Blue Jeans Network was honored last Thursday night at the Hilton San Francisco. The occasion being the 2012 Best Place to Work in the Bay Area award banquet from the folks at the San Francisco Business Times and Silicon Valley Business Journal. Alagu (CTO) and Tricia (HR) were in attendance to accept the award on stage for third place in the small company category.
Five months ago, we announced the ability to connect Lync endpoints together into video conferences along with Skype users and with room based conferencing and TelePresence systems like Cisco and Polycom through the Blue Jeans cloud. No one else can do all of this today.
Since that announcement we’ve been overwhelmed by customer interest. It is obvious that many enterprises have Lync migration in their roadmap for 2012-2013, as they look to upgrade their OCS deployment and move towards Lync on-premise, or move to the cloud and use Lync Online via Office 365. While both of these solutions provide excellent peer-to-peer presence and calling functionality without expensive hardware solutions, Blue Jeans adds tremendous value for secure, scalable, multiparty, interoperable video conferencing.
I hate to date myself, but I entered the workforce before the web was the standard business tool it has become today.
Back then we had libraries at work to get access to the reports and facts and figures we needed. Our phones and computers had wires that tethered us to our desks, and if we wanted to see a coworker, partner or customer, we flew, drove, or walked there.
And we walked to work,… in the snow,… up hill,… both ways…
It was a dark time.
Kidding aside, I distinctly remember when the web started to take off in business. It was 1994 and this company called Netscape was generating a lot of buzz with its browser. The company would eventually go public in 1995 at $14 a share. Seemed expensive at the time…
I remember the discussions back then...
When we started Blue Jeans a few years ago we had one simple goal - we wanted to make business video calling as easy and affordable as audio calling. Unlike many startups that start with a piece of technology and try to find applications for it, we started with that very simple use case of business video calling. We then embarked on finding the right technologies that could help us solve it. It boiled down to ease of use, interoperability and cost. And at the center of this old world of business video calling was this beast called the MCU. We had to slay the beast to unlock the next level in the game!
BCNET, a not for profit organization serving British Columbia’s higher education and research institutions, found the right desktop and room system video collaboration solution with Blue Jeans after evaluating 17 vendors. BCNET’s members think Blue Jeans has helped improve their face to face collaboration.
Anyone should be able to pickup a smartphone or tablet or walk into a room with a video screen and be able to make a video call to anyone anywhere around the globe. We have all the technology to make this happen, and yet this goal seems to be always around the corner. Are we there yet? Are we there yet? I am getting impatient. Will the world of video conferencing/chat protocols ever converge to make widespread video calling a reality?
Ever since AT&T introduced the Picturephone at the Worlds Fair in 1964, the world in general and the communication industry in particular have been searching for a term that aptly describes the usage of video in a telephone call. Terms like Picture phone, Videophone & Visiophone were used in the early years but never caught on with the public or business until the technology of group based video calling dubbed as video conferencing, a takeoff on it’s ancestral cousin: audio conferencing.
With the wide adoption of Skype in the consumer market, it is not surprising that more and more company networks are finding Skype to also be a valuable tool for communication, But one hurdle that seems to confound many IT departments is the “is Skype secure?” question. In short the answer is “yes”. It is, in a few ways. Let me try and explain.
If we ever expect video to become the default medium for our meetings we have to give the people what they want… a care-free solution.
When you were making a phone call, have you ever worried about what kind of phone the other person had? Did it ever cross your mind that their phone might not be compatible with yours? Of course not!
The beauty of today’s public switched telephony network (PSTN) is that it just works. It’s interoperable. You pick up a phone, dial a ten digit number, and make the call. It doesn’t matter if you are on a wired or wireless network, or if you are on an iPhone, a desk phone, or even a payphone (if you can still find one…).
Traditional video conferencing, on the other hand has been plagued by worries, putting tremendous pressure on the meeting organizer and IT staff. Lack of interoperability is frequently cited as the primary reason why traditional video conferencing has not propagated more widely (…followed , of course, by cost and complexity).