Blog Archives

Blue Jeans Network Grows By 50% in One Quarter

OK, listen up.

I have said this before (like starting in 1999, for those who don’t know that ESnet Collaboration developed one of, if not the, first IP-based cloud video conferencing services in the world)…..BUT….

Cloud based video conferencing is going to kick the worlds ass in a BIG way….this press release is proof, and this is just the tip of a VERY LARGE iceberg.  For example, say bye-bye to your favorite MCU, and say Hi to browser-based video conferencing.  VERY exciting!

Read this upcoming (Monday) press release from our friends at Blue Jeans Network.  Yes…I posted this WITH PERMISSION!

But, I think this is a scoop!  :-)))

Wainhouse?  Who are they?  haha

Blue Jeans Network Grows By 50 Percent in One Quarter to Claim 10 Percent of Estimated Worldwide Video Conferencing Services Market

Cloud-based MCU Takes $15 Million From Cisco and Polycom;  WebRTC-based Browser Access Option Surges to 25 Percent Mark

October 8, 2012— MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA – Blue Jeans Network (, the leader in interoperable video conferencing services, today announced a 50 percent increase in customer adoption in the past three months alone.  Based on third-party market research, Blue Jeans now commands about 10 percent of the video conferencing services market.  In addition, Blue Jeans also announced the initial results of the “MCU killer” pricing package as well as adoption rates of their Web browser-based interoperable video conferencing solution.

Earlier this year, Blue Jeans rolled out new pricing plans that gave customers the opportunity to experience business grade multi-way videoconferencing in the cloud, without the high cost of entry and interoperability constraints of traditional on-premise bridging hardware (commonly known as multipoint control units, or MCUs).

Additionally, Blue Jeans expanded the addressable market to more than 2.3 billion people who have access to a Web browser.  In Q2 of this year, Blue Jeans became the first and only service allowing anyone with a browser and camera to join video meetings with other participants who could be using any combination of room-based videoconferencing systems (i.e. Polycom, Cisco, LifeSize, Sony, etc.), as well as Skype, Google, Microsoft Lync or audio connections.

Since rolling out these offerings, Blue Jeans’ business has exploded to the point the company has grown by 50 percent in just over one quarter.  Furthermore, Blue Jeans customers have saved an estimated $15 million by avoiding the MCU infrastructure market altogether by taking advantage of the new subscription-based “virtual ports” pricing plans in the cloud.

According to Wainhouse Research, the video conferencing infrastructure market currently represents a yearly market of approximately $700M and is dominated by Cisco and Polycom.

The browser access option has allowed participants to connect to a Blue Jeans meeting with nothing more than their Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Safari browser and a camera.  The adoption has been phenomenal.  In just a few months, Web browser-based video conferencing has surged to comprise 25 percent of all endpoints in Blue Jeans video calls.

“Video conferencing has traditionally been expensive to purchase, difficult to deploy and complicated to use.  By being first with an interoperable MCU in the cloud offering and a WebRTC based browser option, we have clearly hit a nerve in the industry and tapped in to an unmet need,” said Krish Ramakrishnan, CEO of Blue Jeans Network.  “Our surge in demand is a testament to the growing business appetite for both videoconferencing and an infinitely scalable, cloud-based alternative to the traditional MCU.”

For more information about Blue Jeans cloud-based MCU bridge alternative visit

More information on Web Browser access is available at

About Blue Jeans Network
At Blue Jeans Network, our mission is to make video communications as easy and pervasive as audio communications, enabling more effective collaboration at work, at home, and on the road.  Our cloud-based conferencing service makes this possible by enabling customers to connect with each other seamlessly any time, anywhere, and from practically any device. The Blue Jeans Network extends high quality video communications beyond the traditional boundaries of specialized conference rooms and into the mainstream, allowing individuals and employees throughout an enterprise to interact more effectively with each other, and with their customers, partners, suppliers, family, and friends.  Blue Jeans Network is a private company headquartered in Mountain View, California.  For more information go to: or follow the company @BlueJeansNet

Press Contact
Tim Smith
Element PR


Visual Communications Industry Group Conference

For the old timers reading this, you remember TeleCon.  Once a year in Anaheim, 20,000 or so of your industry friends would gather to learn about video conferencing, audio conferencing and collaboration.

The conference was electric (and Disneyland and Universal were soooo close)….lots of ideas, lots of stuff, lots of great people….wow!



Then….at some point earlier in this decade (a mental block is keeping me from remembering the exact year….it must be the enormous amounts of  beer we consumed the day we were laid off), Pat Portway sold “TeleCon” to someone who used us for a year then trashed almost all of us.  That’s ok, TeleCon died shortly thereafter….what goes around, comes around.


Anyway….since then, a “unified” conference related to visual communications was hard to find (The Wainhouse Summits were great, but, on a smaller scale).  And some of the big conferences (which were now dwindling in size) had video conferencing stuff as part of it, but, they were lacking the excitement for our cool technology.

This year (coming up October 10-12, 2011 in The Big Easy) is the Second Annual VCI-Group  Conference that, to me, promises to bring back the old electricity, and focus on OUR industry, that TeleCon had way back in the day.

That is:  Assuming people go!  So….GO!  There….you have your orders from Mike!  🙂

Keynote speakers will be there from: Polycom, Cisco, HP (?), and LifeSize.  There will be a conference track and an exhibit hall and meeting people like you face to face in New Orleans…what could be better!???

Go to the web site for ALL the information….here is a snippet of the agenda (I miss those receptions….did you know I was a reception crasher in my younger days?  Yup…and one day I even picked up a shrimp platter and put myself and a friend (she remembers if she reads this) to work handing out TONS of shrimp!  Gosh that was fun…):

Monday, October 10

8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Conference Check-In and On-Site Registration

8:45 AM – 9:00 AM
Opening Remarks by VCI-Group Vice President, Indika McCampbell

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Manufacturer Briefing Class – Hosted by Russ G. Colbert, Jr. (Polycom, Inc.) – Details

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Lunch on your own

1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Distance Learning SIG: Multiplying Campuses Without Duplicating Faculty: Issues, Logistics, Technology, Support, and Accreditation – with Dan Lim (Moderator, Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences), Todd Hughes (Western Kentucky University), Ron Novy (Florida Hospital College Of Health Sciences), Craig Ernst (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire) and Richard McMahon (University of Oklahoma Health Science Center) – Details

Healthcare SIG – 
Moderator: Barry Boardman (Cook Children’s Health Care System) – Details

Enterprise Industry SIG – with Chris Thompson (Moderator, Mars IS) and Doug Pearson (Accenture) – Details

3:00 PM – 4:40 PM
Cisco Medianet – The Value of Network Architecture to Enhance Organization-Wide Telepresence and Collaboration (Aamer Akhter, Technical Marketing Engineer, Cisco’s Medianet Infrastructure Group) Details

4:45 PM – 5:00 PM
Opening Ceremonies

5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Reception in Exhibit Hall

I wrote an email to the VCI folks, here is the text of our conversation (my questions are underlined):

1. Over the past few years (well maybe more than a few) conferences have been declining in attendance.  What made you start up a conference at this time?  I understand this is #2? 

There are really no conferences out there that focus on the End User and the challenges they are having.  It was an opportune time to begin an organization that was not associated with any manufacturer as we had found that with the emergence of telepresence (immersive today) most organizations were no longer a one (1) manufacturer shop.  To this date 50% of our User base is new to conferencing – this is the only organization which enables these “Newbies” to learn, network and meet with many of the vendors in a one-to-one non-sales format.

2. Is this conference geared for “beginners” or all levels of knowledge…ie would I be totally bored or would I find cool useful stuff? 

This conference focuses on all levels from the first timer to the experienced over 20 years in the industry.  Since this industry is constantly evolving with mergers, equipment and technology many of our End Users come year after year.

3. Is it mostly for educators? 

Absolutely not, our End User base is a mix of Enterprise (corporate), Healthcare, Government and Education.  There are sessions that are geared to each of the verticals; as well as, Special Interest Groups (SIGs).

4. Are you going to offer virtual attendance at some of the keynotes, presentations, or the exhibit hall?  Brainstorm:  Imagine having the Giraffe or Vgo robots for “rent” and I could walk around the exhibit hall….THAT would be cool! 

As much as we would be open to that, we have not been able to secure this for this event as yet. We are however doing a pre and post virtual conference through vcopius which will be the group’s first look into virtual conference and we are very excited.

5. Andrew Davis talking about Skype?  Geeez, I would almost PAY to hear that!  😉

The Analyst panel on Wednesday afternoon will discuss the industry and the fact that it is currently a landmine and who will be the front runners in the industry.

6. I will look more, but, I see Polycom and Lifesize….what about Vidyo? Radvison? Cisco/Tandberg? VeaMea? 

Cisco/Tandberg and HP will also be there.  We feel that we have all the major manufacturers at this conference and we are very excited to have them there under one “umbrella” for our End Users to see their equipment, demonstrations; but, most importantly speak to them.


I remember waking up one day at TeleCon and seeing footprints on the sidewalk leading to the Hall….can anyone tell me what the significance of those footprints were?  Winner gets 5 worthless sub points!  🙂  Comment below…

Video Conferencing Products & Services Update: Cisco / Tandberg

Cisco/Tandberg Overarching Philosophy (my take)

Corporate, high end, “Telepresence”

What I Think of When I Think of Cisco / Tandberg

Routers / Reliable Video Conferencing Hardware

Product Line

Tandberg has been around the video conferencing industry….well, forever.

Cisco is a late entry that, in my own very humble opinion, was kinda lost in this industry. Then they bought Tandberg which I thought was a great thing (time will tell, however). Hopefully, Cisco will (should) let Tandberg, a world leader in video conferencing, do it’s thing.  Again, time will tell.

Thanks to Tandberg…Cisco now has an IMPRESSIVE range of video conferencing products (from endpoints, to infrastructure to cameras to purses (not!)) and services (cloud based Callway looks VERY cool) that is mind boggling in depth and breadth.  The only lacking component that I can see is an iPhone or Android based mobile app (UPDATE:  I have been told that a sweet app will be coming out Q1-2012).

Cloud Based Callway

You may be able to tell, but, I am a huge fan of cloud-based video conferencing (even though Clint and I are out of work).

Cisco offers two services that they claim are cloud based.  One called “Intercompany Cloud Services” just does not resonate with me as a true cloud based service, the other “Callway” is potentially exciting.

The information on the web site about Callway is very Marketing oriented which means I could not find a whole lot of technical information.  My request for information has as yet gone unanswered.  NEWS:  I understand that my old Polycom PVX will not work with Callway. Arrrghh..

Sooooo….lacking technical details on the web, or a call back from Cisco….the number of endpoints that can be supported by Callway is unknown (but it looks to be 5 or more), the resolutions Callway can support is unknown, what endpoints it supports is unknown, and coverage areas / limitations (if any) are unknown.

HINT:  Cisco needs to put up a spec sheet on Callway!  🙂

But other than that…the marketing on Callway makes it seem cool, and cloud vc  is great (…as long as it works).


The endpoints span the cost spectrum from a <– laptop based Movi to multi-thousand dollar “immersive telepresence” rooms.

The emphasis, again in my opinion, seems to be on the high end “immersive telepresence” systems.  But even the “personal telepresence” (now there is a term I coined!) systems tend to err on the side of high quality video and audio.

An honorable goal!

The Movi is an excellent video conferencing application for your Windows based computer.  I tested it briefly a while back and found it to be, hmmm, I said this already excellent.  It can give you 720p resolution at 30 fps, and great audio with a full range of audio protocols.  I connected my test Movi to an H.323 system in Chicago just fine and had a nice trouble free, stumble free conversation.  Movi requires you to connect to a server at your company, so it is not a “stand-alone” like us old-timers are used to.

Moving up (in cost).

I have to tell you….I always loved the style, reliability, and video / audio quality from the standalone Tandberg desktop T-1000.  The range of desktop stand-alone units has increased.  And the style has remained.   The “telepresence extension” (whatever that means) E20 is shown to the right.   Very cool.

Other products that can be used on the desktop include the “Personal Telepresence” 1700, which looks to be a computer sized monitor with a camera on top.  That unit has a built in 4 way MCU and can connect at up to 2 Mbps H.323  or SIP and has “embedded encryption and H.235 and 802.1x authentication” (damn…I am getting old…I need to look those up!).  It also supports URI dialing (E164  This device can work in “stand-alone” mode.  🙂

Once again, moving up the cost chain (at least I think) is the EX Series of <—desktop “telepresence”  units.

These are bigger (for the bigger desks of managers I suppose?) and look really nice.  Video resolutions up to 1080p at 30 fps and 720p at 60 fps mean you can play indoor football and everyone will see the action.

The EX Series supports H.323 and SIP at up to 6 Mbps (!!) and the EX90 (as opposed to the EX60) has a built in 4 way MCU.  The EX Series supports H.460.18 and H.460.19 firewall transversal.  (I seriously doubt that Andrew Davis would pass up a Porsche for an EX90.  Just sayin…)

There are bigger room “personal” systems for higher management “Executive Office” where the offices are, sometimes, immense (like my 1700 sq foot office).  You can go to the web site to see the Cisco Telepresence 500, and Cisco Telepresence 1100 to find out more about them.  I’m tired.  🙂

Moving up, there are room based systems: Cisco Telepresence MX200 and Profile Series that can serve a small or medium sized conference room.  The MX200 –> has a 42″ monitor and both can support up to 1080p at 30 fps and 720p up to 60 fps.  They support H.323 and SIP and support a full range of video and audio standards.

At the highest cost level and the most ambitious are the “telepresence” rooms Cisco is famous for.  I would hope that they are all standards based now that Tandberg is involved.

Using H.264, the Cisco Telepresence System 3010 for example (and I hope it is representative of the others) connects to H.323 and SIP endpoints and gives you 1080p or 720p at 30 fps (so forget conference room football…just kidding…go for it!).  The 3010 sends graphics at 5 fps or with an optional graphics codec at 30 fps (can I show a movie?).  It support G.711 and AAC-LD at 22 khz, I would use the latter.  🙂

For those managment types who just love the “experience”….this system should be awesome.  For engineers working with a team of designers….come on…use your desktop (and WebEx) or mobile (did I already say that was needed?).

Whew!  I told you there was an EXTENSIVE lineup of products.

I’m tired and we are just now leaving endpoints…..but before I leave…the web site and data sheets mention data collaboration (H.239, etc), but, it is not emphasized (just look at the pictures).  Be it known that DATA collaboration is a very important part of effective collaboration as a whole (voice, video, and data), and Cisco / Tandberg does support data collaboration.  In fact, Tandberg thunk it up…

Take five…

Infrastructure Hardware (mostly)

OK…maybe I will shorten the examples a bit because if you thought there were a lot of endpoints, you ain’t seen nothing yet.  Yikes!

I have to post this picture, because, well, I was one of the first to get one and it worked like a champ for years and became the backbone of the ESnet video conferencing service (once Codian figured out how to give us 40 ports!).  Now there are a host of MCU’s (of all types, sizes and flavors) and other stuff they clump under “Telepresence Infrastructure” available from Cisco / Tandberg.  Go here.


There are several management tools available (it looks like one from Tandberg, one from Codian, and one from Cisco) to help you manage your endpoints, infrastructure, and calls.  I believe the original, stupendously great, TMS system is still still TMS but is now “Telepresence Management System” instead of “Tandberg….”  Go here for more info.

Under “Conferencing” comes the Content Servers, Gateways, IP VCR’s….etc etc.  Go here for more info.

And last….the cameras and other accessories (no purses, I’m actually shocked).


If you get this far….I will give you 5 “worthless” sub points!  They are not actually worthless, but, you need to redeem 50 points to get to pick thru the Treasure Chest.

My opinion:


Cisco was damn lost in the video conferencing industry.  Sorry.  The arrogance to introduce a “telepresence” system that was PROPRIETARY simply turned me (and I am sure many others) off.  And the cost of a “telepresence” room (and you needed TWO).  Yikes!

Tandberg saved their butts.  Now the line up of products, and services, and tools may be second to none.  And with the Tandberg reputation (I hope they have maintained their quality)…..Cisco done good.

Again, they need a mobile app, and I still think rooms (and severely costly telepresence rooms will fade away as the kids of today grow up).  The next gen worker will be video conferencing from anyplace, anytime, to anyone.  There is simply no need for them to drive to a fancy room to video conference….(UPDATE:  See the comment below for a link to “Cisco Jabber”)

Oh yeah…Mike’s Rule #56:  You do not NEED an “immersive experience” to get work done (you may WANT it…and that is fine).

It bugs me that Cisco marketeers are changing “video conferencing” to “telepresence”….but, I am an old codger….so maybe I need to get over it.  🙂


LifeSize versus Cisco

Surfing the Internet and I found this interesting article on Bloomberg.

A snippet:

LifeSize Communications Inc., a unit of computer-mouse maker Logitech International SA (LOGN), expects revenue to jump as it competes with rivals including Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) to add clients in the videoconference market, set to more than double in the next five years.

LifeSize’s sales are forecast to rise two to three times faster than the market, which is expected to grow 15 percent this year, Chief Executive Officer Craig Malloy said in a phone interview. Revenue at the Austin, Texas-based company rose 34 percent to $36.5 million in the fiscal first quarter, making LifeSize Logitech’s fastest-growing business.

“We’re seeing very, very rapid growth in videoconferencing,” the CEO said. “We’re going to piggyback on key trends and accelerate our growth.” LifeSize is targeting $1 billion in revenue in coming years, Malloy said, without giving a precise timeframe.”

Now…I was around when the Wainhouse folks predicted multiple times (in the 90’s) that the video conferencing industry was going to be a $1 billion industry, so, truthfully, I do not listen to estimates anymore.

What I look at is what the companies are offering now and what they plan to offer in the future and see if that fits “Mike’s” idea of what I think is good or not.  I can be wrong, but, more times than not, I have been right.  Still poor…..but right, that has to count for something, somewhere.  🙂

Based on the research I just completed on LifeSize, and the research I am now in the middle of on Cisco (and, sorry, as much as I LOVE Tandberg)….LifeSize is probably gonna kick Cisco’s butt.

One (but not the only) reason why….see the top picture.

More to follow when I post my blog entry on Cisco / Tandberg in a week or so…

Just sayin….

Cisco Flips the Flip

I ran across this article in the NY Times this morning and found it interesting.

Why is it interesting?

I’ll tell you why:  In 2007, the Flip camcorder was the latest cutting edge technology.  It sold like hot cakes, and the big players came out with their own versions.

2007 was 4 years ago.  Yikes!  ONLY 4 years ago…

Now…the Flip is pretty much obsolete (as are those cool little cameras you can stick in your pocket).

Smartphones can take pictures with great resolution, and videos, and you can make phone calls, connect to WiFi, upload to Facebook, Flickr, or Picassa.  Who needs a separate device?

Apparently hardly anyone…Cisco is closing down the Flip division which it purchased for $590 million only a short time ago.

Technology time is moving faster and faster.

Sure glad I’m not obsolete….hmmmm, maybe I am.  Check back in a microsecond.  🙂

Update: I just found this interesting CNET article on Cisco’s Consumer Failures.

Now…you know I am not really fond of Cisco (oh you mean it was not obvious that I think their videoconferencing efforts were not being done right (DUH…standards!  DUH…travelling to a fancy, extremely expensive, room to video conference is ANTI-intuitive)…until they bought Tandberg that is), but, this consumer stuff is not their fault, and at least they tried.

Drive Safe!  Never forget.

Cisco Umi Videoconferencing

I was breezing the Internet today and found this article from Engadget announcing the arrival of a new consumer based videoconferencing system from Cisco.  Umi is pronounced with the the U long…you me.

Interesting. I’ve been saying for years the marriage of HDTV and videoconferencing was inevitable, and now, here it is.

I will look closer at the specs, but, it does not look to be H.323 compatible, and the press release says nothing about SIP…so it may be proprietary?

It is a service, rather than stand-alone, and according to Engadget costs  $599 to buy, then $24.99 per month for usage.  Pretty steep if you ask me when you can get Skype (and multipoint) for free (I don’t need HD videoconferencing THAT bad).

Anyway…..this is a step in the right direction (making videoconferencing available to anyone, anytime, anywhere  or at least taking the first step).  So I have to hand it to Cisco for moving in this direction.

It will be available Nov 14 at Best Buy.

Blast From the Past

See my article from too many years ago (1995) where Kristen (who is NOW in college, University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA) calls me from college on my TV while I am watching the 49ers lose yet another game.  Scroll down to 6:30 PM if you don’t care about the rest of the vision (which is still a dream):

“Virtual Work in the Year 2004″ (written in 1995)

UPDATE:  I checked the Cisco website for specs.   As far as I can tell:

+ No multipoint,

+ No SIP,

+ No H.323,

+ And you have to buy TWO to connect.

Hmmmm, have we not been down this road before?  And all those who have done it (made totally proprietary systems at a steep price) in the past are gone…

Give me Skype or ooVoo…HD is simply not that important to me.