Video Killed the Radio Star

by Tom Walker on March 1, 2011 · 0 comments

in ScanSource Catalyst,Voice,VOIP


In this case, the “radio star” is your wireless network (hey, it’s a radio frequency isn’t it?) Take a look at the hot new technologies coming out in the collaboration space. We’re going to see a lot of action from companies like Avaya and Cisco and their latest tablet-based video collaboration. This will be the sizzle du jour the likes of which we haven’t seen since in awhile.

Are you doubting tablet-based collaboration, presence and video will be big? I was too until I had a lively discussion with Jim Sevier. He reminded me that telepresence gained fast momentum due to the sizzle it generated with CXO’s. Once the CFO or CEO of a Fortune 1000 company saw how “cool” telepresence was, it was easy to build a plausible ROI. Likely, the same thing will happen with tablet presence/collaboration and video applications like Flare. What flare is above all else is CXO candy. Once the CXO says, “I have to have that,” there’s a lot less friction. And if there is an actual ROI and business case, you can start rounding third base.

So now that we’ve established that tablet collaboration will gain significant traction. Let’s imagine how well that video will perform over the customer’s wireless network. I’ve seen some great Flare demo’s when the thing is plugged into a network cable. Unfortunately, every demo I’ve seen has been somewhere outside of a demo lab. Hence, the trick will be showing the demo over wireless.  Most wireless networks simply can’t handle video. I’m not talking about Skype (Which by the way I LOVE) quality. I’m talking about business-grade video.

The bad news is– your customers are going to need a carrier-grade wireless network. The good news is– your customers are going to need a carrier-grade wireless network. I’m talking about a network that won’t drop, re-order and deliver out of sequence packets on the network because it doesn’t know the difference. I’m talking about an architecture intelligent enough to know which packets are video in any given stream and prioritize them.

Smash-cut back to 2003 when you sold that first cutting edge VoIP solution only to find out the customer’s LAN didn’t have QoS and bandwidth necessary to support real time voice. You couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting someone pointing the finger at the other guy. Deja Vu isn’t it? So you learned to perform (or require) a network assessment to cover your butt. Then, if you were opportunistic, you upgraded the network for them so it would support voice. Heck, that was Cisco’s playbook.. still is.

So what? Somewhere in all of this you need to find a wireless vendor that is up to the task of supporting high definition video over wireless. As luck has it, this is a conversation we’d love to have with you since Catalyst partners with the best of the best in wireless (and collaboration.)

Okay, so here’s my points: Avaya Flare represents the opportunity to get in the CXO’s door with irresistable techno-candy. Once you puppy-dog that gadget and get him hooked, he’ll move heaven and earth to enable the sale so long as you can provide a plausible ROI. You’ll have yet more opportunity to capture high margin pro-services and hardware sales by upgrading the network to support these sizzling apps. On the other hand, if you leave the wireless network to the “other guys”, you risk a really unhappy customer and worse yet, a competitor sneaking into save the day.

If you are serious about collaboration, you had better be serious about wireless. If you are serious about wireless, Avaya Flare can drive WLAN refreshes with your customers. Catalyst understands this space better than anyone and can help you navigate this path.

Good Selling.

This post was written by

Tom Walker is a Business Development Manager for Catalyst Telecom, a value added distributor for Avaya, Juniper, Extreme Networks, and many others. Tom works with Integrators and Resellers to help them grow their business by leveraging the most reliable, secure and standards based convergence technologies.

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