Emphasizing its new partnership with Syntegra, Avistar Communications Corp. comes to this year's SIA Technology Management Conference and Exhibit hoping to convince more financial-services firms that the integration of desktop voice and video applications is indeed the wave of the future. Avistar's alliance with Syntegra calls for the integration of Syntegra's turrets -- or programmable-trading telephones -- with Avistar's desktop-video software.
Via demonstrations of that integrated offering, Avistar expects to convince more investment banks/brokerage firms to follow in the footsteps of Deutsche Bank, which has already installed Avistar's desktop-video application in support of 1,500 equities staff worldwide. Deutsche Bank, in addition to installing Avistar's technology on the desks of its traders, sales traders, analysts, salespeople and senior management, has also rolled out the video application for 22 of its buy-side clients.
"What we're really trying to do in the investment community is deliver an integrated suite of products ... including two-way real-time software and one-way broadcast (video) .... (But) face-to-face video collaboration is where we are really going to add value," says Jim Hughes, president of Avistar.
Through Avistar's software, Deutsche Bank has not only increased its internal and external face-to-face communication, but has also decreased its travel expenditures. In the wake of the tragic events of Sept. 11, Hughes says, more and more firms are trying to reduce costs, and slashing travel budgets is one viable option -- if a firm uses video software for internal communication. "The horrific events of last year ... have just made everybody more aware of the option of using Avistar, or specifically visual collaboration, as a way to augment travel," he says. "What people are doing is using our technology to create heightened communications internally. But I think they're still traveling for their face-to-face interactions with their clients."
Avistar's desktop video, says Hughes, also enables firms to "mitigate risk" by allowing senior management executives to communicate with each other without even being in the same building. "We have a client that is not allowing any more than six executives to be in any one building, and that's just something that was unheard of, pre-9/11," he notes.
In addition to its partnership with Syntegra, Avistar has also recently forged a strategic alliance with Siebel Systems, a provider of e-business applications and services. The Siebel alliance calls for Avistar to integrate its desktop-video software with Siebel's System 7 workflow application, says Hughes. The Siebel application, he says, provides customers with alerts on different market events, and Siebel will now be able to attach video clips to those alerts via its integration with Avistar.
In the near future, says Hughes, Avistar also expects to announce an alliance with a provider of real-time market-data feeds. However, he declines to specify any potential partners in that space.