ARN: How did you get started?
Weston: A number of the staff are ex-PictureTel employees and we started the company as a specialist videoconferencing business, rather than as an IT company which does videoconferencing as well. Visual collaboration is a niche market and we started the company to cater to this. We saw an opportunity in the market and jumped into it.
What products and services do you offer?
Basically, we offer an integrated applications solution. We show people how to use the equipment in their industry - for example, in health we might show a doctor how to use it with their patients. We also supply the equipment - the hardware and software to drive the video compression technology. In addition, we provide the services. We rent out the equipment and have offices in every state where people can use the equipment. Under the new PictureTel structure we are also a distributor, so we support other resellers too.
What particular requirements do your customers have?
Our traditional customer base is probably the top 500 companies in Australia - it's the companies that have multiple offices around Australia that need this equipment, or those who have multiple locations in rural areas. Generally, their specific requirements are to conduct meetings and to be able to conduct their business without having to get on a plane or in a car. Most people think about videoconferencing as saving the cost of travel. But what it really does is save the time from travelling. Where we're going with the reseller market is into the next 500 companies with the lower-end equipment, because now it's being used inter-company and really, that's the 'brave new world'.
How do you differentiate yourself from the competition?
It is very simple - it's all we do. This is not easy stuff to use, so what we do is show people how to use it. It's not how to place a call, it's how to conduct business - how to talk to a patient or a student. We also provide everything - we're a one-stop shop. We were also PictureTel's largest reseller in the Australian and New Zealand market last year.
What is your vision for the future?
The two areas that we're moving into now are really video on the Web and video security. It basically opens up universal access. The Web, if you like, will become the equivalent of the telephone, and that's the emerging market now. We are working with network providers, the existing and emerging telcos, to provide applications based on videostreaming and videoconferencing across the Internet and that really makes business-to-business communication possible. With video security, for example, if you're a doctor talking to a patient, you need it to be completely secure. So we're moving into video-encryption services. Once you go on to the Web you have to have high security because you're working with a public network.
What areas of technology are you keeping an eye on?
High-speed Web access because we need that - the plain old telephone system doesn't provide sufficient bandwidth for industrial strength applications. It's what you call video-over-IP and we see that exploding.
How do you think the business
environment for channel companies like yourselves has changed?
In our particular case we've had the vendor come in and have a very direct and dominating presence and as we've come up to speed and the channel has developed, they've passed more responsibility on to resellers. profile Global Videoconferencing Technologies Head office: Melbourne Established: 1999 Staff: 40 Turnover: About $10 million annually Growth: 50 per cent Services: Videoconferencing integrationhttp://www.gvt.com.au