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Coronavirus Threat: Big Opportunities for Video Conferencing in the Channel

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Group videoconferencing

As new coronavirus cases continue to emerge nationally and globally, businesses and organizations are taking action to limit personal contact during ongoing operations.

This presents a big opportunity for the channel to lend a hand while both expanding existing customer relationships and gaining new ones. The channel itself is being impacted by the coronavirus: Two cybersecurity company employees who attended last month’s 2020 RSA Conference in San Francisco have tested positive for the virus, and at least one is seriously ill with respiratory issues.

In part one of a two-part series, we focus on the opportunities afforded by video conferencing. Janet Schijns, CEO of JS Group, said her company’s data shows that 59% of traditional channel partners – resellers, VARs, MSPs and agents – have not even begun their own digital transformation, so this uptick in demand for video conferencing “demonstrates this with regard to how they treated their business and our customers’ business.”

JS Group's Janet Schijns

JS Group’s Janet Schijns

“Anybody who has been paying attention for the last few years knows that you have to have video conferencing, and you shouldn’t need to uptick right now,” she said. “If you had actually prepared for what the market realities already were, which was the digital normal … a virus shouldn’t make you have to prepare like this. However, because almost 60% of the channel – their own businesses is ill-prepared – it reflects in the fact that their customers also don’t have video conferencing. That’s a big reason why there’s so much demand for video conferencing, because … partners haven’t truly adopted digital technologies in their own business.”

We also touched base with 8×8, Evolve IP, Avaya and Zoom Video Communications to see how they’re addressing organizations’ needs.

8×8 is working closely with channel partners so they can help companies maintain business readiness and keep employees productive wherever they are, said John DeLozier, the company’s senior vice president and global channel chief.

We recently compiled a list of 20 top UCaaS providers offering products and services via channel partners.
8x8's John DeLozier

8×8’s John DeLozier

“We are providing partners with tips, best practices and other resources so they can educate their customers,” he said. “In addition, we are communicating to partners that 8×8 also offers a free video meetings solution so they can help businesses make the most of every meeting in the event they don’t have access to video as they shift to a remote workforce. We are encouraging our partners to take advantage of 8×8 Video Meetings for themselves as well as their customers. Our goal is to help everyone continue to collaborate and stay productive during this rapidly changing environment.”

8×8‘s core cloud communications service, 8×8 Virtual Office, provides companies with all-in-one communications, with mobile and desktop apps that fully replace their office desk phones, making sure employees can take their business calls or message on their device of choice, from anywhere they are, DeLozier said. Video Meetings is a free, cloud-based meetings app that enables users to conduct unlimited audio conferences and video meetings directly from a web browser for free and with no registration required.

“In implementing a remote work policy, regardless of extenuating circumstances, one of the biggest concerns is how to maintain the sense of community and camaraderie that develops among in-person teams,” DeLozier said. “With entire businesses moving to a remote workforce as a result of coronavirus, leaders are thinking about this on a much larger scale. 8×8 was specifically designed to mirror the fluid ways that people communicate, combining these elements into a single platform. Maintaining business continuity isn’t just a matter of …

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