Newly merged integrator Vantage-GVT has signed on US-based video conferencing technology vendor First Virtual Communications (FVT) which claims to have developed an application that will spur PC and network sales in the channel.
FVT was founded by former Intel staffer Ralph Ungerman, who is also attributed with developing the Ethernet router, Ethernet chipset, Token Ring chipset and intelligent hub.
Vantage and Global Videoconferencing Technologies (GVT) are two integrators that officially merged little over a week ago. The combined entity has been given exclusive rights to market FVT's "Click to Meet" product in Australia.
"Click to Meet" is an integrated conferencing solution that encompasses video, audio and Web collaboration functions such as text chat and document sharing, onto one integrated platform available on any PC attached to an IP network.
FVC sells the server-based technology through select channel partners around the world, who in turn on-sell it to large telecommunications carriers, service providers and enterprises. The client-side software required for the technology is provided free as a download.
FVC executive chairman Ungerman believes that rich media Web conferencing as an additional option for their customers is a compelling value add for large telcos and service providers that offer "managed services". He said that the most obvious application for such "rich media" Web-based conferencing is online learning.
The technology is far from commoditised and is affordable to the majority of the channel. Starting at around $40,000 for a 10-seat licence, the technology also requires that both the host and end users have broadband connections to the Internet. Existing international customers include carriers such as AT&T, NTT and British Telecom -- Ungerman said he is keen to add Telstra or Optus to that list.
Ungerman said there are no plans at present to appoint any channel partners other than Vantage-GVT, but added the company generally looks for companies with experience in audio and video conferencing, and those that have the ability to integrate technology for their customers.
He said the real opportunity lies in the demand that such powerful technology creates in the market. Customers implementing conferencing technology generally look to upgrade their networks and PCs, providing ample opportunities for integrators and resellers.
Dion Weisler, chief operating officer of Vantage-GVT, said at present his company was the only authorised FVC reseller in Australia but may look into providing the rest of the channel with the product at a later date.