By Corey Moss

(Note: Be sure to read Reflections of a Trendsetter in the Current Realm of Vidoconferencing (Part 1 – Disruptive Innovation).

In what I consider to be a total acquisition yawner…

Enghouse Systems Acquires Vidyo, Inc.

Acquisition expands Enghouse Interactive product portfolio

I’ve certainly witnessed my share of acquisition stunners and eye openers – this isn’t either of those. Well, except for one thing – I saw the news, read it for a few seconds, gasped and said… $40 million?

Executive quotes:

“Vidyo’s suite of real-time video collaboration solutions extends our enterprise product offering into media and content and is complementary with Enghouse’s portfolio across all our business sectors,” said Steve Sadler, Chairman & CEO of Enghouse. “We are very pleased to welcome Vidyo’s customers, employees and partners to the Enghouse organization.”

“We’re excited to join Enghouse because of the great product fit and our shared vision” said Michael Patsalos-Fox, Chairman and CEO of Vidyo. “Enghouse gives us the opportunity to amplify our product innovation, service, and support making this a great transaction for Vidyo’s customers and partners.”

Enghouse Systems Limited is a leading global provider of enterprise software solutions serving a variety of vertical markets. Its strategy is to build a more diverse enterprise software company through strategic acquisitions and managed growth within its business sectors: Contact Center, Networks (OSS/BSS) and Transportation/Public Safety.

I have to wonder just how Vidyo fits in its current state into this overall equation for Enghouse, as Patsalos-Fox also considers this a great product fit and shared vision?

As many know, Vidyo’s main focus has been healthcare/telehealth and finance/video banking over the last several years. There is Vidyo for Government and Military, fine. If you look at Vidyo’s education section on the website, and especially the case studies – they link to Vidyo Telehealth for At-Home Care. Meaning education in certain respects is really targeting telehealth? I’m confused.

There’s something called visual troubleshooting (showing someone wearing Glass), and something called VidyoEngage for ServiceNow to deliver customer support. Then ‘Vidyo Enabled Drones’ with a paragraph description and no link — I’ll get to that soon.

Novel approaches

Now let’s start from the end of Part 1 as follows:

When (Ofer) Shapiro left the CEO role to become Vice Chairman of the Board in February 2015, pursuing other opportunities as well (he ultimately left as Vice Chairman in March of this year), Eran Westman, formerly EVP Global Business at Ceragon Networks (a wireless backhaul specialist company) took over as CEO.

And the company began to go in a new direction.

Eran Westman became CEO of Vidyo – he was previously an EVP at Ceragon Networks, a wireless backhaul specialist company. I’m honestly searching for the relevance to the CEO role at Vidyo, as Ofer Shapiro was formerly Senior VP Business Development at Radvision (a provider of video conferencing and telepresence technologies) prior to founding and becoming President and CEO at Vidyo. Westman describes himself as follows on LinkedIn:

Passionate CEO with over 20 years of business leadership developing and executing novel strategies that drive improved business results in challenging markets.

Let’s stop there.

Novel (adj) – definition:

1: new and not resembling something formerly known or used – new technologies are posing novel problems. 2: original or striking especially in conception or style – a novel scheme to collect money (Merriam Webster online).

I’ve always wondered about that term novel, as it applies to technology, as I’ve seen it used before. Here, I only imagine it means new approaches, actually taking Vidyo full into markets and adjacent technology development that others might not consider, or as heavily. For one, I remember attending the National Drone Show in Washington DC (co-located with the Government Video Expo) a few years ago and seeing Vidyo there with other AV industry manufacturers working with drone technology. No other videoconferencing company, just Vidyo. I’m guessing no other companies saw the wonders of drones and videoconferencing?

Here is the Vidyo and Stampede joint press release from InfocComm 2015 (novel – are we getting where this is going maybe…?).

Drones?

Kevin Kelly, President and COO at Stampede Presentation Products at the time (he is CEO now) stated in the press release: “Incorporating drone fed video and images into a video conferencing system represents the next great advance in the functional utility of the entire video conferencing platform.” 

Westman noted: “The VidyoWorksTM software platform affords the flexibility to integrate with off-the-shelf video-enabled devices like drones, medical telemetry equipment, and smart glasses, and connect quality video streams over wireless Internet connections with a diverse set of endpoints, from handheld mobile devices in the field to multiscreen situation rooms for command and control.

Off-the-shelf video-enabled devices like drones and medical telemetry equipment (and smart glasses nevertheless)? Just let that sink in.

Here’s a fun one from Vidyo in June 2015: Look Out, Drone Stampede! I’m not sure about the person responsible for writing this one, but it is a fun title no less.

Google attempted this too, and actually this one really has to take the cake: Working from home? Google has patented a drone for videoconferencinga telepresence system on a quadcopter drone could be much more agile for moving around the room, take up less space, consume less energy and provide an experience that’s more engaging overall than a ground-based robot.

They must have obviously been talking about this, another of my “favorites” – which could roll into one’s office totally unknowingly, and almost bumped into me in a booth (coming sideways at me) at InfoComm three years ago.

To this day though, I see no true representation at all of successful drone videoconferencing – can’t find anything on Vidyo except for what I mentioned, and this is what you’ll find at Stampede’s website when looking up drone vidoeconferencing. As for that Google indoor-flying telepresence meeting drone with smartphone dock that can be equipped with a screen or a projector for videoconferencing…

(From the article) It’s important to remember, though, that just because Google has patented something doesn’t mean it will ever become a product.

Right.

Still, for companies like Google, where people on the same team are working in different cities across the world, a novel, more collaborative, and less cumbersome video conferencing solution could be a welcome improvement.

Indoor office collaboration drones considered a novel, more collaborative, and less cumbersome video conferencing solution? You must be kidding.

The real disruptive calculation

As for that disruptive calculation in the title, it started with a full-on drive into the telehealth space, and in fact Vidyo started to put most of the cards into it. On top of that, in a not so related field – Vidyo and banking. Video banking that is. Did anyone consider that in other videoconferencing companies? Did anyone even see opportunity at all there?

The executive team handling telehealth was certainly top notch, but how does a company in the ultra competitive space of vidoconferencing and UC just slide aside other markets for the most part to zero in on one that has never been fully developed as a difference maker in the first place. Heck, doctors still videoconference with patients over Facetime – I know, alarming. But call this a high roller foray into true groundbreaking territory for Vidyo – somewhat risky to place so many eggs in, but potentially worth it if it all really clicks and comes to true fruition.

Yet, that’s where this story really began to start going sideways, as I was witness to this market calculation for the company, talking with execs, as well as doctors and other healthcare specialists. While I was highly intrigued with concepts and focal points for Vidyo people as well as doctors and specialists in conjunction – it never really seemed to make it to that real proving ground, for me at least. Others’ opinions may differ.

Looking at Solutions, Industries: Healthcare:

A Telehealth Platform That Grows With You

VidyoCloud provides the telehealth video conferencing capabilities you need today, and the ability to evolve with you into the future.

VidyoCloud has Enterprise-Grade Security, the platform meets the most stringent standards with TLS, SRTP, H.235, and AES 256-bit encryption. At the network level, their hosting facilities are SOC 2 and HIPAA compliant, and include the 24/7 protection needed to meet any regulatory requirement.

High level enterprise-grade security is always what you seek in such scenarios, yet Vidyo is not the only company which provides HIPAA compliant enterprise-grade security, and doctors still to this day talk with patients on Facetime and Skype. I know, alarming – and certainly a dart thrown at Vidyo’s telehealth concentration balloon. It carries the name Vidyo for Telehealth, though essentially you could use X-company for Telehealth at this point – whether you’re concerned with high level security or not (not my viewpoint, but still even high level business meetings are handled over Skype and Facetime, with questionable security results).

Click on Solutions, Industries: Financial and under Vidyo for Financial Services you’ll see –

FEATURED CUSTOMER

BluCurrent Credit Union

In 2016 I talked with members of Vidyo as well as someone from BluCurrent about the video banking proposition. The conversation was honestly both splintered and confusing. Enlightening as an approach, but an idea which was not gelling very well. Three years later, they are still the featured customer, which tells me that they have taken the relationship great steps beyond the original design, or, possibly, video banking (Vidyo Banking) has pretty much gone nowhere.

Could that really be true though, with so many eggs thrown into the basket?

Finally, here…

For a true industry trendsetter who came to InfoComm in 2010, before all the others in the new cloud/software infrastructure space, gaining traction to go along with standard-bearers Cisco (where most of these other new companies’ execs came from) and Polycom, both still hardware-centric at the time – to be acquired for a measly $40 million, one doesn’t really strain to give that last question much thought.

The profile of current CEO Michael Patsalos-Fox :

Michael Patsalos-Fox is Chairman, President & CEO of Vidyo. Michael is formerly CEO of Stroz Friedberg, a trusted cybersecurity and specialized risk management firm, acquired by Aon Risk Solutions in 2016. Prior to Stroz Friedberg, Michael enjoyed a long career at McKinsey & Company where he served as chairman of McKinsey Americas. Michael also served as senior partner on McKinsey’s operating committee for nine years and held a seat on the board for 12 years.

Cybersecurity and specialized risk management…

Part 3 – Disruptive Disruption (the closer), coming soon.

(Note: Header image via Pixabay).

With over 20 years in audio visual integration and IT/computer sales and consulting, Corey Moss is the owner of Convergent AV Media. Corey writes for the publication and hosts/produces podcasts – The AV Life, Convergent Tech Talk, Convergent Week and The AV Tech Trade. He has written for numerous industry publications about AV, IT, unified communications and collaboration (UCC), cloud and software, IoT, cybersecurity and more. He has also conducted interviews with AV and IT executives and global influencers. Find him talking about a whole lot of things, tech and otherwise. On LinkedInhttps://www.linkedin.com/in/mosscorey/.