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Opower Discovers BlueJeans Network
Opower produces a software platform for the utility industry that reinvents how utilities interact with customers. It helps people use energy more efficiently and ultimately saves money on their energy bills. Opower has offices in Arlington, VA, San Francisco and in the UK. Scott Schreiber is Director, IT and told me that Opower's company culture depends upon video conferencing to maintain a feeling of being connected.
But business cases of feeling connected don’t necessarily justify the expense of video conferencing infrastructure investments. Opower primarily depends upon LifeSize and Scott said, "And then we discovered BlueJeans."
Opower uses video conferencing for team meetings, employment interviews, meetings with contractors and their utility customers. They discovered the numerous roadblocks to establishing conference calls outside their LifeSize gear and especially with third party providers. Opower adopted BlueJeans because no special software is required, their internal video conferencing usage is spreading and it's just a simple calendar invite message that goes out to the attendees.
Opower has avoided flying candidates in for interviews, avoids travel between offices and maintains that connected feeling between employees. BlueJeans Networks adoption doesn't mean disruption to existing infrastructure or existing investments in gear. Scott said that Opower uses whatever means to connect including Google Chat, Skype and the varied systems and clients that otherwise would not be able to connect without BlueJeans Network.
What really grabbed my attention is that Opower is a hot, local and "green" company that is helping households and businesses shave millions of kilowatt-hours off of electric bills. Opower has different reasons for plugging in video conferencing, ranging from a seemingly youthful staff wanting to have better face-to-face contact via video with high quality LifeSize gear; to meeting with their utility customers. Video conferencing is a method to reduce energy costs (fuel for travel) and substantial time absorbed in travel. Opower adopted video conferencing early on before moving to LifeSize and then found BlueJeans. Plugging in, connecting when, where and with what's available isn't a theme song but a new reality. BlueJeans Network has some pretty cool glue that hits upon solving barriers to entry and solving compatibility/interoperability headaches for enterprises trying to implement successful video conferencing rooms.