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Telstra buys iVision to boost video & UC capabilities

  • 04 April 2011
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  • Published in Deals

Telstra has purchased videoconferencing and collaboration company iVision, a move that it says will make it the number one provider of videoconferencing services in Australia, and one of the top three providers in Asia.

Telstra CEO David Thodey said: "In the past three years there has been explosive growth in video across IP networks. Organisations are adopting richer formats of communication to work and collaborate more effectively, both internally and with their customers and partners.

"The speed, scale, reliability and intelligence of the Telstra Next IP network provides the perfect foundation for high definition videoconferencing, unified communications and collaboration applications, which are currently some of the fastest growing solutions adopted by enterprise, government and small business customers"

He added: "Telstra's network strength and expertise in video will be greatly enhanced by iVision's design, deployment and advanced monitoring capabilities."

iVision managing director and owner, Graham Williams, who will continue to lead the business, said: "The combination of iVision and Telstra will create an innovative, network-based, end-to-end videoconferencing provider with customer centric capabilities unparalleled in the Australian market."

iVision claims to offer five key service areas: consultation, integration, implementation, managed services, network and conferencing hosted service and usage and adoption services.

In June last year Williams told ExchangeDaily he believed there was considerable scope to integrate videoconferencing and unified communications, claiming that the two were at that time largely separate.

"I think the market [for unified communications] is completely untapped. A lot of people have IP telephony but it is only dial-tone replacement. There is no presence or collaboration and certainly not desktop video. And while there are a lot of people with video it is not integrated into telephony or booking systems.


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In addition, he said most of the demand was still at the top end of the market. "We are seeing a fair bit of activity in the 250-1000 seat market, but most is still at the high end."

Meanwhile, the market for video systems that were not integrated with other communications systems is shrinking fast, according to Williams.

"I think a lot of the [video systems] channel are quite concerned because nobody wants to deploy video as a stand-alone solution anymore, those days are finished," he said. "They are wondering what their place in the world will be and looking for what else they can sell. That is why we acquired Cisco partner Unify four years ago."

He added: "Video must be part of the network. That has been so for some time but it is how critical. The next integration point we see for video is into scheduling - People want to integrate it into Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Notes.

"They also want to integrate their video into their telephony and desktop video environment. And Cisco Call Manager and Microsoft OCS are the two dominant platforms in that space."

With videoconferencing now essentially at three 'levels': high-end telepresence, standard room-based systems desktop systems, users face challenges in bringing all three together, Williams said.

"Organisations are looking at installing telepresence, but they want their room-based videoconferencing, telepresence and desktop all working together. And they want to use presence to make sure the people and facilities are available. Then the want to be able to collaborate, and they want it all to work together. That is where the market is heading."


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He added: "There is a lot of integration to be done even between one vendor's own products. They don't all slot together like Lego.

iVision at that point had just been awarded Cisco ANZ's Partner Conference award for Marketing Excellence, designed to "recognise exemplary business partners whose actions Cisco would like other partners to model."

iVision has been in business for 30 plus years, initially as Integrated Vision and focussed solely on video. In mid 2009 it merged with unified communications integrator, Unify (which it had owned since 2006) to create a new systems integrator, iVision with the stated goal of being Australia's lead player in unified communications.

Williams said at the time that the company was the largest reseller in Australia and New Zealand for videoconferencing vendor Polycom and the largest systems integrator and reseller in Asia Pacific for rival company Tandberg (now part of Cisco).

The UC arm of iVision, Unify, was, according to Williams, "a relatively small UC provider specialising in IP telephony and unified communications based on Cisco Call Manager, but a Cisco Gold Partner with about 20 very good Cisco engineers."

iVision, Williams said, would turn over in excess of $50 million in FY09, had grown revenues 20 percent in the last financial year and was on target to achieve similar growth in the current year. The company employed about 100 people at that time.

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