Are Managed Cloud Video Services Hot or Hype?
Whether you call it managed video as a service (MVaaS) or managed cloud video services, I have openly wondered if VARs and MSPs can truly generate recurring revenues from telepresence. But along comes Glowpoint, which has made three strategic moves in recent weeks. Indeed, the company has acquired video assets from Avaya, signed a strategic agreement with Polycom, and recruited two key executives who previously worked at Cisco Systems Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. Let’s start with the good news from Glowpoint…
…then I’ll inject some of my remaining questions.
Move 1: Glowpoint Meets Polycom
Most recently, Glowpoint has inked an agreement with Polycom. Under terms of the deal, Glowpoint will provide cloud managed video services for Polycom’s telepresence and video conferencing solutions. Polycom channel partners, in turn, can offer Polycom branded cloud managed video services delivered by Glowpoint. The services will include management of Polycom UC solutions and video infrastructure on customer premise or fully hosted from Glowpoint’s cloud, the two companies said.
In theory, the Glowpoint-Polycom relationship could be an opportunity for VARs and MSPs, which will be able to offer 24 x 7 proactive room and video infrastructure sweeps, helpdesk and concierge support, software upgrades, scheduling solutions, and call recording, the two companies say. But I don’t have a feel for how much revenue or margin the cloud managed video services can generate for partners.
Move 2: Recruit Talent
According to a separate announcement, Tolga Sakman, formerly of Cisco Systems, is now Glowpoint’s VP of corporate development and strategy. Moreover, Hewlett-Packard channel veteran Darren Podrabsky is now Glowpoint’s VP of marketing.
The career moves don’t necessarily surprise me. HP recently sold off its Halo telepresence business — which Podrabsky helped to build — to Polycom. Meanwhile, Sakman had joined Cisco through the Tandberg acquisition… but Cisco is now cutting 6,500 jobs — which means some Cisco employees may be looking for a safe exit to new opportunities.
Move 3: Acquire Technology
In a deal with Avaya, Glowpoint recently acquired telepresence endpoints, video conferencing endpoints and network infrastructure needed to deliver cloud-based video solutions to the enterprise, the company says. Glowpoint will use the assets to build its Glowpoint open video cloud infrastructure.
Overall, it sounds like Glowpoint is building a true, cloud-centric managed video service, which may deliver recurring revenues to Polycom channel partners (and others). But even Glowpoint — one of the best-known providers of video in the cloud — has yet to reach rock star status.
The company’s stock has traded from $1.40 to $3.00 over the past 52 weeks, according to Yahoo Finance. In its first quarter ended March 31, Glowpoint’s overall revenues rose only 7 percent. But the news was far brighter in the cloud-based managed video services (MVS) business, where Glowpoint’s Q1 revenues grew 33% to $3.1 million.
…Amid Broader Questions
Still, riddle me this: If telepresence is such a hot market both in the enterprise and in the consumer space, then why did HP punt on Halo, and why is Cisco completely rethinking its Umi service?
I’m not picking on Glowpoint: They are generating solid double-digit growth. And they are reaching out to channel partners to assist that growth. I’m just curious to see how many channel partners ultimately generate big profits from cloud-based managed video services. Especially when more and more SMB customers consider free Skype services “good enough” for most of their video needs…