York Telecom: Prime Time For A Video VAR

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As videoconferencing becomes an increasingly hot opportunity for solution providers, the channel players that win will be those with the best combination of video partnerships, endpoint and infrastructure expertise, and managed services muscle. And David Phillips is sure that description fits York Telecom, a growing Eatontown, N.J.-based solution provider and managed services specialist, to a T.

Phillips, a 30-year IT veteran, joined York Telecom as president and COO in late March, part of a changing of the guard at York Telecom that found former president and COO Ronald Gaboury stepping into the role of CEO. York Wang, who founded the company in 1985 and is its former CEO, is staying on as chairman of the board and York Telecom's majority shareholder.

Among other career highlights, Phillips was COO of networking VAR ACS Dataline, but many in the channel know him for the two and a half years he spent at Polycom, where he was senior vice president, worldwide sales until February 2009.

Phillips' years at Polycom ran parallel to a breakout period in video, when it moved beyond a niche technology play into a key piece of many vendors' and solution providers' UC strategies. For a while, the enterprise videoconferencing space was a clash between Polycom and Tandberg, Phillips said, and then more and more solution providers saw the combination of bandwidth availability, video quality and video-related services as creating opportunity for video.

"The dynamics of the vendors changed irrevocably," Phillips said in a recent interview with CRN. "You had a nice, quiet little duopoly, really, between Tandberg and Polycom, and then you had LifeSize and Sony and others. But a couple of things happened. The technology itself came of age in 2007, particularly when HD was launched with videoconferencing, and then you had telepresence and the innovation in the products and the networks."

Phillips credits Cisco CEO and Chairman John Chambers for being "the world's biggest promoter of videoconferencing" and helping to shift the conversation around video from a commodity endpoint product type of sale to a consultative, higher-level business conversation. Current competition in the video space kicked into higher gear, Phillips said, when Cisco pulled the trigger on its $3.3 billion acquisition of Tandberg in 2009.

Consolidation has been ongoing in the space since then, with recent moves like Microsoft's $8.5 billion play for Skype and Polycom's grab of HP's videoconferencing business as key examples.

NEXT: Video Market Not Crowded Yet

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