Airtel-Verizon launch 'BlueJeans' to take on JioMeet, Zoom in India
As Indians adjust with the reality of working and connecting remotely, leading telecom-to-technology companies in the country are racing to get affordable yet high-quality video-conferencing solutions up and running. Over a week ago, Mukesh Ambani's Jio launched a video service called JioMeet, and now, its competitor Airtel has partnered with American conglomerate Verizon to launch 'BlueJeans' video-conferencing solution for businesses. Here's all about it.
Founded in 2009, BlueJeans is a US-based company that offers an interoperable cloud-based video conferencing solution to connect participants across a wide range of devices and conferencing platforms. It serves more than 15,000 business customers and was acquired — and rebranded — by telecom giant Verizon with an investment of less than $500 million a few months ago.
Now, thanks to the partnership with Bharti Airtel, Verizon is making the service available in India, the world's second-largest internet market, as 'Airtel BlueJeans'. It is being targeted as a solution for enterprise video conferences with up to 50,000 people, but Gopal Vittal, the CEO of Airtel, has said that they will also release a consumer-focused version of the service in the coming weeks.
Along with the ability to hold calls with up to 50,000 people, BlueJeans will offer 'enterprise-grade' security with AES-256 GCM encryption as well as features like real-time meeting analytics, HD video and Dolby voice, and support for 150 presenters. The customers will also get the option of dial-in calls in India (starting at 50 paise per call) and abroad.
Airtel claims that two-factor authentication will be used for all BlueJeans meetings and all data related to the calls and conversations on the service will be stored locally in the country.
Business customers can start using BlueJeans by registering on Airtel's website. For the first three months, users will get a free trial, but after that, they will have to switch to a paid plan. Vittal says they will offer the service at a 'very competitive' price but has not shared any specific details just yet.
"The pricing will be segmented at three levels, for large enterprises, medium enterprises, and for really tiny companies, which will be bundled with existing broadband and Internet plans," Vittal added in the statement.
In India, Airtel BlueJeans will go against Jio's own free video-conferencing solution JioMeet as well as international services Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and Cisco Webex. Among these, JioMeet is the newest one while Zoom is the most popular, with over 35 million monthly active users in the country. Google Meet has also been picking up since the recent introduction of its free tier.