Disruptive Forces in AV/IT — Part 1: Blue Jeans

Blue-Jeans-Logo-0314OK, here we go with the first in a series on numerous participants in the new market of disruptive technologies. The groundwork has been laid in the prologue that was published late last week, you may want to first refer back to that if you haven’t read it yet to get set up for the series. Otherwise if you’ve read it and gotten the gist — time to move ahead.

First up on the stage (or the hot seat, however you look at it) is Blue Jeans Network, a company that is a relative newcomer to the industry who has positioned themselves fully in the now highly visible video conferencing cloud-hosting space — and claims to be the largest cloud-based video conferencing service. Blue Jeans provides an interoperable cloud-based video conferencing service that connects many users across different devices, platforms and conference programs. Every Blue Jeans member has a private “meeting room” in the Blue Jeans cloud to schedule and host conference meetings. It brings together business conferencing solutions like Cisco, Microsoft Lync, Lifesize, and Polycom with consumer services like Google (you can read more here).

To my mind, Blue Jeans shows a lighter side like I don’t think I’ve seen in all my years in the industry. They really put the disrupt in disruptive. They take swings at industry giants, totally unabashed (and even a bit unchained). While the big players shop in Nordstrom, these guys shop in Diesel. In essence they let it all hang out, yet with a small hint of a serious side.

Today’s interview participant is one of the people responsible for Blue Jeans’ (very) unique social media and marketing approach who is also highly visible on LinkedIn, Social Media Coordinator Virginette Acacio.

CM:  Virginette, thank you very much for participating in this blog interview. First of all, what’s up with your company name?

VA:  Blue Jeans is something to love. Your favorite blue jeans are versatile, hard-working, functional — something you can’t live without. It’s the same experience we create for your meetings. Blue Jeans is the fabric that ties together all your video conferencing needs.

CM:  Please tell me about Blue Jeans the company and its culture.

VA:  Blue Jeans Network was founded in 2009 with the aspiration to make video communications easy. Built in the cloud, the service enables people to connect with each other any time, any place and from any device. Our end goal is to make every phone call a video call. In terms of our culture, it’s all in the name. The people are welcoming and we have a fun work hard, play hard environment. While we try to keep everything casual, our business is serious, just like any good pair of blue jeans.

CM:  How does Blue Jeans satisfy the strategic needs of the enterprise in terms of communication and collaboration strategy?

VA:  The face-to-face interaction provided by video conferencing has been proven by study after study to be the most effective and engaging method of communication. Many enterprises recognize this and have been implementing some form of video conferencing in recent years. However, hardware-based video conferencing can be expensive, siloed, and challenging to use, and these factors have prevented it from becoming pervasive to all workers within an enterprise.

Blue Jeans recognizes that the modern enterprise needs video conferencing that is easy to use and affordable, and can extend beyond the conference room. In fact, 60 percent of endpoints in video conferences are desktop computers or laptops and one-third of all meetings include one or more attendees participating from a mobile device. Blue Jeans’ interoperable cloud platform is able to connect business users into the same meeting from a variety of conference room systems, Web browsers, mobile devices, and unified communications services. That’s powerful, because truly anybody can host a video conference, and there are no restrictions around who they can meet with.

Within the enterprise, security and administrative tools are especially important in a communication platform. Blue Jeans is used every day by major banks and governments, which are among the most security-conscious organizations in the world. From an administrative perspective, Blue Jeans allows IT teams to have visibility into and control over their organization’s use of Blue Jeans. This includes the ability to implement single sign-on (SSO), mass provision users, troubleshoot and track meetings, and enable specific features for certain user groups and individuals.

Lastly, enterprises benefit from Blue Jeans being a 100 percent cloud-based service because they can avoid the hassle of managing hardware, increase meeting capacity on demand, and receive new features every four to six weeks.

CM:  You had a very good showing at InfoComm last year. What do you have planned for this year’s show?

VA:  We have a lot of things in the pipeline and are excited to show our latest innovations to the public. But for now, we’ll have to leave you guessing. (Writers note: C’mon show the hand ;-))

dearjohn-0314CM:  Now the big one — Blue Jeans sent shock waves through the industry calling out video conferencing’s largest vendor with a “Dear John” letter on a roadside billboard. What brought this strategy about and what exactly were you expecting from this?

VA:  We like to let our imaginations flow when it comes to marketing, especially as we are competing with some companies who have pretty big budgets. For the billboard, we played with the idea that a meeting technology should enable you to “see other people” — a very common break up line. We asked users to “break up” with their old service and instead choose Blue Jeans as we incorporate both video and collaboration features, such as screen sharing. However, this isn’t our first edgy campaign. We’ve also dedicated a billboard to Marissa Mayer when she made her no-work-from-home declaration, created a humorous video called “The Sh*t that Happens on Mute,” as well as a fake product video called “The Roominator.” We believe that creative marketing has the ability to make the biggest impact.
(Writer’s note: I’ve watched the videos; they’re hilarious.)

CM:  Any last words for your channel partners?

VA:  We have plenty of upcoming product announcements that we hope will suit their every need- stay tuned!

I would like to say thank you to Virginette (as well as the rest of the good people behind the scenes at Blue Jeans) for participating in this first of a series blog interview. Make sure you stop over to see them at InfoComm, I’m sure they’ll have some pretty good stuff for you to see. And play nice with them everyone, lest you end up on a billboard yourselves.