Managed Telepresence Services: Glowpoint and Telaid Partner Up

Managed Telepresence Services: Glowpoint and Telaid Partner Up

Telaid, a managed services providers in Connecticut, is making a deeper commitment to telepresence -- the next-generation video conferencing technology. Specifically, Telaid has joined Glowpoint Inc.'s channel partner program. Glowpoint is one of the better-known providers of managed telepresence services but the market seems to be getting crowded. Plus, I continue to wonder if free consumer services like Skype video will disrupt the telepresence market.

Let's start with the news: Telaid specializes in audio visual communications, network services and security. The company also has a 24x7 support team that services more than 100,000 clients across North America.

Meanwhile, Glowpoint is a publicly held telepresence specialist that has gradually shifted its marketing messages to include "cloud-based managed services for telepresence." According to a January 6 press release:

Glowpoint currently provides a full suite of VNOC managed services to more than 890 telepresence / video rooms throughout the globe and produced more than 70,000 conferences during 2010. Glowpoint's managed services are now supporting customers with locations in more than 53 countries around the world.
For the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 2010, Glowpoint's revenues were $26.875 million, up from $24.464 million the previous year. The company recently announced a reverse stock split, in an attempt to raise its profile and "up-list" from the bulletin board to a national exchange.

Meanwhile, plenty of companies now promote telepresence to MSPs. One recent example involves Vu Telepresence, a video conferencing company closely related to Zenith Infotech. During the Tigerpaw User Conference in October 2010, Vu's Clinton Gatewood described how the company's partner program worked. He stated Vu Telepresence was:
  • Affordable ($79 per end user per month, with roughly 30 percent margin reserved for VARs and MSPs)
  • Easy to use and setup
  • Designed as a hosted, managed telepresence service
  • Easy for inter-company telepresence, thanks to a Vu-provided number to dial (rather than an IP address to remember)
  • Ubiquitous, thanks to so-called Vu Telepoints, which are public telepresence rooms
I've reached out to Vu and Zenith Infotech to see if they have any updates on the Vu Telepresence effort. And we'll be watching Glowpoint to see how their partner program evolves. We're also watching to see if Cisco's consumer telepresence system -- dubbed Umi -- will jump into the SMB market and the IT channel.

No doubt there are opportunities for MSPs to deploy and manage large-screen, high-def telepresence systems. But I also think Skype Video has disrupted some of the telepresence opportunity, since Skype essentially is ubiquitous and free.

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