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Video collaboration is necessary for SMB business agility – decision agility, innovation agility

It is common knowledge that cloud is being adopted by SMBs and midmarket businesses for business agility. Techaisle’s SMB & midmarket cloud adoption study data shows that 80 percent of SMBs consider cloud to be contributing to business growth and video-enabled collaboration is playing an ever-increasing role in contributing to business agility for high-growth and innovative businesses. But why?

Because Innovation happens best in collaboration and not in isolation.

High-growth, highly innovative SMBs and midmarket businesses differ greatly from low-growth firms in their use of advanced collaboration technologies. High-growth firms pursue a wide range of collaboration-related benefits – more rapid decision-making capacity, improved employee productivity, richer engagement with customers, and better internal collaboration – and make extensive use of face-to-face (F2F) video systems.

Techaisle survey data shows that initial centricity of file sharing is giving way to rich in-person interactive communications in collaboration strategies.

What are the key elements of a collaboration framework that can help IT decision makers (ITDMs) and business decision makers (BDMs) come to a mutual understanding of how, where and why to use video-enabled collaboration solutions, in particular, F2F video? To answer this question, Techaisle conducted a survey of 1,269 ITDMs and BDMs with SMBs and midmarket businesses, across the US, Latin America, Europe, and Asia Pacific.

Techaisle’s research identified key characteristics that distinguish these low-growth, moderate growth and high-growth/innovative businesses. As figure below demonstrates, use of face-to-face video (F2F video) is correlated with important outcomes within their businesses. Collectively, these attributes align strongly with market success. Techaisle’s research found that the high adopters of video grew nearly 2X faster than other low or non-adopters and they reported even more benefits from using video than slower growing businesses. By using video-enabled collaboration there are only upsides for businesses.

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Vidtel: A cloud-based Video Conferencing service for SMBs for any-to-any connections

We all know that video conferencing adoption is on the rise among SMBs. Collaboration technologies such as Video and Web Conferencing will increasingly be important to SMBs to satisfy their priority to make employees more productive. While these solutions have been around for a long time we believe that broad adoption among SMBs is upon us as evidenced by the priority assigned to such technologies versus the current level of penetration. As per Techaisle’s research data, currently in the US there are nearly 75,000 SMBs that use video conferencing and 790,000 that use web conferencing.

There are obviously many solutions that SMBs can take advantage of ranging from hosted to onsite solutions. Key players such as Microsoft (Live Meeting/Lync), Citrix (GoToMeeting) and Cisco (Webex) have great brand and mind share in the SMB space. However, there comes a time in the life of an SMB, depending upon its vertical or the role of the user, when high-quality, easy-to-use, any-to-any video connections’ based video conferencing becomes too important to ignore. This is where Vidtel steps in.

Vidtel is a cloud-based video conferencing service for any-to-any video connections. Its MeetMe offering allows multiple conferencing participants incredible interoperability, that is to say, it allows for users to seamlessly invoke a video conference, connecting video phones, PCs, tablets, room systems, smartphones and devices using SIP, H.323, Skype or GoogleTalk.

Vidtel is a small but growing organization founded by dynamic entrepreneurs who are focused on bringing affordable high-quality cloud-based video conferencing solutions to SMBs. To that extent, Vidtel has also recently partnered with Vu TelePresence that allows both Vidtel and Vu to gain from each other. Vu is able to bring MeetMe capabilities to its customer base and Vidtel stands to gain from Vu’s already established market presence.

We tried Vidtel’s MeetMe service. It seemed quite simple to initiate and conduct a video conference. To initiate a meeting, a Vidtel SMB customer with a MeetMe account simply provides the meeting room dial-in information to other participants, as one would with an audio conferencing bridge and set up a meeting time. For example, if the meeting were in room 2002, one Skype user would be asked to add Vidtel.2002.1 and the other Vidtel.2002.2 to his/her Skype contacts and dial that contact from either a tablet, mobile or PC/Mac. SIP users would dial This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and H.323 participants would dial 65.50.196.118 then 2002#. Users can even add security PINs.

A question that often arises is, what about support for SMBs? Vidtel provides level 1-4 support via video/phone/email for SMBs directly and levels 2-4 for resellers and wholesale providers who own the SMB customer relationship.

Vidtel offers a tiered pricing structure, from a low of US$199/month to US$599/month, depending upon the number of participants, standard or high-definition video.

SMBs who are seriously debating about using multi-point, any-to-any, high-definition video conferencing capabilities should check out Vidtel.

Anurag Agrawal
Techaisle

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