Since it was founded in 2009, BlueJeans has been growing at a rapid pace, developing on the back of an ever-expanding need for video conferencing solutions in the workplace environment. By focusing on a goal of making video collaboration simpler and more intuitive than ever, BlueJeans have been able to create a truly immersive multi-media platform for the dispersed enterprise.
Recently, we had a chance to talk to the VP and GM behind BlueJeans, for the EMEA marketplace, James Campanini, about his views on what the brand had accomplished over 2017, and what he considered to be the emerging trends in the UC world. Here’s what James had to say when he took part in our Strategic Insights series.
What Have You Done to Help Partners Succeed in 2017?
The first thing I wanted to know is what BlueJeans had done to help their partners make the most out of the evolving, and dynamic technology environment we’ve seen in the last year. Today, the business marketplace is more volatile than ever before, which presents a range of unique challenges, and opportunities for growing companies. James told me that he feels there’s been a huge move in the way that brands are creating “platforms for communication” within a company, using strategies within the cloud.
“There’s been a massive focus on accelerating UC opportunities within the cloud, and BlueJeans, as a true cloud operator, has been able to respond incredibly well to that trend. Because we only go to market through our partners, we have a unique focus on ensuring that those partners have the resources and guidance they need to assist customers in adopting new technology.”
“We’re not only helping our partners to access new forms of communication, but also giving them the tools they need to connect isolated islands of communication in a customer’s network. It’s about helping partners to create their own unique service offering around our product, rather than just shipping products off-the-shelf.”
What has BlueJeans Learned from 2017? What are Your Key Takeaways?
It’s safe to say that 2017 has been something of an unpredictable year, I wanted to know what lessons BlueJeans would be taking with them from this year, into the months ahead. James told me:
“2017 has been one of those ‘anything can happen’ kind of years. We knew about things like Brexit in 2016, but real negotiations in that area have begun this year. We also had the US elections taking place.
James felt that 2017 had highlighted a need for stronger solutions for communication:
“I think many brands are moving towards a “platform” for communication, like Microsoft Teams, Workplace by Facebook, where everything is situated within one place. The changing nature of the world has accelerated this need for simpler, more comprehensive collaboration between potentially dispersed teams.”
Another big focus for BlueJeans, has been around the concept of strategic partnerships: “We’ve made announcements with Facebook around Workplace, we also had an announcement with Microsoft about Teams. We made an exciting announcement with Dolby too, and we’re building great relationships everywhere. I think strategic partnerships have become an essential part of our business plan. As a video and meetings company, we’re trying to make collaboration the best it can be.”
“We’re not trying to be a platform ourselves, but instead we’re trying to bridge the gaps between platforms, without pushing customers to one vendor or another. By building a lot of partnerships, we can be agnostic, and continue connecting everyone, to everyone.”
What Challenges and Opportunities Do You Predict Are Coming in 2018?
A new year always brings new opportunities and challenges with it. I was keen to find out what James considered to be the biggest questions facing BlueJeans partners, and customers in the year ahead. He began by discussing security, and the upcoming issue of GDPR:
“One of the biggest conversations right now, is around security, and how businesses can manage personal data. Vendors are under a huge amount of pressure to protect the right information, but the definition of “personal data” is somewhat vague. At the same time, security is another issue, and people need to start thinking about how they can protect video conferencing in the same way they would secure a telephone call. It’s about regulating these services.”
Of course, the questions around privacy and security also represent opportunities for BlueJeans partners to differentiate themselves in the market too. If a BlueJeans partner can offer a truly secure video conferencing solution, then they put themselves in a fantastic position for the year ahead. Particularly as companies continue to move towards a greater focus on flexible working, something that James was particularly passionate about in our interview.
“I’m a massive fan of flexible working technology. I think with the right technology, people can be much more effective at home than in a traditional office. Ultimately, we’re moving towards a more remote working environment, but there’s challenges that need to be addressed if we want to make flexible working a more sustainable reality.”
“As the business world globalises, and demand for seamless collaboration grows, the technology businesses choose to implement will also shift. The need for tools like video meeting technology that remove geographical boundaries and improve workflows will be crucial”
What Should Be on a CIO’s Priority List for 2018?
Unsurprisingly, when I asked James what he thought should be on a CIO’s priority list for 2018, he started by reiterating the importance of security and privacy. “It’s fundamental. Everyone’s going to have to focus on those things moving forward – no matter how big or small you are.”
James went on to address the importance of responding to the increasing trend of flexibility in the workforce: “With the changes that are happening with things like Brexit, being able to communicate in a flexible environment is going to be essential. At the same time, CIOs are going to need to look at interoperability, because people won’t want to get rid of all their existing tools just to throw all their focus in with a particular brand.”
“It’s about making sure that people have all the tools they need working together as seamlessly as possible.”
What are Your Top Tips for Partners in the Upcoming Year?
Finally, when I asked James what his top tips were for partners and customers approaching 2018, he gave one very simple, but very effective answer: “Be Ready.”
After a moment, he followed up on that response by saying:
“I don’t want to make it sound too ominous, but I think there is a huge change coming. This upcoming reliance on bringing things together into one platform for security, privacy, communication, and so on. I think customers are going to be making some big changes, particularly with the increasing focus on the cloud.”
“I think that video is huge, and it’s getting bigger by the second. In fact, 2018 could very much be the year of the video. If you look at the way that people are using video now, for streaming, identifying people, collaboration, and countless other things, you can see just how important video has become.”
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