A pain point for online video conferencing platforms is that many of them don’t integrate with each other. For example, a Skype user needs to engage with a fellow Skype user to start a multi-party video conversation. Today, the Blue Jeans Network is coming out of stealth as a video conferencing solution to integrate across many platforms. In conjunction with its public release, Blue Jeans is announcing that it has raised $23.5 million from Accel Partners, New Enterprise Associates, and Norwest Venture Partners.
The name for the company is definitely original for a video-conferencing startup, but the company says that the name is exactly how clients should feel when using their product. So, you know that comfortable, easy feeling you get when wearing your favorite pair of blue jeans? This company wants to provide that ease and comfort when initiating multi-party conference calls in the cloud.
Dubbed “any(ware) video conferencing,“ Blue Jeans Network bridges together conferencing technology from Cisco/Tandberg, Polycom, Lifesize with consumers platforms such as Skype and Google Talk. Remote workers, travellers and telecommuters with access to Skype and a video-enabled desktop or mobile device, can participate in video meetings with their colleagues on traditional enterprise video conferencing equipment.
Blue Jeans Network users each get a private “meeting room” in the Blue Jeans cloud that they can use to schedule, host, and manage meetings. Participants join meetings by simply dialing a number or clicking on a link from their systems, whether that be Skype or Tandberg.
The beauty of Blue Jeans is that there’s no new infrastructure to buy or software to download. All that is required is an Internet connection, an existing video-enabled device and people to meet with.
The service has been in beta testing since the beginning of 2011, and has seen considerable traction since mid-April. The service is being used by 500 companies an has held video conferences spanning a half a million minutes with over 15,000 participants in 1,000 cities in 100 countries.
Blue Jeans Network customers span a wide range of sizes, industries and geographies. Current customers include Facebook, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, Partners HealthCare, Heidrick and Struggles, Internet2 and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. The company also announced a partnership with Deutsche Telekom.
The ability to bridge the world of Google Talk and Skype with legacy systems like Polycom is a significant move forward in video conferencing technology. And Blue Jeans has not only invested time into integrating all of the platforms, but also money. For example, the company is licensing Skype’s technology for the integration (but is using Google’s open API).
As for cost, Blue Jeans charges companies similar to the way cell phone carriers charge us per minute. Packages range from $0.10 per minute to $0.25 per minute.