They said the strength Cisco adds to the video market outshines fears of channel margin pressure. Cisco's presence in the video conferencing market at more levels -- Tandberg fills in gaps for Cisco beyond Cisco's own Digital Media Suite, video surveillance and TelePresence offerings -- will catalyze channel profits in the space.
"It really just brings credibility to the space," said Michael Brandofino, executive vice president of video communications and unified collaboration at AVI-SPL, Tampa, Fla. "It's good to have a muscle player around to show how it can be done."
"As a provider we can now address end-to-end user requirements," added Michael Heiman, vice president of engineering for Nexus IS, Valencia, Calif. "It also gives us room to build on that foundation."
No longer is video an endpoint resale game, although gear is still important, the partners said. The biggest opportunity for the channel is in video services, and also, for solution providers that don't sell video gear itself, the ability to optimize network and data center infrastructure to meet the demands of video. "In some ways, you had traditional concierge services. We see that market going away though and giving way to professional services and ongoing managed services to make sure it works the way it needs to," offered Rob Lopez, managing director, solutions at Dimension Data, New York, N.Y.
Managed video services and the cloud's role in offering video services will continue to be crucial, partners agreed.
"Cloud-based infrastructure is what will allow smaller businesses to get into the video conferencing community," Brandofino said. "A consistent roadmap and a major company backing [video] is going let us all have a lot more conversations."