Video MSP IVCi: Driving Business With A 'Cloud Of Clouds'

As video endpoints and infrastructure become commoditized, savvy solution providers and A/V integrators have turned their attention to services as ways to preserve their profitability. IVCi, Hauppauge, N.Y., is among a select few that have taken the services model further and soon will look as much like a cloud services brokerage as it does a traditional managed services or video integration type of solution provider.

IVCi this week confirmed the launch of its Video Collaboration Cloud -- an umbrella term for various managed service and hosted collaboration and video offerings through which it will target any visual collaboration need whether it leverages public or private networks.

"We've been doing managed video services for years and all of the things you'd expect from a normal managed services provider," said Adam Kaiser, IVCi's director of marketing. "But we're just trying to make it possible for people to do video meetings in any situation. All these different services let us do that and, no matter where they are, we'll figure out how they can do it."

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Video Collaboration Cloud encompasses current IVCi offerings, including its Managed Video Experience service for remote management of videoconferencing infrastructure and meeting experiences; its Mobility Experience, which joins remote and mobile participants to video calls; and its Public Room Experience, in which IVCi uses an automated Web interface to locate, schedule and pay for public video rooms for customers to use.

Mobility Experience is powered by Blue Jeans Network, the hotshot cloud conferencing start-up bringing on many of the country's best-known A/V integrators and conferencing providers as partners. IVCi was its first solution provider in North America.

The fourth and fifth prongs of Video Collaboration Cloud tackle unified communications and expense management services. UC Experience is IVCi's partnership with Microsoft Lync to provide collaboration and managed video meetings to users; Unified Video Travel Experience offers data on how a company uses its video assets and calculates travel and management savings.

NEXT: IVCi A Cloud Services Brokerage?

It hasn't escaped the notice of Kaiser and IVCI's executive team that all of these services effectively position IVCi under the cloud services brokerage model, where it can offer a range of custom-fit services supplied to customers by, as Kaiser put it, "a cloud of clouds."

"We've been disparate in how we take all these to market, but when it became time to talk about how we're selling Lync video in the cloud, it was clear we needed to talk more about how all of these services come together," he said.

About 15 percent of IVCi's total revenue comes from pure cloud-based services. That percentage gets up to around 40 percent, Kaiser said, when managed, engineering, maintenance, help desk and break/fix services are taken into account. According to research from trade association InfoComm, only about 3 percent of traditional A/V integrators are deriving one-third or more of their revenue from services.

When asked whether IVCi would consider opening itself up as a true cloud services brokerage and selling its services through other partners, Kaiser didn't confirm or deny that option was on the table.

"I think we would offer a lot of value having our own channel, so I can't say yes or no," he said. "We're focused on what we're doing right now."

Lync adoption is a particularly interesting move for IVCi considering its status as a nationally ranked Cisco and Polycom partner. Polycom and Microsoft are already strategic allies, and with Blue Jeans' support for Lync, Kaiser said, it was a natural move for IVCi to strategize around Lync, too. IVCi isn't really a software integrator in the traditional Microsoft channel sense, but it also sells SharePoint, Exchange and other Microsoft stack platforms in the cloud through a partnership with Genesis Global Technologies, a Fort Myers, Fla.-based Microsoft solution provider.

Kaiser was quick to point out, however, that IVCi's Lync practice doesn't change its relationship with Cisco and its video and UC wares.

"Cisco has the Jabber path, and we will continue to go down that path as well," Kaiser said, referring to Cisco's Jabber platform for embedding UC tools into various devices and operating systems. "We try to stay ahead of the curve on all of these services."