Blue Jeans Expand Video Conferencing Solution

Users of the cloud-based service can now host up to 100 participants in a single meeting, and can record the conference.

Blue Jeans Network is increasing the number of people who can participate in one of its cloud-based video conferences, and also is introducing new capabilities to record and share those meetings.

Company officials announced May 14 that with Blue Jeans Release version 2.6, customers can now host meetings with as many as 100 participants, a significant jump over the previous limit of 25 people. Every participant can take part in the meeting through the audio and video, and up to the nine most recent speakers are seen on the screen, according to the vendor.

To help manage meetings with that many participants, Blue Jeans also has enhanced the audio and moderator controls for the video conferences. Among the improvements is an auto-mute feature, which ensures that anyone joining a meeting is automatically put on mute initially so that they can't disrupt the conference.

"When you have an important meeting, the ability to record it, re-watch it after the fact, and share it with others is crucial," Jeff Beckham, product marketing manager at Blue Jeans, said in a post on the company blog. "Our recording feature is fully cloud-based so that you can access your recordings from anywhere, play them within your browser, and share them through a link."

The company has posted a video to show how the recording feature works.

Blue Jeans is one of a growing number of companies that are looking to the cloud as the platform for video conferencing. With more employees working remotely or on the road, and the use of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets for work on the rise—thanks to such trends as bring-your-own-device (BYOD)—employees are demanding the ability to participate in video conferences from anywhere at any time and on any device.

Video continues to be a priority for executives, who are looking to improve employee productivity but can't afford the expensive traditional room-based systems from the likes of Cisco Systems and Polycom (both of whom are aggressively building out their own cloud and software video conferencing portfolios). That can be seen in analyst reports about the video conferencing space. IDC analysts have said that worldwide sales of video conferencing equipment have declined over the past couple of years as businesses turn their attention to software- and cloud-based solutions.

"IDC believes that among the challenges customers are currently trying to work through are a market transition and determining exactly when and how to provision their video deployments as more software-centric and cloud-based service offerings become part of the enterprise video market landscape," Petr Jirovsky, research manager for IDC's Worldwide Networking Trackers, said in February.

There also is a "fundamental shift happening in the marketplace" as businesses look for a single solution for all of their collaboration needs, according to Stu Aaron, chief commercial officer at Blue Jeans.

"Businesses are clamoring for an easy way to connect and collaborate over audio and video, and share multi-media content across all their platforms from mobile devices, to desktops and laptops, to conference rooms," Aaron said in a statement. "The legacy presentation-centric Web conferencing tools just aren't cutting it any more as people are developing a preference for face-to-face, video-centric collaboration. … With our new recording and large meetings capabilities, we've made the all-in-one experience even better for our customers."

The results from a recent Blue Jeans survey of 400 business decision-makers back up the claim, according to company officials. Eighty-five percent of survey respondents said they want a single, unified service for all remote and online meetings—instead of separate tools for video, audio and Web conferencing—and 98 percent said they would record certain meetings if given the option.