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Fairweather said he held discussions with several major video industry players, but Vidyo's buzz was hard to ignore.
"If you look at the momentum this technology is carrying, and you look at the industry, everyone knows they've got to do something in this space," he said. "Cisco, Polycom and LifeSize talk about this, but at the end of the day, this is the last thing they want to see. Their whole installed bases are hardware-based endpoints or MCUs. No one has the scalability and infrastructure that Vidyo has."
Vidyo was already looking to hire channel managers, and when Fairweather became available, it saw a chance to bring talent and years of video channel sales relationships over, said Vidyo's Hughes. (Hughes himself is a past Polycom channel chief, and has also held executive positions at Radvision and LifeSize. Most of Vidyo's executives have spent time at one or more of the industry's stalwarts, in fact.)
Vidyo's products allow solution providers to tell a mobility story, a SaaS story and an infrastructure story as well as a video conferencing one, Fairweather said. As worldwide channel chief, he'll be focused on developing Vidyo's partnerships with VARs and integrators focused on SMB all the way up to larger enterprises.
"With channels, you have to do what you say you're going to do," Fairweather said. "I think you need to manage [solution providers] as business partners, but also treat them like customers. They want leads, they want lead generation engines and all the things that are part of a program, like co-op marketing or MDF. For a small company, Vidyo has done an extremely good job of all that so far."
David Phillips, president and COO of York Telecom, an Eatontown, N.J.-based solution provider and video specialist, said Fairweather's hiring is a big move for Vidyo as it looks to broaden its channel appeal.
"This will be perceived as very positive for Vidyo," Phillips said. "It makes them more legitimate, in a way. [Jim] knows everybody, and from people I've spoken to, the thought is this makes them even more a proper player in the industry."
Phillips, who joined York Telecom in March, was senior vice president of worldwide sales at Polycom until February 2009. He managed Fairweather as part of his team.
Vidyo, with whom York Telecom has been looking to tighten its relationship, will benefit from what Fairweather can bring to its channel focus, Phillips said.
"It's a good move for [Vidyo co-founder and CEO] Ofer [Shapiro] and Vidyo, and a good move for Jim," Phillips said. "Now he can bring his relationships to bear there, and he has a wealth of experience and knowledge that's going to enable them to be a trusted partner to customers. He's a good guy."
The ball's in Vidyo's court to grow its relationships and harness the growth of trends such as video-as-a-service. For example, about 30 percent of Vidyo's sales at present go through service providers at present, Hughes told CRN.
But it's also a matter of perception, and positioning the Vidyo platform not only as a lower-cost, feature-rich, flexible alternative to big ticket systems, but also as a more enterprise-centric video solution than what users get with Skype and low-end video services, Hughes said.
"We give them the freedom from dedicated hardware like the Skype service provides, but we also provide a bunch of business-quality functions like encryption, like recording, like multi-point and other features that aren't part of what Skype has," Hughes said. "We're that bridge technology: we sit in between the Ciscos and Polycoms and the high-end stuff -- which is a market we think is pretty limited -- and the free or cheap guys doing video chat."
The company's profile is heightening. Among admiring notices from the A/V and networking analyst communities, it also recently celebrated a major win with the Ontario Telemedicine Network, one of the world's largest telemedicine networks and a contract for which Vidyo beat out all of its major rivals.
The mobility factor is one of many keys to Vidyo's appeal, Fairweather said.
"For remote workers, especially, using the same infrastructure they're currently on right now is very significant," he said. They still have the travel-savings and productivity-savings pieces, but the bigger issue has always been ease of use and connectivity. That all goes away with this product."