Blue Jeans Videoconferencing Comes to Microsoft Outlook
Videoconferencing specialist Blue Jeans Network announced integration with Microsoft Outlook in an effort to extend its cloud-based videoconferencing platform to a wider audience of desktop business users. Blue Jeans joins an increasingly crowded field of videoconferencing solution specialists trying to reduce the complexity of unified communications (UC) and support the widest array of devices possible.
The integration with Outlook 2007 or 2010 for Windows, which has been in private beta since March 2012, enables users to schedule Blue Jeans meetings, invite guests and book conference rooms. A new version of the add-in will be released end of May, a company release noted.
The company’s videoconferencing service bridges together business solutions from Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO), Polycom (NASDAQ: PLCM), Lifesize and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) with consumer solutions such as Skype and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG).
Blue Jeans offers four pricing plans for the service, which range from the Individual Unlimited plan starting at $199 a month and up to three participants, up through the “per port” Enterprise Unlimited plan.
The company’s most popular plan is the Business Unlimited plan at $599 a month, which supports up to 25 participants with no limit on minutes in conference, and offers optional branding for the landing page and customized training program.
Six months ago Blue Jeans announced the ability to connect Lync endpoints together into videoconferences along with Skype users and with room-based conferencing and TelePresence systems such as Cisco and Polycom through the Blue Jeans cloud.
As the use of tablets and mobile devices in the business world grows, videoconferencing has evolved into a more complex ecosystem where the ability to seamlessly connect to a variety of devices and platforms is critical.
Blue Jeans’ strategy of connecting users everywhere on any platform, particularly low-cost or free services like Skype, can help make videoconferencing for small to medium-size businesses (SMBs) with limited IT departments a (virtual) reality.