Tandberg: Norwegians Would

By Joshua Weinberger Print this article Print

Tandberg's 8000 model has been called "the Rolls Royce of videoconferencing".


200 Park Ave., Suite 2005
New York, NY 10166
(212) 692-6500


EMPLOYEES: 512 (worldwide; 221 in the U.S.)

Andrew Miller

Vice Chairman, CEO

Came over from Cisco in early 2002, where he had spent 10 years in various positions.

Brad Johnston

President, Tandberg Americas

Reporting directly to Miller, Johnston—another Cisco veteran—had been vice president, Western U.S. sales, before his January promotion. He began his career with AT&T, moving to AT&T's spin-off Lucent before joining Cisco in 1998.


Tandberg 6000, 7000 and 8000 (boardrooms); 2500 and 880 (medium-sized rooms); 1000 and 550 (small rooms, executive offices). Also: 67" Director model and elements of Tandberg Meeting Place: Multipoint Control Unit, Tandberg Management Suite (administration software), and Scheduler.


PDF Download The inroads made by Tandberg during the last three years—rising from 9% of the market for room-based devices to 31%—can be attributed to Polycom's missteps, or simply to the notion that the Norwegians have, as Kerr-McGee's Stephen Patton puts it, "the best equipment out there." Tandberg's 8000 model has been called "the Rolls Royce of videoconferencing"—a nod not only to its engineering, but to its price tag. Many companies, though, find it's worth the cost.

At Markel Corp., where Tandberg 8000s displaced Polycom units, "we thought it would just save money on travel costs," says Markel's Walied Mahmoud, "but since the equipment is here, we've found we're using it [more]." And while increased use has meant an unexpected rise in digital-phone-line charges, "the overall [productivity] benefits have really outweighed that." Besides, he says, "by the end of the year, we'll have the basics in place for our own [Internet Protocol] network," which will allow unlimited use.

At retail software firm Retek there are "three or four different [Tandberg] models at play," says vice president of information services Thomas Kipp, including less expensive units at remote locations. The surprise was how quickly use ramped up: "The day we said 'go,' we had the main room booked solid." For Kipp, ease-of-use is critical, especially "the ability to program [the unit] through a touch screen—you really do just walk up to it and it's like a telephone." Kerr-McGee's Patton had the same experience: "Hit one button and your computer's up. If you want more productivity, Tandberg's the way to go."

At VideoBureau, which rents out conference time by the hour, President David Brenner points to the "quality of components and adaptability for integration," but price is a constant, albeit easing, concern. "Traditionally," he says, Tandberg's offerings have been "too expensive—[but] lately more reasonable." A more pressing issue is that Tandberg's "been very tight-lipped about upcoming releases, so integrators and developers do not get a 'heads up' regarding new features and capabilities until they hit the market."

And while companies seem to value the uniform architecture across Tandberg's product line—which makes switching between Tandberg units a breeze—that also gives an excuse to opt for a single top-end model in the boardroom—and lesser units elsewhere. Some customers may decide they don't always need the Rolls.

This article was originally published on 2003-05-01
Assistant Editor
After being on staff at The New Yorker for five years, Josh later traveled the world, hitting all seven continents in a single year. At Yale University, he majored in American Studies, English, and Theatre Studies.

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