Vidyo: We're The Right Fit For Mobile, Cloud Explosion


Software-centric videoconferencing upstart Vidyo is seeing sizable growth both with customers and solution providers -- something company executives say validates its approach against the industry incumbents it's trying to disrupt.

Vidyo claims that it's top 25 partners have aggregately grown more than 400 percent from the first quarter of 2011 through the third quarter of 2012. It is expanding its partner communities -- and the revenue generated by their deals -- in all of its categories, from VARs and distributors to cloud services providers.

Vidyo's growth is relative, of course, compared to videoconferencing titans Cisco and Polycom that are orders of magnitude larger, and publicly held. But with Cisco, Polycom and Logitech-owned LifeSize all flat or trending down in terms of their videoconferencing revenue, Vidyo -- which trumpets its solutions as costing mere fractions of what companies traditionally spend on video systems -- makes a compelling case for the way videoconferencing should be sold and consumed, said Jim Fairweather, vice president, worldwide channels.

"You look at what they're going through, and we're experiencing exactly the opposite -- this is the impact of software technology on the video industry," Fairweather told CRN this week. "We don't have to speculate about whether this is happening anymore."

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Fairweather said the 400 percent metric does not take into account Vidyo's major OEM partners, which include Google, Nintendo, Philips, Ricoh and Hitachi.

Founded in 2005, Vidyo uses Adaptive Video Layering (AVL) technology in its platform, requiring only the Internet and general data networks to optimize video quality for each participant in a conference. Having taken in about $99 million in venture funding, it's also built a community of partners that includes traditional A/V integrators, VARs, MSPs, telecom service providers and cloud services providers. Overall, according to Vidyo, it now has more than 2,000 customers, 25 service provider partners and 300 resellers globally.

Ashish Gupta, Vidyo's chief marketing officer and senior vice president, corporate development, said that by varying both the types of partners it attracts and the sales models for VidyoConferencing, it's been able to reach further and wider than other videoconferencing providers.

Early in 2012, for example, Vidyo launched a white-label program through which service providers, called Vidyo Virtual Network Operators (VVNO), are able to co-brand and resell the Vidyo platform as-a-service to enterprise customers on a monthly subscription.

Another key launch was a virtualized version of its VidyoRouter, which leverages virtualization techniques in the media plane to scale videoconferencing use in realtime, not based on estimated customer usage. That platform attracted the interest of data center-focused solution providers, such as VMware and IBM VARs, that might not have looked at Vidyo previously, Fairweather and Gupta said.

"A lot of these VARs aren't A/V sellers but they do look at videoconferencing as the next killer app," Fairweather explained. "The growth is in the mobile space, the tablets, the desktops and the services offered through the cloud. We fit perfectly into that entire model."

The videoconferencing channel is itself consolidating, especially among A/V integrators and MSPs, which are partnering and, in some cases, being acquired by larger unified communications-focused partners. Bigger integrators such as Tampa, Fla.-based AVI-SPL have turned their attention toward M&A and international markets to expand their footprints.

"A/V integrators became the trusted advisers to customers, but now video is even more part of the IT buyer conversation instead of just a facilities buyer or a networking buyer," Fairweather said. "So as the A/V integrators get onto the desktop and into mobile, they're also winning on business process and services, which allow them to get 4X to 5X more on the deal based on application revenue."

In recent months, Vidyo, like other competitors, has sought to box out a nascent threat from startups such as Blue Jeans Network and Vidtel that offer interconnectivity and cloud-based bridging between disparate video endpoints, from Cisco to Skype. In July, it unveiled VidyoWay, which it's offering for free and is currently in beta.

"Initially some of our service provider partners weren't exactly crazy about that because they charge people for those services," Fairweather said. "We're taking the appropriate steps to make sure this [works] for our channel."

PUBLISHED JAN. 24, 2013