Polycom has taken another big step into the subscription-based, platform-agnostic Video-as-a-Service space by forging a partnership with BlueJeans Network to offer partners another powerful video services option.
"It's a significant step for us as we build out our cloud offering," Nick Tidd, vice president of global partners at San Jose, Calif.-based Polycom, said of the BlueJeans partnership. "More importantly, it's a continuation of the strategy for channel partners we laid out a year ago. They wanted multiple different means of communication through video."
The Polycom-BlueJeans partnership will use a meet-in-the-channel model. As Polycom partners call on customers or prospects, they can help decide which solutions fit those customers' needs best, whether it’s a new solution or an upgrade to an existing solution, and whether it's BlueJeans or another vendor, Tidd explained.
"The traditional way many of us went to market was a closed architecture," he said. Now, "the partner is truly the integrator. You can provide multiple solutions based on need. Voice and video is becoming more pervasive, video at a significant clip. This gives us a best-of-breed solution."
The BlueJeans partnership follows a similar partnership Polycom struck with previous competitor Zoom in May. That agreement allows Zoom video services to be used in Polycom-equipped facilities.
Tidd said subscription-based Video-as-a-Service solutions can be very profitable for partners who approach them correctly, especially in K-12 education and midsize enterprises.
"They can go in and upgrade rooms, but there are greenfield opportunities where folks are looking for cloud delivery rather than fixed infrastructure," Tidd said. "That's the fastest-growing segment in video today. Traditionally, they've talked about infrastructure on a Capex model versus VaaS, which is all subscription-based. As a reseller, this is fantastic. I can bring multiple choices to the environment and I'm not locked into a proprietary stack. Only Polycom is doing that today."
So far, Polycom has delivered on that strategy, said James Copperthite, vice president of sales at VSGI, a Washington, D.C., solution provider that works with Polycom.
"Polycom has made quite a transition in the last 12 to 18 months, going from a hardware infrastructure provider to being hardware-agnostic," Copperthite said. "That's very similar to how we approach the business with our customers. At the end of the day, we work with our customers to develop a solution based on their requirements, and that means often I'm using someone else's infrastructure to go with Polycom's endpoints."
Copperthite said in taking a hardware-agnostic approach and employing an open-platform strategy with other providers, Polycom separates itself from competitors in the market.
"Polycom has a good story," Copperthite said. "Other vendors have products that are software-based, but they aren't at the same level. Over the last couple of years we've seen significant growth with Polycom. Our growth rate this year is significantly over last year, and last year was significantly over the prior year."