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For basketball fans watching tonight’s 2009 NBA Draft live
on television to see which team gets Blake Griffin, there’s no tolerance for
lost video signals, dropped video or audio or anything else going wrong with
the broadcast.

For the fifth year in a row, video conferencing managed service provider
Glowpoint service will be making sure that all the audio and video signals are
delivered perfectly for the live broadcast on ESPN. The Hillside,
N.J.-based company also provides the same service during the NFL draft, says
Jonathan Brust, vice president of marketing at Glowpoint.

This year’s coverage will include live audio/video feeds from 15 team
headquarters, plus video (but no audio) feeds from three “war rooms” where the
decisions are being made.  

“We put significant resources into managing these events, and there is no
tolerance whatsoever with something going wrong on live TV with a sporting
event,” Brust tells Channel Insider. “The nice thing is that the fact that
we’ve been selected for the fifth year shows that we are delivering on that
requirement.”

By using video conferencing instead of the satellite feeds of the past, the NFL
and NBA save significantly on costs and get a more reliable network. The
network can broadcast a split screen with an NBA analyst on one screen talking
to a player on another screen.

“It’s a very effective way of getting content on TV without using satellite
transmissions,” says Brust.

And while the NFL and NBA may be some of Glowpoint’s more high profile customers,
this decade-old video managed services company has been providing video
conferencing services to plenty of large enterprises over the years.

Glowpoint doesn’t sell video equipment or provide systems integration services
for video equipment and services. Rather, Glowpoint provides the high-quality
network for video conferencing traffic, plus the smart managed services on top
of that network. It also offers a white-label version of its video managed
services offering that video systems integrators can offer, in turn, to their
end customers.

Glowpoint’s offerings include a dedicated video access line to the end
customer’s premises; a video network operation center (VNOC) service; smart
services such as video call scheduling, monitoring, bridging services, a
help desk and other services; and the Teleservice Exchange Network, or TEN—a
clearinghouse of switching services that allows any video user to place a video
call to any other video user, regardless of the equipment he or she is using
and the network he or she is using. Placing a video call to another
company that uses different equipment used to present all kinds of integration
problems before the establishment of TEN,
says Brust.

And with recent recession-driven cutbacks in corporate travel, the use of video
conferencing is on the rise, both among Glowpoint customers and among Glowpoint
prospects.

“I cannot recall a time in the history of the industry where there’s been so
much activity in terms of large organizations putting out RFPs,” says Brust.
“We certainly see an uptick in the amount of interest for the service.”

Also, “we are absolutely seeing an increase in traffic from existing
customers,” he adds. “I’d say the only area where we are seeing some pullback
is from some of the smaller firms. For example, we did business with some law
firms that went out of business.”

Brust believes that it’s not just the recession that’s driving the interest.
It’s also coming from big players such as Cisco jumping into the game with its Telepresence
offering and promoting the benefits of video conferencing.

“The video space is pretty hot right now, and Telepresence is hot,” he says.