Last week I published my “10 Commandments for Collaboration Software” here. These were general recommendation for anyone looking for a conferencing client, without any reference to this vendor or that vendor (not even RADVISION), as – as I wrote – “there isn’t a clear ‘best’ or ‘better solution… it all depends on needs and communication characteristics”.
Across the blogosphere, fellow blogger and industry member, Stefan Karapetkov from Polycom, wrote a similar piece, following a discussion in the Megaconference mailing list. In his post, as well as in the mailing list itself, Stefan gives some good points about collaboration software, but focuses mainly on bad mouthing the competition – any competition. And the worse part is that he is inaccurate about many things, either by mistake or intentionally.
Reading Stefan’s e-mail to the mailing list and his post, I thought he deserves some comments.
The REAL RADVISION Approach
Stefan writes that “RADVISION’s approach” is selling hardware and not software, and that “the only explanation for it” is that “they just don’t know how to sell software”. The trigger for this conclusion, by the way, is the fact that RADVISION is currently giving its award-winning desktop client, Scopia Desktop, for FREE (which obviously irritates some folks at Polycom). I wonder what people at Google or Skype would say, knowing that “free software” means “not knowing how to sell software”…
Well, to set the record straight, for Stefan and the rest of you, RADVISION has been developing and selling software since the early 1990s. In fact, the Technology Business Unit (TBU) is the de-facto standard for VoIP software in the business – even our competitors use the TBU’s software. RADVISION developed the first IP multicast MCU, the first H323 software MCU, the first H323 MCU on Linux, the first desktop video solution integrated into instant messaging, the first MCU to support SIP, and many other innovative software products.
We Don’t Follow, We Innovate!
Following our motto of “Don’t Follow, Innovate!“, RADVISION has decided to take a certain architecture and market approach for its conferencing solution. This approach allows us to extend the conference room (or classroom walls) to remote users, not just enterprise (or student) desktops, but everyone in every location. This is, in our view, a much more cost-justified model, and has a much more immediate need.
To accomplish this we have a few key features in our solution – we allow virtually any device to participate in a conference at their native capabilities, without degrading anyone in the call; we freely distribute a plug-in client that allows anyone to join the conference (without registration or licensing fees); we fully support High Definition on the desktop and more. Our Scopia Desktop solution makes conferencing possible in a way that no other solution in the market can. Which is probably the reason Stefan took the time to thrash it in his blog.
And the innovation doesn’t stop there. Just a few weeks ago RADVISION was awarded a patent based on our software architecture for large scale distributed multipoint conferencing. RADVISION’s investment in software is ongoing, and I can assure you that while our competitors, including Polycom, are much more “hardware-based” (their solution requires an external box even for point-to-point calls), there’s a lot to expect from RADVISION in the software conferencing domain in the upcoming months. I only wish I could say more.
Thou Shall Focus on What You ARE Doing
Unlike Stefan, I have deep respect to everyone in this industry, including partners and competitors. Yes, I respect Polycom. As I have originally written in the “10 Commandments” post, choosing a collaboration solution is a complicated task, one that relies mainly on needs and communication characteristics. Unlike my Polycom colleague, I can fully understand that people may choose a proprietary solution, like Vidyo, ooVoo or Dimdim. Unlike my Polycom colleague, I usually try and get the most out of understanding the competition, not disrespect them or put them down publicly and move on blissfully ignorant.
If I was to re-write my “10 Commandments” post, I would add an 11th commandment: “Thou shall not say what your competitor is NOT doing, thou shall focus on what you ARE”. There is plenty of room for evil ways in sales meetings and RFPs. In mailing lists such as Megaconference and in blogs like these, we should focus on what we CAN do, what we CAN change. Think positive and help change the world.