A major trend in the late 1990’s was the emergence of enterprise grade Customer Relationship Management offerings that not only required IT support but also significant investments in server hardware and business process engineering. However, 1999 saw the launch of a different scenario for CRM, namely a hosted service, Salesforce.com, where even the smallest business could sign up and pay under $100 per user per month with no capital investment required. Today over 35,500 companies have implemented this hosted solution and Salesforce.com is regarded as the pioneer of the “No Software” movement. One could also point out they were the pioneer in the “No Hardware” movement.
Today we are seeing the emergence of several “No Hardware” hosted services including:
- OnState ACD: removing the need for Call Center PBX’s
- Convenos Meeting Center: a virtual boardroom for ongoing enterprise team building
- OnSIP hosted PBX: providing a hosted full service PBX for turning any SIP-based connection into an extension.
Of course common to all these platforms is that the users can also be geographically disbursed worldwide, contributing to the “Green” movement by reducing the need for business travel. And common to all these is that they bring what were previously perceived as large enterprise solutions to the small to medium business market space with a sub-$100 per user monthly subscription cost.
Lost in the buzz of Fall VON two weeks ago was the recent launch of another “No Hardware” service, SightSpeed Business, providing a range of video-based services for the small to medium enterprise. What previously required minimum six figure investments has been replaced by a service that costs under $20 per month per seat with no capital investment beyond user PC’s.
SightSpeed has always had a reputation for high quality video services including video calling, (up to four party) video conferencing and video messaging (or video mail). Building on SightSpeed’s informal adoption by over 30,000 small businesses, Sight Speed Business consolidates its video services for small business by introducing:
- An Administration console for central management of users, including internal directory services as well as coordination of purchasing SightSpeed
- Multi-user licensing
- Full video session recording
- In-call file sharing
The key new software piece here is the Administration Console providing the a business of any size a tool to easily and readily take control of how it deploys, manages and purchases SightSpeed’s video services. All the features of the previously available SightSpeed 6.0, including its Windows/Mac cross platform capability, are included.
- Operating System: Windows 2000/XP/Vista; Mac OS X 10.3.9 or higher
- Video Services: Video Calling (one-to-one), Video Conferencing (up to four participants), Video Messaging (create a video and email it)
- Voice Services: Unlimited (VoIP-based) PC-to-PC calling; Outbound calling to PSTN; Inbound calling via 800 number or local phone number.
- Other features include: In-call file sharing, session recording, unlimited text messaging
- Single seat: $19.95 per month; $189.95 per year; 5-, 10- and 50-User Packs
- Free 30 day trial
- Includes 500 minutes of Outbound U.S. or Canada calling
SightSpeed has developed a customer base associated with their video messaging strengths. Having found a market niche in the SMB space, SightSpeed Business opens up new video communications (and productivity) opportunities for this market segment; it provides the tools for easy implementation across the business’s operating space with no capital expenditure. The challenge for small business is to determine where video communications can be incorporated into their ongoing business processes.
With Skype’s expanding video capabilities and the increasing general awareness of video overall as a real time conversations tool, we should be seeing additional interesting video-based services going into 2008.
Tags: SightSpeed, SightSpeed Business, video services, video calling, video messaging, video conferencing
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