Archive for the ‘audio conferencing’ tag
Blue Jeans unveiled a massive update to its standard pricing today, adding a new licensing model that offers companies unlimited “all you can meet” videoconferencing plans for as low as $10 per user, per month.
And, by the way, kicking some dirt at bitter rival Vidyo.
“A couple of weeks ago we crossed the million minutes-a-week level,” Blue Jeans chief commercial officer Stu Aaron told me yesterday. “We’ve got thousands of paying customers.”
The company has been monitoring usage patterns on its existing payment plans — a minutes-based plan, a per-user plan, and a per-device plan — and is unveiling a new option Aaron thinks is the best one yet. It would appear that Blue Jeans customers agree — a hundred of them have been testing the new plan since November 2012, and they grew their usage of videoconferencing at ten times the rate of other Blue Jeans clients.
The new plan sees participating companies pay one annual fee, plus between $10-50 per month for active users — employees who use Blue Jeans videoconferencing at least once per month.
“It’s a site-license option,” Aaron says. “Everyone gets an account, everyone gets unlimited usage, for an attractive low annual fee. All employees have accounts, but you’re only paying for active users.”
The new pricing model will come in hand when competing with videoconferencing rival Vidyo, whose CEO recently called Blue Jeans out. Vidyo’s quarterly growth in billings was 68 percent, he said, while competitors were flat or down. And, he said, a five-person one-hour call on Blue Jeans costs as much as an all-inclusive, unlimited $30-a-month subscription to Vidyo.
Them’s fighting words, as the saying goes, and Blue Jeans accepted the challenge and knocked off the chip.
“That was not a correct statement,” Aaron told me. “Our customers are typically pay cents-per-minute or tens of dollars per month, and there’s no way anyone has an advantage over those price points.”
In addition, he said, Blue Jeans is growing fast, having reached the 50 million annual minute run rate — even assuming no further growth in 2013 — after just over a year in business. That means, Aaron says, that Blue Jeans is probably a quarter of the entire videoconferencing market.
“There’s 100 billion minutes a year used for audio conferencing, and 200 million minutes a year in video conferencing,” he said. “Since we’ve exceeded the 50 million minutes a year run rate, we’ve grown to 20-25 percent of the market.”
The new plan seems to be a hit.
Not only are existing customers adopting the plan and increasing their use of videoconferencing, 25 percent of Blue Jeans new customers signed up in April were signed up on the all-you-can-meet plan.
That’s impressive, and given Blue Jeans’ ease of use and wide compatibility with a vast array of devices and software (including Cisco, Polycom, Lifesize, Microsoft Lync, Skype, Google Video, WebRTC Browser, and smart mobile devices), it portends well for the company’s future sales as well.
One small caveat before small businesses get too excited: To get the $10/user price point, you need over 10,000 users. Less, and you’ll be somewhere between $10 and $50.
We all hate conference calls — having to dial in, manually enter a room code and sometimes having to enter a passcode on top of that. Once you’ve actually logged in, there’s a whole lot of talking on top of one another, and a lot of re-introducing yourself so that everyone knows who’s talking at any given time. UberConference, which was created by Firespotter Labs and is being launched as part of the Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch Disrupt, hopes to fix all that by providing a visual interface to all others on the call.
Audio conferencing is not just a pain in the ass, but it’s also a huge business — a $3 billion business — that’s mostly controlled by big telco providers, such as AT&T and Verizon. By providing an easy-to-use alternative, UberConference hopes to disrupt the existing market.
Rather than entering in a whole bunch of dial-in codes to gain access to a conference, users will be sent an email and text message asking them to join. To log in, they need only dial the conference number, and will be automatically authenticated based on the number that they’re calling from. They can also choose to have the service dial them at the time the conference call is scheduled to start.
UberConference will let you check out details of everyone who is on the call, through a web browser or iOS app, and will highlight who is talking at any given time. The service provides management tools for the call organizer, which allows him or her to add, drop, or mute callers. While UberConference might not be able to fix the sound quality of calls, it can give users more control to silence disruptive users, Firespotter CEO Craig Walker said during the Q&A section of the Startup Battlefield presentation.
It will also provide everyone detailed information about all attendees, such as their LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter info. The Firespotter team hopes to offer UberConference under a freemium model, in which the underlying service will be free, but some advanced features will be available to those who wish to pay for them. That will include the ability to pay for a number, larger conference sizes or maybe transcription. Even with those paid features, UberConference plans to charge significantly less than existing service providers.
Blue Jeans Network, an enterprise video conferencing solution to integrate across many platforms, is announcing a major reseller partnership with Intercall, one of the largest audio conferencing and collaboration services vendors.
Dubbed “any(ware) video conferencing,“ Blue Jeans Network bridges together conferencing technology from Cisco/Tandberg, Polycom, Lifesize with consumers platforms such as Skype and Google Talk. Remote workers, travelers and telecommuters with access to Skype and a video-enabled desktop or mobile device, can participate in video meetings with their colleagues on traditional enterprise video conferencing equipment.
Blue Jeans Network users each get a private “meeting room” in the Blue Jeans cloud that they can use to schedule, host, and manage meetings. Participants join meetings by simply dialing a number or clicking on a link from their systems, whether that be Skype or Tandberg.
Through this partnership with Blue Jeans Network, InterCall will resell Blue Jeans’ product to its customers. While Blue Jeans has reseller agreements with other providers such as Deutsche Telecom, this is the largest partnership to date, says the company.
Currently, Blue Jeans Network, which has raised $23.5 million in funding, says that InterCall did 20 billion audio minutes in 2011 from customers, which is 25 percent of the total of 80 billion audio minutes worldwide.