VoIPon interview Nigel Roberts from AVer Information Europe a leading developer and manufacturer of award-winning and market-leading HDIP Video Conferencing solutions.

Kathleen Reed discuses where AVer IP  Video Conferencing Systems are best used in the market and the benefits of purchasing an Aver VoIP Video Conferencing system such as the Aver H300 HD Video Conferencing System, AVer HVC130 HD Video Conference System and AVer HVC330 HD Video Conferencing System over other solutions from LifeSize, Polycom or Tandberg.

Listen to the Podcast and see the interview transcript below.

[VoIPon] Today, we’re excited to have Nigel Roberts from AVer Information Europe joining us.  AVer is a leading developer and manufacturer of award-winning and market-leading HD video conferencing solutions, surveillance DVR systems, visualizers, and interactive pens that enhance communication, security and presentation.  We’re excited to learn more about their products, so let’s get started. 

So, Nigel, why don’t you give us a little more background on AVer IP Video Conferencing and why should VoIPon’s customers should trust in your products?

[Nigel Roberts, AVer] Okay, right, will do Kathleen. Right, to give you some brief history of the company.  AVer Information, they’re a major company in education, ICT products and surveillance market.  The company was formed in January 2008.  It focuses on the branding and design, research development, manufacturing and global marketing of a range of AVer products to over 100 countries around the world.  Now, the products we sell really go to two or three different main business units; one building the presentation and education market that includes products such as Arrow, the vision line of visualizers – which, in some parts of the world is known as document cameras.  We also sell in markets of surveillance systems and video conferencing systems, which I guess is the one that you’re going to be most interested in today. 

We pride ourselves on developing cutting-edge products; and really, the key to our products is that it’s simple and innovative.  So difficult to get right but I think we do a very good job in it.  Our headquarters is based in Taipei City in Taiwan, but we’re a worldwide company as I’ve said.  In our head office, we employ nearly 660 staff.  Majority of those staff there, over 35%, are actually R&D staff, so you can see how research and development is very, very important to us.  We have 16 international offices, plus local offices around the world – it serves the US, Brazil, Mexico, Netherlands, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Turkey, China, Japan, and many more countries besides. 

[VoIPon]  Okay.  So in regards to Video Conferencing, can you give VoIPon listeners, a list of the most popular applications where AVer is used?

Okay.  We’ve been working in video conferencing now for (coming up to) two years, so we’re a comparatively new company in the market.  However, we took a very open view on it: “What parts of the market are not currently served adequately with a good quality, low-cost and simple to operate system?”  As I say, our background is in education products, so the first area we’ve looked at was education.  We realized that we could easily connect schools in different countries… It’s like you’re finding out more about the culture, share education, supporting needs – and that has been a very big success to us.  But, in terms of business, we often have customers which have these sort of business practices and even blue lights (the police, the fire brigade, ambulances, that’s using our systems). 

In terms of the solicitor’s practice, we have a good application here in the UK, where this solicitor’s practice has many offices scattered around a certain location within the UK and their staff are constantly driving to and from other delivery of documents or going to face-to-face meetings with their clients.

By connecting via video conferencing rather than the traditional route of driving to and from the locations, it saves them not only in time and also in costs, but also, saving that very valuable green dollars as well.  Another good advantage being is it’s a far more personal service as well. 

With the police force, we’ve recently done an installation in a police station – again, this is a big county with lots of distance possibly to travel between locations.  So if a policeman is asked go to attend a training session, the journey takes near 2 hours.  By connecting via video conferencing, that journey could be shortened considerably.  He can do it all from home or his home office.  And on top of that, they’re not taken away from their important front line duties.  So it’s very, really important.  Again, it’s saving costs but in this particular application, it’s also making their time used far more efficiently. 

[VoIPon]  Okay.  Fantastic.  So why choose an AVer conferencing solution against a set solution from LifeSize, Polycom or Tandberg?

[Nigel Roberts, AVer]  Well, there’s three things that really come out with our products and that’s the price, the features, and the warranty.  Our range of client is small in comparison and we don’t have the years of experience than the big three companies.  However, our products are very reliable and easy to use.  The main difference is an incredibly good value for money.  When we’ve started developing these products, we looked at the market and thought – the solution is to have an all-in-one approach.  So often you look at video conferencing, it’s very easy to get confused as what you need to buy to make the system work.  With our product, everything comes in one box.  There’s no costly add-ons or upgrades – just things you need to begin with video conferencing at an affordable price. 

In fact, the ownership of these systems is so cost-effective you can own one, probably for the same price as if you took a round-trip business class ticket from London to New York.  So very, very quickly, they start to pay for themselves.  On top of that, our warrantee (which is three years) comes as standard with the product.  And it also has free firmware upgrades as well, just by simply logging on to our website… So there is no need to worry about high maintenance costs, with is often associated with video conferencing installations.

[VoIPon]  Okay.  Excellent.  You’ve mentioned it was easy to use.  What level of knowledge is required for setup?  Is this something an end-user can do themselves?  Or is this something that a solution provider or a reseller would generally be involved in?

[Nigel Roberts, AVer]  We’d always say that the installation part is actually quite simple and straightforward, because each product comes with a very, very easy to follow instruction guide.  But, if there any issues (in our experience often, it is to do with a customer’s connection)  

So it might help to have some basic knowledge – how to open up ports and firewalls, etcetera, on the customer system.  What we would always recommend is that the system has its own dedicated Internet connection for ultimate performance.  Traditional video conferencing systems installations can be time consuming, because of the need to bring in professional installers as you quite rightly said. However, we believe our system has been cleverly thoughtfully and engineered, so you can have it up and running, with only the most basic know-how and networking skills.

 [VoIPon]  Excellent.  So what’s next on AVer video conferencing’s roadmap?  Where do you see the market headed?

[Nigel Roberts, AVer] Well, that’s a very difficult question to answer.  I guess if I had a crystal ball in front of me, probably the next stage is getting the more effective integration with other existing systems out there.  For instance, Skype, MSN and similar packages where home workers can interact with video conferencing systems without the big expense of them buying their own system.  Connection in remote workers I think is very, very important.  It allows them to join meetings, presentations, product launches or just communicating about office stuff without the need to travel.  So therefore, it’s saving time and cost again.  Ultimately though, again with my crystal ball in front of me, I can see it’s possible that we have to develop a whole application for video conferencing products.  We’re all have been using the traditional system at home on the webcam on a laptop.  You may be able to communicate more effectively with a higher quality image, which the traditional video conferencing system gives you.  We’d say that’s something, maybe for the future in a crystal ball – not necessarily something that we’re developing, but when you see the speed and the developing market, you can see that in a few years time, that could easily be possible.

[VoIPon]  Well excellent, that’s been very informative, Nigel.  I really want to thank you for your time today.  Nigel Roberts is the Marketing Manager for AVer Information Europe.  This has been a VoIP Uncovered podcast, brought to you by VoIPon Solutions.  For more information, please visit www.voipon.co.uk.