My ITExpo Takeaways

This year was AGT’s first year exhibiting at the ITExpo in Las Vegas. After many years of hanging out at video conferencing and audio/visual events, we decided to dive into the VoIP/Telecom world. It wasn’t a random choice for us as we have been spending a lot of time in the UC/VoIP/Telecom service provider community throughout the year talking about cloud video conferencing services. It seems that business quality video conferencing and more specifically cloud-based video has gone mainstream.

ITEXPO logoAs industry veterans of over 20 years, we’ve seen over the past two years how video has been proliferating everywhere from consumer grade solutions like Skype, Facetime and Google Hangouts to high definition professional video solutions like AGT’s. Research from leading analysts are projecting the video services market to grow to over $2B in 2014 and I think we are starting to see the realization from service providers in all sectors of IT that now is the time to get in to the cloud video business.

So as we walked the floor at the expo and had discussions at our booth with service providers, it is clear now that a confluence of forces is driving them to look to cloud video as a new source of revenue. One thing we heard from nearly all of the service providers we spoke to is that their customers and resellers are starting to ask them about cloud video. It’s quite a natural progression for a service provider in this sector to extend their offerings to include video conferencing as they hear their customers asking for it and see their competitors start to offer it. At the same time providers are starting to see an erosion of margin derived from “big iron” infrastructure sales and telecom services in general. So service providers are looking for the higher margins and more predictable monthly recurring revenue streams that can come from cloud video services if correctly deployed. Fortunately with high speed internet availability and super powerful PCs and mobile devices, video technology is more than ready for prime time.

Getting past the excitement of being in Las Vegas and the free cocktails the opening night of ITExpo, I was happy to hear how important several of our key differentiators are. My biggest takeaway is the rebranding and white-labeling offered by AGT. It’s clear to me that the service providers at ITExpo have spent a lot of time and money over the years building brand equity for their companies. So any solution that they offer has to have the look and feel of their brand from web interfaces on the desktop all the way to mobile apps on iPads and Android devices. Also not surprising to me was the importance of flexibility. For established service providers, being able to rack a Video-as-a-Service platform in the data center was key. Most of these providers already have a data center built and are bringing their customers into their service cloud. So having the flexibility to bring the platform in and integrate it with their existing systems via APIs was extremely important. As for the emerging or aspiring service providers who haven’t invested in a data center, having the simplicity of just rebranding and white-labeling a Video-as-a-Service platform from the cloud is the fastest and most cost efficient way to go to market.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time at ITExpo. It was a great event to see new technology and network with service providers and we are already looking forward to exhibiting next week at the Cloud Partners Conference, September 11th-13th at the McCormick Place in Chicago.

What were your big takeaways at ITExpo?