool for teams using MS Office. But we do not see VEEDEEO as a competitor to S4B and here is why: “Skype for business only uses the computer for meetings (no video conferencing systems)”. Carlos Tavares, CEO of VEEDEEO, could not be more clear. “There are a few players that integrate video conferencing systems with Skype for Business (i.e. Polycom), but the licensing is extremely expensive – because Polycom needs to pay a fee to Microsoft, of course”.
So why are Telcos attracted to S4B?
We see Telcos adding more and more products and services to their portfolio to compensate the erosion of margins in voice and data. In the enterprise (B2B) segment they try to sell not only the traditional communications services, but also equipments (routers, switches, etc), software (firewalls, productivity tools – like Microsoft Office 365 and Skype for Business – and other softwares) and even IT support services.
As Carlos Tavares points, “Microsoft wants to get into Telco – with the acquisition of Skype and the move from ‘traditional’ software to the cloud (pushed by Google Apps), Microsoft entered the ‘unified communications’ space, competing directly with Cisco and the other unified communications vendors”. So it is not unusual to see Telcos selling Microsoft products. Unlike Microsoft, Google is not very fond of doing partnerships with Telcos, which leaves room for Microsoft to grow in the Office Productivity segment.
When it comes to video conferencing systems, Telcos continue to sell them. Video conferencing systems give good margins and help grow revenue and presence in the customer, which leads us to conclude in terms of marketing offering it makes perfect sense to continue to push for these systems. Besides, PC is fine for a 1-person-behind-the-screen meeting, but for meetings with more than one person in the room, video conferencing systems seem to be more comfortable, fitable and, overall, the right tool to use.
Where does VEEDEEO come in?
We believe there is still a big growth potential in the video communications area, specially in the video systems area, but this of course will only work if you have the connectivity services to make the video rooms accessible to the whole world and with remote PC-based users.
Telcos can continue (and will) to offer Office 365 and S4B as part of their business productivity software offering. Nevertheless, they will also continue to offer video conferencing systems because;
a) some customers still ask for them/need them; and
b) if giving the right market push, video conferencing systems can become a big revenue stream (just imagine: if Telcos start positioning video communications as “regular” communications – as “regular” as voice – then the market demand would for sure be huge).
In order to have a truly interesting offer in video communications, Telcos need to have an Enterprise Video Cloud such as VEEDEEO to complete their hardware catalogs. When comparing with the phone area, Telcos don’t just sell “phones”, they sell physical hardware and their connectivity with the world (voice). That is exactly what VEEDEEO offers for Telcos (and customers in general): we provide the platform to unite all video conferencing systems and make video communications as easy and “regular” as phone calls.
VEEDEEO made that possible when created the Global Video Directory, a 100% cloud – and so far unique – service that enables users (in this case, companies) to register their video conferencing systems in the cloud, giving them a fixed global video number. Also, users can receive and dial other video conferencing systems – either inside or outside firewalls (you can find more information here and in our release webinar). “This is something that will really make an impact if we have the chance to show this working to Telcos”, concludes Carlos Tavares.
To conclude, Telcos can enrich product portfolios by offering a wider range of video communications services and products – including S4B and VEEDEEO – without conflict.
More on the Global Video Directory: