Leveraging APIs in the Cloud to Make Video Conferencing Truly Ubiquitous

Michael Vizard
Sep. 18 2012, 08:00AM EDT

Video conferencing is one of those killer applications that a lot of people get initially excited about, but wind up seldom using. The reason for this ranges from everything from a lack of interoperability standards to the fact that setting up an appointment to walking down the hall to a another room to use a video conferencing system is more trouble than it’s worth, especially when the setting up of that video conferencing session usually requires an administrator or someone from IT to actually set up.

Fortunately, these issues may soon be little more than a bad memory if Blue Jean Networks, a provider of set of video conferencing service that is interoperable with video conferencing products from every major vendor on the market, has its way. At the Dreamforce 2012 conference hosted this week by Salesforce.com, Blue Jean Networks is showing how it leveraged the company’s APIs to embed video conferencing directly inside the Salesforce customer relationship management (CRM) application in the cloud.

According to Stu Aaron, chief commercial officer for Blue Jean Networks, the Salesforce.com integration is on the first of many application level integration projects the company is planning. By embedding video conferencing within the application, the video conferencing capability is now only one click away from the topic that needs to be discussed in the application. That should not only increase usage of video conferencing, says Aaron, it will significantly increase productivity. In effect, Blue Jean Networks is providing the equivalent of a “video dial tone” within the application because it doesn’t require any of the parties in the conference to have the same video conferencing software installed.

That level of interoperability can only be provided via the cloud; where Aaron notes that Blue Jean Network has the accumulated the skills and resources needed to integrate video conferencing software and associated network protocols in a way that overcomes network latency issues.

More importantly, users of Salesforce.com will take it upon themselves to not only use the Blue Jean Networks service to see and talk to each other, but also rely on it to make calls to customers regardless of what video conferencing system they have installed.

But perhaps best of all, none of it requires any intervention from the IT department. The Blue Jean Network service shows up as a button within the Salesforce.com application. Aaron declined to say what other applications might be next up for integration with the Blue Jeans Networks service. But given the fact that Blue Jean Networks allows users to initiate a video conference within the context of the applicationthey are running at any given moment, chances are that interest across multiple spectrums of application vendors will be high.

Michael Vizard