A US video conferencing company called Blue Jeans is expanding its operations to the UK in a bid to capitalise on the remote working trend.
The two-year-old Californian firm is using a chunk of the $100 million investment it has raised so far to open a new London office at a currently unknown location and take on several new staff.
“We found that the UK had quietly become the second largest market for us [behind the US] with about 700 companies in the UK using the service for 10 million minutes a year,” the company’s chief commercial officer, Stu Aaron, told Techworld ahead of the firm’s official UK launch today.
UK customers to date include organisations such as Newcastle University; Forum for the Future, a sustainability focused non-profit; and Pole Star, a provider of fleet management, ship security, and fisheries monitoring systems to the maritime industry.
Blue Jeans' cloud-based teleconferencing service can be used for video meetings and content sharing across conference rooms, desktops and mobile devices. The platform enables employees using enterprise class solutions, such as those offered by Cisco and Polycom, to talk to those using more consumer-orientated services, such as Skype or Google Hangout.
Blue Jeans has hired James Campanini, a former Cisco and WebEx executive, as VP/GM EMEA to manage the sales push in the region.
“The time is right as the UK workplace is evolving and trends like BYOD and home or remote working are becoming commonplace, particularly for people tired of rail and motorway commuting,” said Campanini.
“The global nature of business means you can be dealing with people in Japan in the morning and California in the evening. Blue Jeans aims to help break down barriers created by geography, time zones and travel costs, and enable meaningful, productive and efficient face-to-face meetings without a hefty price tag.”
Campanini revealed that Blue Jeans would not necessarily open an office near Silicon Roundabout in East London - an area where hundreds of tech start-ups have clustered over the past few years.
The company has also added two channel partners to distribute Blue Jeans to customers throughout the UK and EMEA. The partnerships are with InterCall, one of the world’s largest audio and conferencing service providers, and Imago Group Plc, one of Europe’s largest virtual video solutions companies.
Blue Jeans grew its global subscriber base by 30 percent last month, from 100 million users in September to 130 million today. It now has roughly 3,000 paying business customers, including big names such as Facebook.
"It runs from shops with a handful of users doing a 100 minutes a month to Fortune 50 companies where we may have 10,000 customers doing half a million minutes a month," said Aaron.
Facebook began by taking out just two user licences but today over 3,000 Facebook employees (more than half of the social media giant’s workforce) are using Blue Jeans to talk to other employees in the company as well the Facebook’s business partners and advertisers.
Blue Jeans is sold to customers through a number of different pricing models, but for a small scale deployment it costs roughly $100 (£63) per user per month. Campanini said this price can come down to "pennies per minute" when larger site deployments are made.