Vidyo CEO Talks Channel Disruption From Mitel-Polycom Deal, Future Of Partnership With Mitel

CEO Sounds Off On Mitel-Polycom Acquisition

Vidyo CEO Eran Westman told CRN that some Polycom partners are now seeking to work with the videoconferencing and collaboration specialist in the wake of Mitel's nearly $2 billion bid for Polycom.

"We've already been approached by some of their partners -- some of them are quite significant -- to see if we are interested in working with them," said Westman in an interview.

Polycom declined to comment when reached by CRN.

Westman weighed in on the Polycom-Mitel acquisition, competition against Microsoft, and the future of Hackensack, N.J.-based Vidyo's partnership with Mitel. Following are edited excerpts of the conversation.

What are the biggest disruptions in the video market in 2016?

Cloud is definitely disrupting the market, and so Vidyo is offering our strategy with the cloud. Of course, there was the recent M&A in Polycom-Mitel -- this is disrupting the market on the channel side.

For Polycom, this kind of acquisition is definitely not very much [to] their benefit.

Why are Polycom partners coming to Vidyo now?

So around the channel -- and Polycom has a very extensive channel network -- I think this can make an interesting change [in] the market in making more opportunities available with some channels who did not want to work with us in the past because of their loyalty to Polycom.

If the Mitel-Polycom merger is finalized, where does that leave Vidyo's strategic partnership with Mitel? Will your partnership stay intact?

We have a very strong relationship with the company. The reason Mitel chose us and not Polycom in the past is because they wanted something to integrate into their offering. We are integrated into their enterprise offering, into their cloud offering, into their multivertical offering, and this is integration that was done over the last few years.

If they were to elect in the future to do this kind of integration with Polycom, it would be their decision. I doubt that they can come to this level of integration, but I cannot speak for Mitel. We are very happy with the partnership with Mitel.

Who do you see Vidyo competing with most in the video market?

We are going to market at a very high level in two approaches: the traditional videoconferencing and then we have a vertical application workflow integration, which we are mainly focusing around health care, financial services and government entities.

Where we compete in the global traditional videoconferencing, the main company we're facing is Microsoft. That's the big company we see around the world. It's a big gorilla. … Cisco is another company you see there.

How do your channel partners differentiate Vidyo from Microsoft in the video market?

If a customer is just looking for more of the same, part of the package that the IT guy does, they go with Microsoft. If people really look at the quality of what they can get and want to have videoconferencing integrated, customized, focused on the workflow [they go with us] -- we also shine on mobile.

The resiliency that we can give on mobile, nobody else can meet. If mobile, workflow or quality of video is not a priority for them, then OK, it's a big market, then they go with someone like Microsoft.

So then who are you competing against in the vertical workflow arena?

When we are going into the business of vertical, which is workflow integration, we see less and less competition there. We are winning in many of those verticals by far.

There are some channel [partners] we have had for years who were selling us together with other companies and did not give us enough attention when it was only the videoconferencing. When partners saw the [increase] in our health-care and financial services business, you see more and more attention we're getting from those companies. We're seeing very good traction on our partners in the channel just because of our success in those vertical markets.

You've made some very deep inroads in China recently. What other geographies is Vidyo looking to dive into?

We see a lot of opportunity in China and have a lot of other activities planned for China. In a market like China, you must have a good relationship with channel -- local relationship, local flavor has a lot to do with that market.

We’re heading to Latin America. We're heading to Europe. We are making sure we have the right partners for video. … We are looking for partners who can focus on us and add value, not just box-moving, because we are selling software and there's not many boxes there.