Radvision Pushes Further Into Video Endpoints With Power-Packed XT5000

Radvision on Tuesday confirmed a new high-end videoconferencing system, furthering a strategy to go beyond its network infrastructure roots and sell video endpoints and infrastructure through channel partners.

The XT5000 unit, which is now the flagship product in Radvision's Scopia videoconferencing line, offers dual 1080p/60fps video channels, HD audio, H.264 for bandwidth efficiency, Radvision Scalable Video Coding (SVC) and other features, including, as part of a later software upgrade, a nine-way embedded MCU.

It also offers what Radvision describes as a simplified end-user experience, with visual controls similar to the ones found on mobile applications Radvision has for the iPad and iPhone. It's further enabled for Radvision's Scopia Control Multi-Touch iPad app.

Bob Romano, Radvision's corporate vice president, global marketing, said it was important for Radvision to come to the table with a full-featured room-based video unit that supported not only the latest in video transcoding needs but also audio capabilities, as well.

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"What's important for a system is audio, data and video, in that order of priority," Romano told CRN this week. "You can argue that if video went away now, it wouldn't be as rich an experience, but without audio we couldn't do anything."

The actual videoconferencing hardware unit also includes USB 2.0/3.0 ports, reflecting increasing customer interest in attaching USB-connected devices, Romano said.

The XT5000 will be available from Radvision VARs and integrators later in the first quarter of 2012. It lists at $10,500.

Radvision until recently was better known as an infrastructure company, providing network and video infrastructure products under OEM agreement to companies like Cisco, for its telepresence line, and LifeSize Communications.

The Cisco agreement, at its peak, accounted for more than one third of Radvision's revenue but was brushed aside following Cisco's acquisition of Tandberg in 2010.

"With Tandberg, Cisco had the infrastructure it needed. That impacted our business," Romano said. "We still sell a little bit to Cisco but for the most part that relationship is over. So we had to add endpoints to our product line."

Radvision's aggressive expansion included a 2010 acquisition of Aethra's HD video endpoint business. Earlier in 2011, it launched Scopia Mobile v3, an enterprise application for connecting video and telepresence systems to Apple iOS- and Google Android-based devices.

"In the period of two years, we've gone all the way from mobile devices to now a full complement of room systems," Romano said.

Next: Building Channel Momentum

Radvision is building traction with U.S.-based VARs, Romano said. It has had good reseller channel relationships in the rest of the world, particularly in Europe and Asia, but the U.S. channel has been harder to crack, he said, because most solution providers are tied to either Polycom or Cisco, with LifeSize and other smaller videoconferencing providers also making waves.

"Our traction has been helped quite a bit with some of the turmoil following Tandberg, because those VARs have found Cisco's channels a bit more about fulfillment, whereas Tandberg was really a value-added channel," Romano said. "A lot of the Tandberg people and a lot of Polycom people are finding our portfolio very attractive right now."

Radvision is also pursuing relationships with service provider parnters, whom Romano agrees will play an increasingly large role in deploying video services and reselling video endpoints to enterprise customers. Romano highlighted recent moves by Eatontown, N.J.-based solution provider Yorktel and Tampa, Fla.-based integrator AVI-SPL as proof that smart channel partners are approaching videoconferencing sales with a services mentality.

"It's not a threat, it's an evolution of how customers want to buy," Romano said. "I think that trend's going to accelerate in 2012."

Radvision will also focus on how its video systems package with other vendors' UC products. Earlier in January, it confirmed that its Scopia Video Gateway had been approved for video interoperability with Microsoft Lync 2010 and Microsoft Office Communication Server 2007 R2. The Video Gateway enables Lync and OCS users to connect to standards-based HD video conferencing systems or telepresence rooms -- something Radvision can also provide for Cisco telepresence systems and IBM Sametime deployments.

"Customers want all this stuff to work together," Romano said. "We'll build, where appropriate, gateways that allow interoperability."

Radvision is scheduled to report fourth quarter and full-year 2011 results on Feb. 8. The company in early January said it expected 4Q revenues to come in between $21.5 million and $22 million -- higher than previous expectations of about $18 million -- thanks to higher-than-anticipated revenues in its video business unit and what Radvision said were "record sales of its video endpoints."

Thanks to its infrastructure products and vendor relationships, the company has been an oft-mentioned acquisition target. In mid-December, the Israeli newspaper Globes reported that Avaya was in "advanced talks" to buy Radvision for about $200 million.