Ira Weinstein
Ira M. Weinstein is the founder and managing partner at Recon Research, an independent research, advisory, and consulting firm focused...
Read Full Bio >>

Ira Weinstein | October 09, 2017 |


Video Conferencing/AV Channel Consolidation on the Rise

Video Conferencing/AV Channel Consolidation on the Rise Things are heating up and acquisitions are on the uptick, with more on the horizon.

Things are heating up and acquisitions are on the uptick, with more on the horizon.

At Wainhouse Research, we've noted increasing pressure on the channel caused by a combination of changing user expectations, ongoing price and margin reductions, and increased competition from existing and new market entrants. We've expected consolidation within the channel for quite a while, yet it's been slow to come - until recently.

Just this week, top player AVI-SPL picked up the pace with its acquisition of Canadian integration firm Sharp's Audio Visual, which is headquartered in Calgary with eight locations across six provinces.

AVI-SPL designs, installs, and supports enterprise-level AV communication and collaboration solutions for meeting rooms, stadiums, control rooms, and distance-learning environments. According to the company, this transaction creates the channel's first national solutions provider in Canada.

Sharp's AV has been in business for 94 years, with locations now in Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Halifax. Sharp's AV also focuses on the design and integration of AV systems, and is the leading Microsoft Surface Hub authorized reseller in Canada.

With this acquisition, current Sharp's AV customers will now have access to AVI-SPL's 24/7 help desk support plus new remote monitoring and management capabilities via AVI-SPL's Unify ME Symphony platform.

For those of you keeping track, less than 12 months ago AVI-SPL acquired Anderson Audio Visual, a move that helped AVI-SPL expand and solidify its presence in California, Texas, and North Carolina. And almost a decade ago, AVI-SPL itself was formed via the merger of Audio Visual Innovations (AVI) and Signal Perfection (SPL).

The takeaway from this recent activity is that AV powerhouse AVI-SPL continues to expand its global footprint and coverage area.


In another deal announced in September, Avedon Capital Partners acquired two leading European channel partners, Viju and VisionsConnected.

Founded in 1998 in Norway, Viju has more than 250 employees distributed across offices in Norway, the U.K., Scotland, the U.S., Singapore, and the Netherlands. On the surface, Viju may seem like a good sized, but somewhat typical VC integrator, but this is not the case. Viju's focus is on efficiency and resource optimization, using a combination of cloud services and a process-driven mentality to drive cost and stress out of video conferencing.

Founded in 2007 in the Netherlands, VisionsConnected is a leading video conferencing (and now UC) managed services provider focused on providing a "hassle and stress-free meeting experience." From its offices in Amsterdam, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, the U.K., Norway, and the U.A.E, the company's 70+ employees offer video conferencing services to customers in more than 120 countries. VisionsConnected sells both direct to end-user customers and via a network of partners.

The combined company will have its headquarters in Amsterdam, and will serve customers in 120 countries from offices throughout EMEA (a stronghold for these firms), the U.S., and the APAC. Viju CEO Odd Sverre Østlie will lead the new company as CEO, with VisionsConnected CEO Raymond Alves serving as chief solutions officer. Østlie's mission includes growing the new company organically and through additional acquisitions. A new brand for the integrated operation will launch in 2018, the companies announced.

The takeaway with this development is that two leading and innovative VC-centric firms have merged to form a top-10 (at least based on top-line revenue) player in the AV/VC marketplace.

These recent deals highlight just a couple of the recent M&A activity in the space. For example, in June, Ford Audio Video acquired Audio Video Resources (AVR), Diversified acquired CompView, Legrand acquired Milestone AV, and SKC acquired Technology Solutions Group (TSG). In August, AVI Systems acquired Dascom Systems Group. And just this week Diversified acquired MCW. If nothing else, the industry is keeping a horde of investment bankers and attorneys quite busy.

Even after these deals, the VC/AV channel remains extremely crowded. This is especially true for the video managed services (VC MSP) and video-conferencing-as-a-service (VCaaS) segments where hundreds of resellers and providers battle every day for enterprise contracts.

We at Wainhouse Research expect to see even more mergers and acquisitions in the future as channel partners struggle to differentiate themselves in a challenging business environment, so stay tuned and keep your seat belts fastened at all times.


October 24, 2018

With disparate workplaces and ever-expanding volumes of information to manage, the challenges for collaborating effectively are only intensifying. Many critical applications are not integrated, and

October 10, 2018

Businesses are growing across international borders quicker than ever, but scaling operations to follow suit can be a harder, longer process.

This webinar focuses on scaling your next-generat

September 26, 2018

Join Kevin Kieller, Microsoft UC&C expert, along with Ribbon Communications and Polycom, for an update on Microsoft Ignite, and a focus on critical things you need to know about your voice deployme

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.