The IT channel is capable of selling videoconferencing, suppliers insisted last week in response to claims that VARs were not ready to sell the technology.
Distributor Midwich blamed the "inability of IT resellers" to sell videoconferencing for the loss of its contract to distribute Sony videoconferencing equipment. Sony decided that the range should be handled by rival distributors Imago and Review Video.
Tony Hayworth, European marketing director at vendor Polycom, said changes in videoconferencing technology are making it more suitable for selling through the IT channel.
"The time is right for IT VARs. It's now not an AV [audiovisual] solution. Customers want solutions that work on a network," he said.
Eric Bruins, director of European mobile media sales at Infonet, which has been selling videoconferencing since March, said video technology was joining the converging voice and data industries.
"Most of our customers already use our data services. Video will service an extra £20,000 to £50,000 per customer, depending on the number of sites," he said.
Andrew Davis, a videoconferencing analyst at Wainhouse Research, said videoconferencing action is "swinging to the IT channel".
"All the major investments in the videoconferencing space today fall squarely in the IT camp," he said, referring to 3Com, Alcatel, Avaya, Cisco, Nortel, Microsoft and Siemens.
Darren Lewitt, AV business manager at Midwich, said he stuck by his claim that, apart from the largest corporate resellers, the IT channel is not ready for videoconferencing.
"We were hoping to launch with Picture Tel [videoconferencing] two years ago, but Polycom bought the company and wanted us to buy [product] through another specialist distributor. If it wanted us to do that, it can't have had much confidence in the channel," he said.
Lewitt claimed Midwich had been the first IT distributor to adopt numerous new technologies in the UK, including colour laser printers, multifunction devices, digital cameras, projectors and plasma screens.
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