Comstor Adds Cisco, Tandberg TelePresence Video Solutions

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Westcon Group's Comstor business unit has expanded its Cisco Systems offerings to include the full TelePresence portfolio, including those recently added through the vendor's acquisition of Tandberg, according to Westcon.

"This is a very important part of our [Cisco] portfolio. The Westcon [division] already has video telepresence capability with Polycom. Now we can bring that capability to Comstor," said Dean Douglas, Westcon Group CEO.

Douglas was excited to add the Tandberg portfolio, which he described as robust and extending from SMB up to "significantly sized systems." Video conferencing solutions also are a fantastic opportunity for solution providers, he said.

"Reading some reports from Gartner, they talk about a business that has an industry TAM [total addressable market] of $4 billion globally," Douglas said. Many analyst firms expect the market to reach $8 billion to $10 billion within four years, according to Westcon Group. "This gives us a chance to participate more fully in that," Douglas said.

Businesses will look to utilize more video conferencing as a means to save travel costs but also as employees get more used to using video as consumers, Douglas said.

"People will use video extensively at home, whether it's Skype or using it through YouTube, they will communicate in new ways. People at home are getting comfortable using it. It's not a nebulous concept and they're coming into the office wondering why they can't do it. It's becoming frustrating for folks not to have that capability when they can do it at home," Douglas said.

IT departments will face more pressure to implement more robust unified communications platforms that include video, Douglas said. "For our reseller base, that's an extraordinary opportunity," he said.

Comstor will distribute the entire portfolio of Cisco TelePresence and videoconferencing products, including: Immersive Systems, Multipurpose Room Systems, Personal Systems, Solutions Platform, Call Control, Management, Conferencing, Media Services, Peripherals and Accessories, and Cloud Services.

To attract more solution providers to video conferencing, Comstor plans an education program and more for solution providers, Douglas said.

"It's not just about certification, though that's important of course. It's about understanding how to take the products to market. We'll support their go-to-market activities and help them with configuration and pre-sales support," Douglas said.

In addition, solution providers can leverage Westcon Group's global reach for help deploying video conferencing solutions on an international scale.

"The capabilities we have in being able to distribute and manage distribution of those products on a global deployment is an area where it's very important [to VARs]," Douglas said. "In about 70 countries we can be the importer of record and manage all those logistics activities. In other countries we can find an importer of record to bring the goods in and get to the customer's site."

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