Easymeeting.net, Video Conferencing as a Service (VCaaS) is proud to announce support for Android devices in their EasyConference Cloud Connect service. With the latest addition, end users can now connect into their video conferences with standards based video systems, pc’s, mac’s, iPads, iPhones, Lync clients, and now Android devices.
February 5, 2013
With its global headquarters in Tromso, Norway; and North American operations Mystic, Connecticut, Easymeeting.net prides itself on the user experience and total interoperability between the different end point solutions that small and large businesses use throughout the world. The services are available in different tiers based on the amount of same time participants a customer would like to connect into video meetings.
“Our platform is scalable, and flexible. We don’t believe in charging per minute, or per device. Whether you are joining from Lifesize, Radvision, Cisco, Apple, Android, Dell or a Polycom system- we believe you should be able to easily connect to your business partners and customers in the cloud.” said Evan J. Andriopoulos, CEO of Easymeeting.net.
“We continue to add the free services like mobile connectivity, our simplified dialing platform (EasyNumbers) and our Easymeeting Expert Customer Support to ensure that customers are able to connect, are comfortable to connect, and if they don’t know how to connect- they know where to get the help. The premise of Easymeeting.net is that dialing into a video conference should be just as easy as dialing someone on a telephone. Previously, the video conferencing world has over priced, and over complicated itself and we are trying to bring video back to the small and medium businesses” followed Raymond Sebergsen, Product Manager of Easymeeting.net.
The Android App is available in the Google Play store and can be used to access the Easymeeting cloud with the users EasyConference credentials provided through companies existing Easymeeting accounts. There are free trial options available to test the EasyConference Virtual Meeting Room services for a period of time for interested parties.
For more information of Easymeeting.net visit http://www.easymeeting.net or Follow the company on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Click here to view the original press release.
Summer is over, and it is time for most of us to embrace what will probably be a pretty cold winter. With this being said, it seems like the perfect time to shine a little light on one of our customers, Parat Halvorsen, who is Norway's leading supplier of steam and heat solutions and deliver complete systems in the offshore sector, ships, and land based industries. The boilers that Parat Halvorsen makes are in daily use in every corner of the world and trademarked with with the Parat seal of quality. Although we love to talk about what we do, we work with a lot of awesome companies across the globe and sometimes, we want to talk about what their doing in their industries.
Because I am based out of our US offices, I don't always get to interact with our Norwegian customers. There is a six hour time difference between East Coast US, and Norway, and normal working hours in Norway send people packing out of the office mid morning our time. But there are some cases, and some people who don't abide to "normal" working hours, and because of that- I have the pleasure of occasionally working with Yngve Halvorsen, CEO of Parat Halvorsen.
(Below is me working with Yngve Halvorsen to optimize the conference rooms in their offices. Personally, I love the red chairs in the larger conference room!)
Parat Halvorsen has been around since 1842, starting out in the little coastal town of Flekkefjord, Norway. They have been in the market, and ahead of the game for years. In the 1920's they saw the importance of delivering quality steam boilers, and in the 1970's created their first ship boiler. There is a lot of history, and a lot of hard work at Parat.
At Parat, they are focused on not just the products they are making but also their effect on the environment and have recently released the Parat ECS which is a compact electrical circulation boiler designed to provide an alternative to running the auxiliary boiler when in harbor or the port. The Parat ECS and many of their other products are helping to create a more sustainable environment by decreasing emissions.
It seems appropriate that such a successful steam and heat company be based in Norway, where the Arctic Circle is not just an imaginary line. We enjoy working with Parat Halversen who have equipped their offices with two state of the art, videoconferencing facilities and use the Easymeeting services to talk to people all over the world. It's been a pleasure thus far, and I am sure it will continue to be as Parat continues to create reliable solutions for land, off shore, and ship based industries!
Check out Parat Halversen's product offering and what they are doing at www.parat.no, to learn more about if your industry could use videoconferencing to work more efficiently- contact our team at www.easymeeting.net.
A quiet week on the blog means a busy week in the cloud! We have been boomin', to put it quite frankly. But I have finally taken a break from traveling the world via the cloud to eat something, drink something, and obviously... blog something!
One of our tech specialists was working on a case with a customer today who had their video network set up that they could not make calls to other systems, they could only receive calls from other systems on the same network. Because of this- there video usage was down, and they wanted to learn how to connect all of their systems with other companies and with mobile options. To elaborate, it's more common than you might think for a video network to be set up so that it can't even talk to anyone. I cannot even count the amount of times we have spoken with companies that own systems, or worse yet, own infrastructure for video- but have not been on a call or even touched anything for two years- technologically speaking, it's heartbreaking.
Now I have to admit- Easymeeting and VCaaS are my video world. What I mean by that is that I don't come from a background of vendor specific video operations. So it never occurred to me that a no name video system may not be able to talk to or share data with a big name video system or that a company would set up their said systems in an environment that does not allow communications. All cell phones talk to each other- why wouldn't all video systems? Well apparently, and as I fully understand now, this was not the way that the video world was originally brought to life.
Maybe someone from the early video infra days can shed some light on why you would make a product that doesn't talk to anyone else, but we don't need to worry to much since the VCaaS world has shifted. We have moved into a friendlier, "co-habitational" world where Lifesize talks to Radvision who invites Polycom who brings their friends iPad and Samsung Tablet who bring their children iPhone and Droid and the babysitters, PC and Mac. Get it, we're together in this.
A couple of weeks ago I had a call with David Maldow of Teleprsence Options. David and his team are always on the up and up in the video world and regularly test different products, services, and infrastructure. Myself and one of our West Coast Sales reps, Gary Luhrman, joined David on a call to show him the latest in the Easymeeting world. David was telling us that one of the things he likes about Easymeeting, and VCaaS in general- is that we act as the "Videoconferencing Whisperers", just like Cesar Millan of "Dog Whisperers" who makes Shih-tzu's and rottweilers and every breed in between behave well, alone, and with eachother.
He hit the nail on the head, we WANT EVERYONE to talk, not just people within their own organizations, or people who have bough the exact same video system. There is a lot of room for the industry and the users to grow in the video world. Some people have it and can't live without it, some people haven't even seen it yet but are getting closer with the advances in today's BYOD initiatives, the need to cut back on spending, travel, and become more energy aware and efficient. As more people adapt to video on mobile devices, and realize that there are affordable options with easy connectivity, the participants will continue to grow- and we're looking forward to being a part of it.
Does your company have systems that are under utilized? Turn them into time travelling space shuttles, or at the very least- systems that can talk to mobile devices, with the Easymeeting services!
Often videoconferencing blogs are focused on selling one´s own product. There is another kind of blog that is very popular and it focuses on FAQs or frequently asked questions. You know... my screen is black what do I do type scenerios. One is created to sell, another to give tech support but what about considerations for a channel partner and their customers that go beyond the "great innovative product" and "tech support" argument? There are too few.
Channel partner strategies are so secret one would think they are so revolutionary that when the specific vendor rolls out his/her channel strategy that they will capture the entire world of resellers in one great swoop and 1000s of customers without coming up for air. The reality is quite the opposite. Most channel strategies are about filling segments of the "pie" eg. AV-integrators, Distributors and Value Added Resellers with the more the merrier model. In the end the channel strategy runs it´s course and for most this means lower profit margins, more neighborhood competition and less satisfied customers and partners.
Lets look at this from two sides of the coin 1-Channel Partner and 2-The End User.
1-The Channel Partner can very well come from any of those segments of the "Pie" however they are or should be most focused on the following areas:
a-Increases in Average Revenue Per
b-Strong product Mix
c-Cost of Sales
d-Increased Hit Rates
e-Increases in revenue per customer
g-Increases in sale of core product
h-Increases in overall Gross Profit
Each of these points one can go in depth on to discuss and is somewhat dependent on the make up of the sales staff. Not all videoconferencing reseller channels have a specific core product other than a specific product group made up of several brands. However with the market entry of VideoConferencing as a Service (VCaaS) these new clouds are helping sell core product. Easymeeting.net goes as far as offering suggestions of hardware bundles for desktop and conferencing rooms which goes in line with selling "core product" strategy and consideration.
One of the great challenges has been scalability and not necessarily only from a product perspective but from a sales and tech support perspective. Yes Polycom, LifeSize, Cisco etc... have global support centers from a tech perspective but not all have the scalability to support channel partners with little experience in selling videoconferencing products. What the main players have done is put the sales teams through training sessions however the customer needs and the technical requirements in order for video to work on a said network change as fast as the technology itself. There is not a day that goes by that I do not personally receive a question regarding something from a tech or use perspective that I have never heard before. A year in technology is a lifetime in other businesses. One has to consider how their sales staff will be supported locally and globally on deals.
The customer and what they are looking for and what benefits videoconferencing can provide are as numerous as blades of grass in a farmers field. Those ranking at the top can be summarized in one larger grouping - this grouping I call "Better Time". Save time, money, increases in collaboration and productivity, cutting the carbon footprint and a positive return on investment in months or even weeks are key. Add seeing body language while having a video call as very important. 60% of the way "you" are received is based on your body language only 6% based on what you hear. 94% in all is based on what one sees. Hummm so how important is a teleconference now?
Customers once bought on the notion of purchasing videoconferencing need to know in relatively simple terms "how does this support my company when I grow?"...and "how fast and easy is it to add more users?"... Can I use my laptop, MAC, smart phone and tablet or bring your own device "BYOD" ?
Channel Partners are looking for added and increased revenue streams while customers are looking to make an investment in something that will save them time and money while at the same time giving them an immediate ROI making them a champion internally. When selecting a videoconferencing service it is important to look at all of the points from a to n and all of the sub-points. Risk Reduction alone is a key factor in selection of new product for your portfolio. With VCaaS services there is no CAPEX (infra investment & development) needed as this is already made available by your VCaaS provider.
For Channel Partners and Customers there is an old addage that says "aim small, miss small" and this is something that Channel Partners and vendors across the globe have missed out on. It is better to get some business than no business - not every customer needs everything now... let them start small, show the benefits on a smaller scale and grow with the company. Customers start small, adopt into your internal communications practices and watch your investment pay for itself.
-Try it out 14 days
I have often blogged about the challenges videoconferencing as a product has faced and how videoconferencing as a service can solve this with creative go to market strategies, further corporate adoption of BYOD (bring your own device) etc... What opportunities are there and what does this mean for the customers... Why Video conferencing?
First and foremost one has to look at the key factors that are impairing growth as we know it. There are drivers and there are restraints.
Focus on reduction of the carbon footprint (CO2) by cutting "hard" travel.
Lower High Quality (HD) Video Conferencing System Price Points
Global and Remote Workforce & Collaboration
Increasing Focus on the SMB by Vendors and Providers
The more and more I look at each of these points and they are valid but why? Taking the Drivers first... there has been a general shift in focus whereas CO2 or carbon footprint initiatives have been mostly placed on the backburner due to the global economic environment. Less important today than in 2008-2009 as companies are not willing to invest in "green initiatives". Business is back to basics again and focus is only on the bottom line and keeping your business afloat.
There is an increased focus on the SMB market but most is from outside providers. Traditional video conferencing vendors still maintain their focus on the "whales" or the Enterprises or various reasons including contract size, technical complexity and awareness. However service providers operating in this sector or so called "video conferencing as a service" VCaaS are forcing increased adoption by the SMBs by offering to an extent previously high end services via the cloud instead of via the box(es). Saving the end user money and creating a product more readily available to the SMBs. However the message from the traditional vendors is askew. They continue to focus on the "tech talk" and make the end user in the SMB space concerned about everything from security and firewalls to admin tools and this before the customer or even segment has understood and accepted the "idea" of video conferencing as a solution to their current problem. I liken this to a bad salesman talking him/herself out of a deal even though the customer is ready to buy.
Ever dropping price points helps but not if the message continues to be tech talk and tech focus which most SMB´s do not have the experience or resources to be able to understand. This is a typical move of a desperate box pusher.
Global workforces are becoming more and more standard as the world continues to shrink with high speed internet readily available in most locations. One might wonder how much smaller the world would be and how much more global collaboration there might be if videoconferencing had higher usage and adoption rates. One day...
For the most part the restraints remain constant although outside players within the VCaaS space are offering easier to understand and use services that somewhat eliminate the complexity restraint. Global and local economic restraints remain a truth as well. One would think that with this economical environment that customers would cut travel and make investments in videoconferencing but then again 1+1=2 and not 11. Complexity + work habit = lower adoption rates.
The landscape has become more and more volatile and aggressive with vendors signing more and more channels to fight for the same business. I met with a UK partner yesterday and he said.."it used to be 7 others were competing for the customer...now it is 10 times that". The end result is the customer either passes totally or goes with the lowest price regardless of service level. This equals a poor and not supportive business model for the channels and a horrible user experience for the customer. Any wonder videoconferencing has not yet taken off?
Now the move to VCaaS models is forcing the hardwar vendor to play "me 2" and thus cutting off the legs (revenue) of their somewhat loyal channel partners. Time and time again I have seen this happen. It provides no benefit to anyone with the exception of the spreadsheet master at the vendor.
Videoconferencing has the great challenge of competiting with traditional technology (phone, plane, car) and hybrids (webconferencing with video chat)... the message is still difficult to understand. Perhaps a complete facelift of the industry is needed so that more companies adopt videoconferencing as their choice. But then again... 1+1=2 and not 11.
VideoConferencing As A Service - Try It Free 14 days!
I always start my morning with a cup of coffee as soon as I get to the office. Sometimes, as soon as I walk in the front door I head for the keurig(aka my best friend) and fire things up. However, this Thursday morning--- my day began with a different kind of jolt.
One of our channels was pitching to a rather large customer who has been searching for a way to bring 25 endpoints together, specifically with the capability of a high quality call from and to iPads. In our initial introduction, you would tell that they hardly believed us, "Oh yea we can do that, no problem"!
So as every good sales person does, they asked to see it. And we showed them. Now, being an International company means that we are not all typically in our offices at the same time. I normally have til about 10am EST to chat with our Norwegian counterparts - so we started early- and this, is what happened.
- 1-6. Polycom System, Lifesize System, 3 Radvision Systems,and a Droid Phone, in Tromso Norway
- 7-8. Lifesize System and a Radvision System in Oslo, Norway
- 9-11. Mac Laptop, iPhone, and a Lifesize System in Stockholm Sweden
- 12-13. ZTE System and a Droid Phone from Berkshire, UK
- 14-23. 4 Radvision Systems, 1 Lifesize System, 2 Mac's, an iPad, an iPhone and a PC from Mystic, CT
- 24. Lifesize Softphone in Buffalo, New York
- 25. Radvision System in Santa Cruz California
Thats 16 standard videoconferencing systems, and 9 Mobile Devices, captured below in an iPad Screen shot. And yes, as you can see below- we have room for three more endpoints on continuous presence!
The real beauty of this is how easy it was. We pulled together an ad hoc meeting in less than 15 minutes with 25 endpoints, from four different countires in 5 different time zones. Anyone who knows traditional video, knows that to create this kind of call would have required your company a large monetary investment on the infrastructure, hiring an IT whiz, or an entire department to handle the calls, a whole lotta' bandwidth piped into your office, and probably a lot of planning. With Easymeeting's managed videoconferencing as a service offering-- it was easy, peasy, lemon squeezy- at a quite literally, a fraction of the cost!
If this kind of show stopping technology doesn't wake you up in the morning- than their isn't a coffee in the world that will get you excited about anything at work. But we get pretty excited about what we do here at Easymeeting.net, and I just couldn't not share this particular proof of concept with our readers.
If you want give it a try yourself, check out our free 14 day trial. We can help you find the services that are going to enable your company to work efficiently, and internationally, without having to leave your home office, or your praised Keurig machine. Don't be afraid to reach out to our team during the trial process and ask how we can help solve specific problems in your company by connecting over the cloud!
Ok you have read the subject of this blog post and your first thought is yet again..."has he lost his marbles?"... I can say... yes that happened years back when I entered the world of videoconferencing when planning new routes to market. That aside what does videoconferencing and farm/sea to table have to do with each other?
For those of you not yet familiar with the farm and sea to table concept, it a fast growing movement whereas local restauranteurs are focusing their menus on more locally grown, season produce, meats, fish etc... literally from the farm to the table or the sea to the table, same day, great quality and well again...change from the way "things" have always been done.
I started thinking about how different this is than the traditional chain restaurant that buys from big box distributor and how change is being forced on an industry that is as old as time itself via the customer. This movement is not only isolated to a few special niche restaurants in the Northeastern United States and Pacific West Coast but a global movement as customer´s demand support for smaller business (small local farms, fisherman, etc...) and want a unique product that they personally take ownership into. Ownership? yes... with pride and knowing you are personally supporting a local producer, local restauranteur and local fisherman also known in some circles as "think local" the customer feels as though they are personally contributing to their local economy for the betterment of all and not some company named xxxx located in xxxx who has little focus on the local business other than as a distribution point for their often bland, cookie cutter food that is well...not fresh and less appetizing. This has taken to the food retail market as well with The Market, Whole Foods and other grocery stores focusing more and more on locally produced product. Change is spreading to all corners of this once stoic industry.
Even though videoconferencing as a product has never ever really taken itself to the mass b2b market it has suffered from the same challenges as the food production and industry business. Offerings that are difficult to understand and use, and not sure what the benefit it provides the user when it is not available to the majority of users. Essentially it is packaged and produced "somewhere else" for someone else and not YOU.
Now in the videoconferencing industry change is happening and slowly in terms of revenue but all forecasts show this to be a 4b-8b USD industry by 2016 and most of the revenue coming from new cloud providers (VCaaS=video conferencing as a service). The traditionals like those large food distributors named xxxx, in our case Cisco, Polycom, LifeSize and name your band here...are not growing the market or meeting the demands of the user. Up and comers (outsiders) like Blue Jeans Network, Vidyo, easymeeting.net and Whygo Video and others are listening to the end user and offering easier to use services that the market understands thanks in part to technology giant Apple who spent decades creating a business platform based on "ease of use".
While there are challenges and it is easy to start following the proverbial "me2" strategy - in other words chase the money based on history data (sales of traditional video conferencing systems and services) vs this new strategy of going where the biggest pot of money is now. These outsiders are presenting something new, something fresh and something needed to an industry long stagnant. It is said..."change always comes from the outside" and it is. The traditionals are struggling to hold on to market share while the up and comers are aggressively pursuing new markets and routes to market for their service. Like a tornado if the outsiders begin to follow the me2 they will be sucked into the core and spun around by the traditionals whom are in a defensive strategy of trying to protect their market share.
Farm and Sea to table brings a great user experience and appreciation to each and every customer. Customers in record numbers are thinking different and in alternative ways to eat, live and support their local businesses eg. Simply Local. Change brought on by the customer, entrepreneurial restauranteur, the farmer and fisherman on how we think, eat and live.
Dinners at the Farm in Connecticut (2011)
Using alternative methods of communication that are good for the local business, local economy, knowledge sharing and collaboration, for the user and the environment are taking precendent and has now come to the videoconferencing industry via the customer massaged for years by Apple and other producers of easy to use technology. The start of this great journey has just begun.
Learn more about these great services by downloading the
Perhaps it is because I work in this industry, the industry of technology and videoconferencing but I have noticed a major uptick in the media interest in videoconferencing, unified communications, managed services, "the cloud" or add your term here which is definitely a plus for us in this industry.
I have attempted to gather information on how much traction "our industry" has gotten in other business industries. I have surfed from high to low from sales and marketing groups, consultancies (IT and non-IT), business development, finance and even business travel and have found just about NOTHING! The articles I did find were garden variety advertisements for audio and web conferencing ala. Webex and their 1000s of resellers but nothing on videoconferencing, unified communications, managed xxxxxx. Ok something is wrong, really wrong here until I remembered the statistics that show the sales volume of videoconferencing hardware systems has not grown year on year significantly enough to make a dent in the mainstream media or the overall market penetration of videoconferencing and xxx communications, services etc...
I have evaluated where the information is most available and has the greatest presence and it is without a doubt hands-down... in our little industry again. We are basically telling each other in this industry of all the benefits of video, unified, managed etc... We are telling CTOs and IT managers until we have to re-invent the description into xxx services, communications, xxx as a service etc... like stirring the proverbial "pot". Essentially we are "preaching to the choir"!
Ok how about an industry and game changer... let´s tell the potential beneficiaries (the users) about how they and their business can benefit from the use of videoconferencing and xxxx service, managed, hosted, unified whatever... Again the industry is failing the largest audience that could most benefit from these great services.
I started to delve deeper into the "delivery" as I call it or the message these various providers or vendors are trying to get across. First let us ask...What is Unified Communications? Ok Unified Communications is and this from Wikipedia... "is the integration of real-time communication services such as instant messaging (chat), presence information, telephony (including IP telephony), video conferencing, data sharing (including web connected electronic whiteboards aka IWB's or Interactive White Boards), call control and speech recognition with non-real-time communication services such as unified messaging(integrated voicemail, e-mail, SMS and fax). UC is not necessarily a single product, but a set of products that provides a consistent unified user interface and user experience across multiple devices and media types. There have been attempts at creating a single product solution however the most popular solution is dependent on multiple products."
Ok credit for them not telling us about H.323 or IPv5 or 6, Enums etc... but it is there...if you delve a little deeper. Ok as an average potential beneficiary how much of this am I supposed to understand? A little probably because my kids used to use "chat" and in school they had dropped the old chalkboard for a "white board" but other than that... how am I even supposed to imagine how I can incorporate this into the way I communicate in my company? my office? I hope someone can wave their magic wand and fix it for me so it is "easy" and it just works! No wonder the telephone meeting followed by the plane trip is still the choice of businesses across the globe. The industry is failing in it´s delivery of critical user focused information!
I recently received an update from another provider and their description is a little more to the point but still a bit hard to understand it goes "The basic premise of UC is to foster instant communication between workers beyond the traditional phone and email and into voice, video, IM, and wireless."
Ok close to something the user can understand but in the end of the day they are telling you to combine Video, Voice, Wireless and instant messaging. What the heck.. why is this important? Does not a videoconferencing system or service provide you with the essentials of communication.. Voice/Sound and a picture? Do I really need to instant message someone while speaking to them? Why incorporate this into your communications needs when there are 1000s of providers many offering free easy to use services and yes there is still SMS/text messaging albeit dying a slow and miserable death available cheaper and more effective than incorporating a multi 100k $ investment in some hardware based service in that little closet near the IT Manager (no offense). This reminds me of the picture from Afghanistan that has circled the globe via emaila nd facebook of the donkey pulling the car. Again someone is missing the point and it is the industry!
What You Should Consider
What your business really needs to consider is what tools are available that are easy to use, easy buy, easy to scale and easy to get assistance if you need so that anyone in your organization can best utilize the benefits of a service that have the best price performance. Can I make an adhoc call to our office in Tokyo or Berlin but simply dialing a 4 digits? eg. 9000? Can I easily reach assistance via email, phone or video via a 3 digit number eg.800? Can we use a standard internet service line? Your immediate return on investment can be measured in time less traveled and travel budgets, stress and even churn in your organization? increases in productivity? and more time... That sounds like things I would consider when making a choice on a communications tool and not how I need to build a "unified communications strategy" to get my CFO to buy into. Videoconferencing and the xxx services should be like picking a phone service. Easy!
If you think easy = cheap and not good enough then remember one thing... making things easy is extremely hard and labor intense. Just ask
and from the other side the industry that is failing you.
One of the biggest questions surrounding videoconferencing is not what the benefit is but the real return on investment and how to capture that information in real time. Since the beginning of "videoconferencing time" when the first systems were delivered to large enterprises as the latest, greatest in new communications technology videoconferencing has always been sold with the perceived benefit being "reductions in travel expenditures..." as more players entered the market the argument had to be re-enforced with additional arguments that still range from "increases in productivity, distance learning, better collaboration, and increases in productivity". However a well skilled "naysayer" to making the capex (capital expenditure) was and has been "well we need to increase bandwidth" and "it has to work over existing infrastructure/internet but if we need to boost our MPLS to support it... forget it...!" and so. Easily brushed off. Then add the fact the videoconferencing CAPEX has been made by an IT manager and the system is solely for "key meetings" use and the majority of companies never realized a positive ROI as the real beneficiaries have never been trained or allowed to use the system.
Over the past few years several providers from usually outside of the industry (non videoconferencing vendors) have offer measuring tools that show how often a system is used, even how many miles/kilometers have been "not traveled" and prior to the world economic crisis -Co2 emissions / carbon footprint data directly connected to you, the user not traveling on that plane. All great tools, all with some degree of success in proving return on investment (ROI) but none have really been able to funnel all of this information in one vertical portal (vortal). The folks behind easymeeting.net have thought about this and created their own corporate portal which is a tool that allows users, travel managers and of course CFO´s to monitor use of their videoconferencing systems. By comparing usage data from period to period one can see how often videoconferencing has been used and then can easily match it to their monthly travel expenditures report. Time Well Spent!
Additionally there are "soft ROI" features that should be considered. These are not necessarily those type that give an immediate bottom line savings but help support a long term ROI strategy for a company. The corporate portal affords in addition to drill down usage statistics, FAQ´s and Support information, frequently used videoconferencing numbers / systems by system and location as well as an announcement message board for users to post important messages and reminders. The corporate portal also affords a WebTV archive. WebTV is the recording service offered to easymeeting.net customers and the archive allows the user to store important video presentations. The connections center gives in depth information on sharing presentations and documents and more.
Security: Most Corporate Portal users require a user name and password as per internal corporate security to some if not all of the areas within the corporate portal. Many leave the main landing page open and simply require security for WEBTV, Connections, etc...
Examples of Success: easymeeting.net has a Fortune 500 strategic partner whom had a mix of hardware based videoconferencing systems from Tandberg to Polycom. With more than 90 global offices they were using videoconferencing less than 4 hrs per month across the globe. Once they became strategic partners of easymeeting.net they quickly became rabid users of the videoconferencing services and portal. As of today they average more than 100 meetings a month in Scandinavia alone! I am sure their ROI has been met! Why? they can monitor the use by location, they have a layer of easy to use services applied to their existing videoconferencing services and have embedded video meetings into their daily communications methodology!
Not until now has there been such a ROI tool with both hard and soft ROI features and one that helps the user have a great experience. If you would like to learn more about the easymeeting.net corporate portal please contact easymeeting.net by clicking here
We often get ahead of ourselves and start designing complicated systems for a customer and usually this customer comes from one of two "families" as I like to call them. 1-large enterprise used to hearing and expecting complex solutions,
2- a business that has just begun their adventure into video conferencing.
We do this because we are so excited to tell the world what we are doing, the endless possibilities at hand and of course because the more you sell the more money to your company. Question: Is this the best practice for the customer and your business?
Answer is... NO!
To over sell is to make 100% sure that you will not have a satisfied customer. To over tell is to make your relatively simple solution so difficult the customer can only say "NO".
Videoconferencing has always been focused on acquiring enterprise level customers. The fortune 500s as "they have budget" and want to buy "dings and extras" making the sales rep look like a champion. Lets win a deal worth $250,000 or even $1,000,000 with a gross profit of 5%! Yes!!! What else could cap off a 12 month sales process?
What has been forgotten is the 95% of the market that are not fortune 500s. While they may only have budgets for $4-10,000 they are waiting for you. Ok now off my podium...
Looking at this from the customer´s perspective anyone within that 95% space is looking at ease of use, intuitively designed, quality, and a clear picture of what the real benefit is of videoconferencing vs the web conference, vs tele conference, vs face to face meeting is? and what should I, the customer buy?
Seeing the person you are speaking to, reading body language, better preparation for a meeting, and no real multi-tasking opportunity without being perceived as RUDE etc... The old perception that it is expensive is now long gone...for the most part. Video Conferencing as a Cloud providers offer fixed monthly rates starting in a low hundreds of dollars per month which is right in the sweetspot of most.
Web Conferencing has long been a little more complex to work with and manage. Basically a slight upgrade on an audio conference with the ability to present a document etc... all too often there are too many buttons to push and this scares away many of even the most tech savy dislike these types of conferences. Audio... well it allows multi-tasking and lack of focus on the conversation. How many times have you been in a conference when you can tell the other party is doing something else? There is always someone that needs something signed etc...and this interupts the meeting.
Best business practice is to provide the customer what they need today and to inform them of the scalability
of the solution. "More users when you have a need" - this transparency will help cement a great customer relationship and allows the customer to organically evaluate and grow while your sales teams focus is on properly managing them and your ability to support them with an evenly applied "information flow" so when the time comes they know whom to contact!
Here is a customer case: Customer A has four locations and none of have videoconferencing today. Historically one would offer a hardware based solution which gives HD quality and comes with a realtively high price tag. Let´s call it 1 conference room hardware solution and 3 smaller hardware based solutions. The customer has a budget of $20,000.00 which essentially means $5,000.00 per location. Is this possible? Possibly with VERY aggressive discounts and at the sacrifice of no other bells or whistles (user training etc...). Then add maintenance agreements for the hardware which accounts for anything from 15-25% of the purchase price year and the $20,000.00 budget has been shattered, throw in installation etc... How to win? The normal sales practice is to push harder and try to get an accept at a higher price over their budget. Closing rate? ca. 20-25% best case normal 10%. Need to juggle several cases with sales cycles nearing 12 months.
For the user: higher than expected costs, little support or training, little use. Expectations of videoconferencing are not met = unsatisfied customer.
For the seller: Got the deal (if in the 10-25%) at perhaps a 5-10% GP (gross profit) look for next prospect and in the most likely case have an unsatisfied customer = Churn.
What is optimal? They need to connect four locations. Ok how? via their PC/MAC, Iphone, Android and or Ipad? or must they be hardware based? They would like to have a system in the conference room but again their budget is $20,000.00. Show them the benefits of video first and foremost so they really understand the value of videoconferencing- drill down and show the benefits and possibilities in using mobile in addition to traditional room based hardware solutions. All four locations you find out do not need to, nor will they ever connect to the same meeting. One suggestion could be a hardware based room system for the conference room and a 3 same time participant license so they can use their PC/MAC, IPHONE, IPAD etc... Total cost of ownership with training, support, set up and maintenance a under budget! Decision maker is a champion in their company! WIN WIN!
A prospective customer: What Questions Should I ask?
1-Is this a scalable solution?
2-Do I receive additional user training?
3-If I want to connect to a video system or user that is from outside of our company can I easily connect?
4-Can I show presentations?
There are many more perspectives one can look at from a customer side to a sales side. Purchasing and selling videoconferencing is about affording the user the right solution for their needs and one that can grow easily with the customer´s needs.
Video conferencing as a cloud providers are tearing down the barriers that traditional videoconferencing vendors created. For the first time solutions
are being offered
with the customer in mind. Easy to use and scale giving an immediate return on investment. From a channel reseller perspective winning more customers and lowering churn are keys to survival. Happy customers = Good Business.