Comms Business Magazine talks to Dave Gwilt and Alex Nancekievill, Co-founders of BlinkPipe, about what is driving their market and how they are setting about helping channel partners open up new markets for video conferencing.
Comms Business Magazine (CBM): What have been your key growth areas during the past year and what are your growth expectations for the coming 12 months?
BlinkPipe (BP): We have seen tremendous growth this year in the UK SME market for our accessible, simple and reliable meeting room video conferencing systems. We expect this to accelerate in the coming 12 months as we take BlinkPipe into international markets and complete our strategic pivot from direct selling to selling solely through the distribution and reseller channel.
CBM: What are the three main market trends and emerging markets that are influencing your go-to-market strategy this year?
BP: We have been influenced by the growing mobilisation of the workforce, and the need for businesses to equip its distributed teams with the tools to collaborate effectively. Furthermore, increasing consumerisation of IT, coupled with BYOD, is leading to staff placing high expectations on their employers as to what communication capabilities should be available to them in the office. Finally, we are seeing a growing trend in the channel, especially a focus of senior management, to find products with recurring margin to stabilise income.
Looking to emerging markets, BlinkPipe has observed with interest how the sub-£2k video conferencing room system segment has developed over the past 12 months, driven from the US with souped-up webcam products from Google and TelyHD.
CBM: How do these market drivers translate into your near/mid-term channel strategy?
BP: Founded in 2010, BlinkPipe saw the opportunity for SME video conferencing, and is excited with the market validation coming from the US. Having a proven product with unique telephone compatibility, BlinkPipe’s near-term strategy is to push hard into SMEs in the UK through the trusted IT and telecoms reseller channel, in conjunction with experienced distribution partners.
Product strategy has led to the recent introduction of BlinkPipe Hub for multi-way video conferences, along with PC/Mac browser interoperability that includes screen sharing. BlinkPipe Hub addresses the needs of the increasingly mobile workforce.
BlinkPipe understands that the mixture of up-front plus recurring margin is a great business fit for this channel and has designed the most accessible reseller accreditation scheme in enterprise video conferencing to allow the large number of UK IT and telecoms resellers to participate in this exciting market.
CBM: What strategic channel moves will you be making in the coming year in terms of attacking existing markets with new products/services and addressing new markets with new products/services?
BP: To date, video conferencing room systems have been the exclusive domain of wealthy companies, and are supplied by specialist resellers who pay vendors handsomely for the privilege. BlinkPipe is attacking this room system market by massively lowering both the accreditation and product complexity barriers. This brings enterprise room system quality to SME pockets in the ‘sub-£2k meeting room’ category, through their existing business relationships with telecoms and IT resellers.
CBM: What do you see as the biggest challenges/opportunities in the UK ICT channel and how will you maximise the opportunity and address the challenges as they relate to you?
BP: We see the biggest opportunity for telecoms & IT reseller channels to broaden their product ranges with a compelling offering in video. BlinkPipe can help these resellers fulfil the unmet need in their installed SME customer base for reliable, accessible business video which allows their distributed teams to collaborate effectively from meeting rooms. BlinkPipe is maximising this opportunity with strategic contracts in the UK; working closely with leading telecoms distribution specialist, Nimans, and one of Europe’s largest and fastest growing technology distribution specialists, Exertis Micro-P.
With video as a new product category for many telecoms and IT resellers, and with the large number of firms showing early interest, the challenge that presents itself is quickly getting new BlinkPipe resellers active and successful in the market quick enough to meet the demand of existing customers. We have addressed this right from the get-go, with a product designed for low-touch sales and easy installation. Our value proposition is incredibly simple, and sales training is straightforward for teams already comfortable with telephones or SOHO IT equipment. BlinkPipe is proud to be able to get a typical reseller through accreditation with one-day sales and installation training included with a demonstration room system for less than £600.