Vidtel announced Monday a channel program to deliver reservationless, any-to-any video conferencing services to small and medium businesses.
Through Vidtel, channel partners – AV integrators, VoIP providers, managed service providers, telecom agents and other VARs – can offer SMBs a cloud-based solution that supports interoperability across room-based systems, desktop platforms, PCs, tablets and smartphones. MeetMe is also compatible and interoperable with services such as Google Talk and Skype, enabling their users to participate in multi-party video conferences with other users who are utilizing room-based video conferencing systems and executive-suite desktop platforms manufactured by Tandberg/Cisco, LifeSize and Polycom.
“When people make a call, they want to connect," said Elliot Gold, president of TeleSpan Publishing Corp., in a press statement. “They don’t want to dig through a manual to see if the other person has the same equipment, is on the same network, or worse, if the bits match. They simply want to call and see them. That’s what this service is all about, and is welcomed in the ever-growing videoconferencing marketplace."
Vidtel CEO Scott Wharton told Channel Partners that Vidtel wants to do for video conferencing what reservationless calling did for audio conferencing, which is now pervasive. Many of the hardware vendors pay lip service to interoperability, so Vidtel is enabling them to talk to each other over it's cloud-based service. (This reporter connected via Skype with Wharton and a colleague on enterprise systems while a PR rep was on Gtalk with no client download required.)
As a result, he said Vidtel enables VARs to bring video conferencing down market to smaller businesses that can't afford hundreds of thousands of dollars for an enterprise grade system or do not have the expertise to manage their own infrastructure (e.g. servers, bridges and session border controllers).
At the same time, it enables them to help their existing customers leverage their enterprise systems to bring in home-based and mobile workers or supply chain partners that don't have compatible video conferencing systems.
With VidTel's service, customers purchase a virtual conference room holdign 5-12 participants. The service is available for a flat rate, starting at $199, per month or on a per-minute basis at 15 cents. No contracts are required and the company offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
The MeetMe channel program initially is available in North America, with expansion planned for EMEA and APAC.
Wharton said the program includes an agency model with monthly recurring commissions, a reseller model wherein the partner provides Tier 1 support and billing, and a wholesale model for service providers.
The program’s initial VARs include CMIT Solutions, an Austin, Texas-based provider of IT services and solutions to SMEs, with 125 locally owned and operated U.S. locations.
“MeetMe democratizes video conferencing by providing SMEs with a cost-effective solution that has no tradeoffs in quality and interoperability," said Frank Picarello, CMIT Solutions COO. "Vidtel's solution fills a big void in the marketplace. By giving CMIT a powerful new solution set to offer to our SME clients, MeetMe enables us to target new opportunities as the video conferencing market grows beyond the boardrooms of large enterprises."