CRN Exclusive: Vidyo CEO On Channel Opportunities Around Drones, Rising Demand For Embedding Video Into Apps

Rising Demand For Video

Demand for video is hot once again, says Vidyo CEO Eran Westman, as businesses seek to embed enterprise-grade videoconferencing capabilities into applications, Internet of Things devices and even drones.

"Video-embedded solutions are becoming very crucial to a wide audience," said Westman in an interview with CRN. "You see it on the consumer side with things like Snapchat and FaceTime, and now people want to bring video to work and into their business process."

Solution providers should ride the video wave to capitalize in fast-growing markets like video Platform-as-a-Service, he said. That market is expected to grow in the U.S. from $44 million this year to $1.7 billion in 2020, according to research firm IDC.

How big of a deal are drones for the future of videoconferencing?

We don't need to speak about the future; we can speak about the present. We've been partnering and deploying drones with Vidyo already for almost two years.

We have them in first responders -- like fire brigades or police -- that deploy and use the feed from the video. Also all the people that bring services around bridges, oil rigs, oil sites, big construction projects – they pay a fortune for people to do a site survey or something using helicopters and now they can do everything with drones that have embedded video.

Is there is big opportunity for unified communications and collaboration channel partners with drones?

I see huge opportunity for the channel. For partners, there is a completely new set of [organizations] they can go after – the first responder's arena. In the utilities arena. In the financial arena with drones.

How do videoconferencing-enabled drones work in the financial arena?

Let me give you a real-life example. In a bank in Australia, they're using Vidyo for their customer engagement and they wanted integration into a drone. I said, 'What does a bank have to do with a drone?' They said because of the large spaces and large farms in Australia, they wanted to do [property] assessments by drones to be able to go over all the farms. This is what makes me excited. This is what's so great about Vidyo -- you can almost embed it in anything.

Your launching a new video PaaS solution: Why should channel partners be excited?

Video is just hot right now. You see it on the consumer side with things like Snapchat and FaceTime, and now people want to bring video to work and into their business process. You see all the news about video happening in all those applications. It's becoming almost viral. It's perfect timing that we are active in a very, very hot market that we can win with this kind of PaaS offering that the market is very receptive to.

Why is embedded video and PaaS so important for organizations right now?

People want to add the video options to their device, their application, to their service. With so much focus on moving to the cloud, they don't want to host or build it themselves. So companies like us are building these kind of solutions for them.

They can either build a new application based on our video or integrate Vidyo into their existing application. It's an opportunity that they did not have before at this kind of scale and quality we are offering. People are very keen to having it. … Video-embedded solutions are becoming very crucial to a wide audience.

What differentiates Vidyo in the video space against competitors like Cisco, Microsoft or Polycom?

Because of our flexibility of the integration, it just makes things so much different compared to others. For Cisco, Microsoft and Polycom, integration is not in existence for them. That's definitely something that makes it very exciting for us.

How can Vidyo channel partners differentiate themselves from other solution provider, specifically in the drone arena?

The channel will see a lot of opportunities to take the business they do and just add video to it. Today they can sell a drone, which will become commodity I'm sure – then suddenly they can embed video inside the drone, while their competitor just sells a drone then maybe just connects to something else. The channel follows the money, and there's a lot of money in embedded video.

Vidyo has great customer traction and strong channel partners like Computacenter who recognize the demand for embedded real-time video and our cloud offering.

How big is IoT for Vidyo and what role will video play in it?

IoT is something we have been pushing for quite a long time.

Almost every day we are getting people asking, 'I want to build this [IoT device]. How do I integrate video into it?' This is something that we're looking at strongly. Adding video into IoT is going to be a big opportunity.

What is your product road map for two or three years out?

In very simple in terms, our vision is to video-enable the most innovative applications and ideas in the world. It's very focused on the embedding video in the verticals like health care, banking, etc. – this is a strategy we built a year ago and we are not changing it.

We want to power video communications within and outside organizations, within digital health care and hospitals, within the new world we see in the customer engagement call center environment, within the new set of applications that are coming and within those unified communications [vendors] that are already behind Vidyo and some others that maybe we'll get to later.

Why is your embedded strategy going to work?

The video-embedded solution is a very good strategy. It sells to the videoconferencing market with applications. It sells with customer engagement and it sells very strongly within the verticals that we are playing in. We are headed in a very good direction and, of course, we need to add more integrations, but we have many that we announced partnerships with people like Genesys or ServiceNow, and we are working with others.