Vidyo Launches Free Interconnectivity Service
The new VidyoWay will compete against the likes of Blue Jeans and Vidtel, but won't support one big-name video endpoint.
One of the hot companies in the video space over the past year has been Blue Jeans Network, whose pitch is that they can make just about any video endpoint talk to any other video endpoint, via their cloud-based middleware. Other companies, such as Glowpoint and Vidtel, offer a similar value proposition. Now an existing video software vendor is jumping into this service marketplace with a price point that's meant to be hard to beat: Free.
Vidyo, which itself turned a lot of heads in its early days with its innovations around the Scalable Video Coding (SVC) technology, announced today that it will offer a service called VidyoWay, which the company says will connect "Cisco, Polycom, Lifesize, other H.323 and SIP-based room systems, Microsoft Lync clients, mobile devices and telephones."
However, you might have noticed one important name absent from that list: Skype. The VidyoWay service, which will roll out in the fall, doesn't support Skype. Vidyo made a conscious decision to support only what it considers "enterprise" solutions, into which category Skype does not fall.
Nevertheless, as the slide below shows, Vidyo is positioning its new service against the Blue Jeans/Vidtels/Glowpoints of the world:
The goal here is to grow the overall market for video, and the value of all installed video systems, by making video communications more seamless and useful.
When I spoke with Ashish Gupta of Vidyo about the new service, he acknowledged that the company is betting that the fact that it's free will be a major adoption driver versus the paid interconnectivity services. He also said that Vidyo intends to use the service as a way of garnering new customers for its own video products.
And that could be the rub: Having a competitor offer interconnectivity would seem likely to push your Ciscos, Polycoms and now Avayas toward discouraging use of the VidyoWay service among their customers. And the lack of Skype interoperability will be an argument they will likely try to use to bolster their case.
If an enterprise has banned Skype and believes it can make that ban stick, then the Vidyo service and its free access would make sense. But if you either tacitly or overtly allow Skype, the Vidyo service omits this segment of users, and if multi-vendor connectivity is important to you, you might wind up deciding that the paid services are worth the cost.
One of the things that makes this VidyoWay service intriguing is that it could serve as a test for the question of what constitutes "enterprise" video--or if that's even a meaningful term any more. If enterprises value ubiquitous interconnection above all, they're more likely to opt for the paid services. If they are keeping a tight rein on end user solutions, VidyoWay could be their choice.