Comstor launches video-as-a-service offering

Barat Dickman, vice president and general manager of unified communications and collaboration at Westcon-Comstor.

Barat Dickman, vice president and general manager of unified communications and collaboration at Westcon-Comstor.

Westcon’s Comstor group has launched its first video-as-a-service (VaaS) product, offering solution providers an easier path to offering cloud-based video and collaboration to a variety of clients.

GoldSeal VaaS is based on Polycom technology, delivered by the distributor under the brand (GoldSeal) it’s long used for a variety of services in the UC sphere, said Barat Dickman, vice president and general manager of unified communications and collaboration at Westcon-Comstor.

“We feel the combination of the brand power of Polycom and their history in this market, with Westcon’s breadth of partners, and the GoldSeal brand and support service is a winning combination,” Dickman said of the new offering.

The VaaS offering offers solution providers and easy-to-provision (generally up and running same day as its ordered) video solution that includes presence, mobile, support for Lync and its successor Skype for Business.

“What we’re seeing and where we see the opportunity is for those customers who are testing the market in video,” said Jeffrey Kastroll, director of technical services at Westcon-Comstor. “They don’t want to make the investment yet, but they want to dip their toe, and get that experience without buying the infrastructure.”

The primary target is, of course, the customer that hasn’t jumped into video in a big way to date, as it’s a much smoother path to offering video across a customer’s environment that building out an on-prem infrastructure. But part of the attraction of the solution, Dickman said, is that it does play nicely with an on-premise Polycom environment, meaning that it can be used to add additional capacity to an existing environment and extend it, for example, to branch offices where the solution is not today supported. And in some cases, Dickman suggested, businesses might see a compelling enough case in savings from running the cloud service versus maintaining their own video/UC environment to change altogether.

“Polycom has a tremendous install base in the on-prem world, and the market isn’t going to flip overnight,” he said. “This is a nice way for companies to start the migration.”

Because it’s maintained by the distributor, solution providers don’t necessarily have to have a background in video to be successful with GoldSeal, said Kastroll. The technical skills aren’t required, but solution providers selling the technology do have to understand and know how to position the value of video in a customers’ business. Additional services, including training for users to help ensure the solution is fully used, are available either from the solution provider themselves, or white-labelled through the GoldSeal services team.

GoldSeal VaaS is available now to the company’s solution provider customers in Canada and the U.S., and will likely expand to other regions in the future, although Dickman said no future launches are currently set. The distributor’s relationship with vendor partner Polycom, though, is a global one, so some sort of expansion is likely.

Dickman said the likely next step for GoldSeal is getting the VaaS offering up and running in Comstor’s Blue Sky cloud services portal, a move that will let solution providers add VaaS to a variety of other cloud services and gives them a single interface for management, provisioning, and billing those services to customers. Because it’s a cloud platform from Polycom, future functionality enhancements will largely depend on Polycom’s plans and roadmap, Dickman said.