There's room for more than just Skype and Google in video conferencing

By Carmel DeAmicis , written on November 13, 2013

From The News Desk

When Blue Jeans announced its $50 million Series D a month ago, it solidified to the world that the video conferencing sector was heating up. Turns out, there's room for more than just Skype and Google Hangouts on the market. Companies wanted a better option than hefty hardware from Cisco and Polycom, and they were willing to pay up to $99 a head per month for it.

Blue Jeans is a cloud based video conference calling startup. It's known for outrageous marketing maneuvers, like its Marissa Mayer shoutout billboard or its prank commercial for the fake Roominator product. From its company name to its unconventional ads, Blue Jeans is trying to inject a little life into the otherwise boring world of business video.

Today Blue Jeans announced that it had teamed up with InterCall, to allow companies that use InterCall to integrate the system with Blue Jeans. What does that mean? Basically someone can audio call into a Blue Jeans video conference using their phone. So even if you're on the go, you can still take part in the discussion.

Blue Jeans also introduced its Android app this week and announced it was opening an office in the UK. World domination step one.

Investors were basically throwing money at Blue Jeans by its Series D. Why? Well the time for video was nigh. And by nigh I mean now.

Just like the social video app space has picked up, so has video conferencing. Israeli startup Rounds has quietly garnered eight million users through its games based video conferencing application. In October, startup Net Power and Light launched Spin, a new consumer video conferencing app that lets callers watch videos and look at pictures in unison.

Blue Jeans raised its Series D for its enterprise offering, bringing its total funding up to almost $100 million. Google Hangouts started monetizing with Helpouts, charging service professionals and brand builders a commission off their video conference teaching businesses.

We're in the video conferencing 2.0 era, and companies are starting to innovate on the original Skype/Cisco products.

A few factors have converged at the same time to make video conferencing rise in popularity. For one thing, most computers and smartphones are now built with high resolution two-way cameras. For another, Internet connections have improved the video transmission process -- although it may not seem that way when your Skype call drops for the millionth time.

Lastly and most importantly, the YouTube generation raised on video is growing up. They're very comfortable with video consumption and creation. Many of them are armed with smart phones, and communicating through video is second nature to them.

"Those three trend lines come together and something great happens," Blue Jeans CEO Krish Ramakrishnan says. "That's why you see an explosion of video not only on the streaming side but also on the interactive side."