Blue Jeans Network: Video Interoperability Solved In The Cloud


Blue Jeans Network, a videoconferencing startup emerging from stealth mode this week, says it has a no-hassle, cloud-based solution to a common problem: video interoperability among competing vendor platforms.

And not just competing enterprise video platforms, Blue Jeans insists, but also enterprise-to-consumer video platform connectivity, too.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company on Wednesday announced commercial availability of its "any(ware) video conferencing" service, which has been in field trials since the beginning of the year. Blue Jeans opened those trials to the public in April, building buzz on word-of-mouth from its early subscriber base.

How the service works is that Blue Jeans Network users have access to a private, online "meeting room" using the Blue Jeans cloud, from which they can schedule, host and manage their own video conferences via a Web interface. Participants in those meetings join in by dialing a number or clicking a link, according to Blue Jeans. All that's required of users is an Internet connection and a video-enabled device.

The transcoding between different video and audio protocols, streams and security controls is performed using Blue Jeans' infrastructure, and the company says it can bridge H.323, SIP, PSTN audio and other protocols, with more on the way. Up to 10 participants can be part of a scheduled video call, and participants can also join the call via audio if no video option is available.

The hook, according to Blue Jeans, is that it removes concerns about one video platform not connecting with another. Using Blue Jeans' service, an executive using Skype in a hotel room, for example, could connect with a company videoconference back at headquarters that used a Cisco video endpoint, or a Google Talk user could connect to a LifeSize or Polycom video system.

"What was once an elite boardroom technology has moved to the cloud, enabling interoperability and lower price points," said Krish Ramakrishnan, Blue Jeans' co-founder and CEO, in a statement. "We democratize video conferencing, leveling the playing field for the entire global workforce."

Blue Jeans plans to offer the service through channel partners, and according to its Web site, a partner portal and structured channel program are set to go live soon.
Blue Jeans also this week confirmed a partnership with Deutsche Telekom, although did not provide details on what that partnership entails.

The company boasts some decorated networking veterans. Ramakrishnan was an entrepreneur-in-residence at Blue Jeans investor Accel Partners, and before that, was general manager for the server virtualization business at Cisco, as well as CEO of Topspin Communications, which was acquired by Cisco in 2005. Co-founder and CTO Alagu Periyannan was CTO at Blue Coat Systems, and earlier in his career spent eight years at Apple. Chief Commercial Officer Stu Aaron, who according to Blue Jeans introduced Ramakrishnan to Periyannan in 2008, was a vice president at Bloom Energy and held various executive roles at Topspin and CacheFlow.

Blue Jeans is venture capital-backed, primarily from Accel Partners, New Enterprise Associates and Norwest Venture Partners, and has raised $23.5 million so far. Among Blue Jeans' five-person board of directors is Charlie Giancarlo, the former Cisco executive vice president and current managing director at investment firm Silver Lake.