Juniper Video Conferencing Push With Vidyo Funding

Networking vendor Juniper is moving into video conferencing after investing in video startup Vidyo

Juniper Networks is to add video capabilities to its networking portfolio after making a funding investment in video conferencing company Vidyo.

Vidyo officials announced 22 May that Juniper, through its Junos Innovation Fund, was investing in the company, and that the plan is to integrate Vidyo’s video collaboration technology with Juniper’s product lineup.

Funding Deal

Juniper’s investment was announced as part of Vidyo’s Series D round of funding, though company officials did not say how much Juniper is investing.

Vidyo over the past few years has raised $97 million (£61m), and officials said in September that the company had raised $22.5 million (£14.2m) as part of its Series D round.

Cisco Systems and Polycom are the top vendors in a video conferencing market that analysts expect will continue to grow as businesses look for ways to improve employee productivity, enhance collaboration with workers, partners and customers, and reduce operating expenses, including travel costs. The increased mobility of the workforce is also driving the need for greater video capabilities across multiple devices, including laptops, smartphones and tablets. Analysts with market research firm IDC are predicting that the worldwide enterprise video conferencing market, which hit $2.7 billion (£1.7bn) last year, will grow to $3.2 billion (£2bn) in 2012.

The market also has become increasingly competitive, with Cisco and Polycom being pressed by smaller rivals looking to offer more cost-effective alternatives that provide the same performance capabilities.

In addition, networking and unified communications (UC) vendors also are looking to add video capabilities to their product lineups, either through in-house development, partnerships or acquisitions. For example, Avaya in March announced plans to buy Radvision, a video conferencing company that had fallen on hard times since partner Cisco bought rival Tandberg for $3.3 billion (£2bn) in 2010.

Alcatel-Lucent in July 2011 rolled out its own offering, the Visual Collaboration suite, a combination of home-grown technology and partnerships.

Juniper itself in 2010 announced a partnership with Polycom, but little appeared to come out of that alliance. Now, the networking company is turning to Vidyo.

Video Trend

“As the use of video in the enterprise and on end devices continues to expand, our customers are seeking new ways to improve video delivery,” Jeff Lipton, vice president of venture and strategic investments at Juniper, said in a statement. “Vidyo is an emerging player that is driving innovation in software-based video conferencing, and we believe its leading technology will improve the experience and economics of video communications alongside advances in networking technologies.”

Vidyo has seen significant growth over the past year. The 225-employee company in April announced 82 percent growth in billings over the previous year, which came at a time when both Cisco and Polycom saw disappointing first-quarter numbers for their video collaboration businesses. Vidyo officials said the company has more than 1,850 customers, not only in the enterprise, but also in health care, education and government.

The company offers a software-based solution that includes the VidyoRouter platform that brings video conferencing to multiple devices, including smartphones, tablets, PCs and telepresence systems. Vidyo introduced a virtualized version of VidyoRouter in March. Last year, the company unveiled Vidyo Panorama, which officials said brings high-quality video conferencing at a much lower cost than room-based systems from Cisco and Polycom.

“Juniper Networks’ strategic investment in Vidyo is a solid endorsement of our vision and a recognition of how rapidly the video conferencing market is expected to grow in the near future,” Vidyo founder and CEO Ofer Shapiro said in a statement. “We see Juniper as a kindred spirit, itself a pioneer in its industry, having revolutionised networking for over 16 years.”