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Farewell to BlueJeans

Verizon Business’ announcement on August 16 that it was sunsetting BlueJeans came as a blow to many of us in the UC and collaboration industry who have closely followed the service for many years. 

BlueJeans was a pioneer in delivering high-quality meeting experiences with both integrated hardware and software. Via its partnership with Dolby, BlueJeans brought innovations to the market that included support for spatial audio, allowing meeting participants to sense the position of remote participants, as well as sophisticated noise cancellation. Many of you may even remember the BlueJeans noise-cancelling demos at past Enterprise Connects where the presenters used a hair dryer to show how BlueJeans cancelled background noise during meetings. And BlueJeans brought features to meetings such as the ability to add notes and capture clips to meeting recordings, long before many of its competitors. In our research we found that BlueJeans was well liked by its customers with BlueJeans recently earning top honors in our MetrigyMetriStar Awards for meeting applications.

Unfortunately, BlueJeans wasn’t well positioned to take advantage of the rapid adoption of video meetings during the COVID-driven shift to work-from-home in 2020. Zoom, through its freemium model, quickly captured the lions' share of the consumer market while it continued to make inroads in the business market as well. Microsoft and Google gained share by bundling their meeting apps into their broader workplace collaboration suites. And Cisco was able to leverage its already extensively deployed Webex conferencing app to expand its video footprint. Meanwhile other stand-alone meeting vendors like GoTo Meeting and UberConference became part of larger UC suites.

Even with Verizon’s acquisition of BlueJeans in early 2020, the company was never able to find a pathway to grow enterprise adoption in the face of growing competition from those who offered video meetings as part of a broader suite of collaboration tools. 

With Verizon’s focus now on mobile-first collaboration, the end has arrived for BlueJeans. Existing customers have a relatively short window to move to a different service, with Verizon planning to retire the service by the end of the first half of 2024. 

With the demise of BlueJeans, three core truths have emerged.


The Age of Stand-Alone Video Meeting Services is Over

Today, most companies buy video meeting apps as part of larger suites that allow for bundling of integrated calling, messaging, and other capabilities including webinar and contact center. Yes, there are still a few video-first companies, like Pexip, that focus on companies who want to run their own, secure, video meeting platform, or for those who want to use video CPaaS to build custom applications, but by and large, video meetings are a featured incorporated into a suite of workplace collaboration applications.


AI Will Drive Innovation

Generative AI is all the rage in the collaboration space, with Cisco, Google, Microsoft, and Zoom all launching GenAI capabilities in the last year. While BlueJeans had some early advantages around meeting summarization, its ability to keep up with competitors' AI initiatives required significant long-term investment. With the aforementioned transition of video meeting apps from standalone products into part of broader collaboration suites, it didn’t make sense for Verizon to spend the money to try and keep up, especially when competing GenAI solutions integrate with a broader set of collaboration applications.


Verizon will be OK

Verizon has continued to rapidly grow its OneTalk mobile offering, which now even has desktop phone options. It has also emerged as a leading partner for workplace collaboration platforms from Cisco, Google, and Microsoft. It was an initial Microsoft partner for the launch of Teams Phone Mobile through its “Verizon Mobile for Microsoft Teams” offering, and it will continue to leverage its fixed and wireless capabilities to deliver innovative solutions for partner software offerings. Verizon is a key partner as well for UCaaS companies offering the ability for customers to “bring your own carrier” for PSTN connectivity.

In the end, BlueJeans was a strong contributor to the advancement of video meeting experiences. It was one of the first, who through both innovative hardware and software, attempted to bring high-quality experiences to the masses. It will be missed by those who used it. Its long-term legacy is that it advanced video meeting experiences and drove innovation across the industry. 

About Metrigy: Metrigy is an innovative research and advisory firm focusing on the rapidly changing areas of workplace collaboration, digital workplace, digital transformation, customer experience and employee experience—along with several related technologies. Metrigy delivers strategic guidance and informative content, backed by primary research metrics and analysis, for technology providers and enterprise organizations