Roundup

Videoconferencing Roundup

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  September 30, 2014

Video represents the bulk of traffic on networks around the world, and this bandwidth-loving medium continues to grow by leaps and bounds. IP video traffic last year represented 66 percent of all global traffic last year, and by 2018 it’s expected to hit the 79 percent mark, according to Cisco’s (News - Alert) Visual Networking Index.

Indeed, video continues to weave its way into the fabric of our lives, both for business and pleasure. Not only do many of us commonly watch home video, movies, TV, and YouTube (News - Alert) clips on our computers, smartphones, tablets, and Internet-connected TVs for entertainment and education, video is also beginning to play a bigger role in our interactions.

Amazon made a big splash on that front recently with the introduction of the Mayday button, which allows Kindle users to call up a video interaction with a customer service rep with just one click. And there’s a lot of talk about the potential of videoconferencing to enable customers and company representatives to work together on troubleshooting and/or installation.

Indeed, videoconferencing is springing up in some interesting new, and sometimes unexpected, places. What’s more, videoconferencing at work is no longer a capability exclusive to the C suite; in recent years, it’s become widely accessible as video cameras and simple conferencing applications have become available as part and parcel of our connected devices. But the news about videoconferencing-related solution sales is mixed, as reflected by this data from Infonetics Research.

• The worldwide enterprise videoconferencing and telepresence market was dealt a strong seasonal blow in 1Q4 and is down 22 percent sequentially.

• Demand for videoconferencing capabilities remains strong, but buyers’ preferences for less costly personal systems is slowing revenue growth.

• Sales of PBX-based systems are up 32 percent in 1Q14 from the year-ago 1st quarter (1Q13).

• Videophones were once again the fastest-growing segment of the hardware endpoint market, with unit shipments increasing 48 percent in 1Q14 from the same period a year ago.

• Growth in Asia Pacific has been slowing, but it is still poised to become the strongest performing region in 2014.

• Infonetics projects global enterprise telepresence and video conferencing revenue to grow in the single digits through at least 2017.

Here is INTERNET TELEPHONY’s Roundup of some of the suppliers of teleconferencing and videoconferencing solutions.

(Note: We do our best to include as many of the players in a given Roundup as possible. But this exercise does rely on the companies listed submitting entries, so this is not intended as a comprehensive list of market players, but rather as a sampling of what’s available in the category. Check out our editorial calendar to see what categories will be featured in future issues, in case your company would like to submit a listing for a issue later this year. There is no cost for a listing.)

Acano

Acano brings together previously incompatible audio, video, and web technologies in coSpaces – virtual meeting rooms only radically better. coSpaces are always available and can be accessed from any device. With coSpaces, people work wherever their ideas and creativity thrive. In the market for just one year, the company has more than 200 customers globally, and was named a Cool Vendor in Unified Communications by Gartner in 2014. The driving philosophy is “everyone’s invited”. All devices are welcome, for example PCs, iPads, smartphones, Lync clients, Jabber, and videoconferencing systems – and multiple devices can be used at one time, like an iPad for video and phone for audio. Every user in an organization can have a persistent coSpace with its own unique URL and phone number. For Microsoft Lync users, the Acano solution extends their reach into the non-Lync world while preserving the native Lync experience, including IM, presence, drag and drop, and shared content. In addition, people outside of an organization can connect by clicking a link via WebRTC and browser access. The Acano platform leverages existing investments without requiring rip and replace. Acano is available through partners as on-premises hardware, VM, cloud, or a hybrid of these. 

Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise

Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise OpenTouch is a core communications platform for corporations of all sizes and is customizable for multimedia collaboration inside and outside a company. OpenTouch supports video collaboration on smart desk phones, laptops, workstations, mobile devices, and videoconferencing endpoints for personal use or in boardrooms. In OpenTouch, video functions at the same level as a phone call, where it is possible to shift a complete multimedia conversation from one device to another. This standards-based, multi award winning OpenTouch Communications Suite makes video accessible, without complex installation or operations, for both the system administrator and end user. OpenTouch Suite is available for CPE, hybrid and pure cloud deployment models. From the beginning Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise selected Lifesize, a leading player in the video business, to be a privileged technology partner for the OpenTouch Communications Suite. With several years of co-development, there is tight integration between OpenTouch and the full Lifesize Icon endpoints as well as the UVC multipoint conferencing units. Combining our respective equipment and services, we offer our customers very valuable, end-to-end video communication solutions.

Avaya

The Avaya Scopia Video Collaboration portfolio is a feature-rich combination of hardware and software solutions that deliver the highest performance and uncompromised HD video quality over any network, device, or location. It delivers advanced HD video, voice and data collaboration and includes endpoints for board rooms, conference rooms, desktop, personal and mobile video collaboration. Scopia Desktop and Mobile allows users to  connect to a virtual videoconference room from anywhere on any device. In one click, users can join multi-party video meetings with any PC, Mac, or the latest mobile device and experience rich HD voice, video collaboration, and content sharing. The simple web browser plug-in or mobile application is centrally managed, distributed, and deployed without complex licensing fees or installation issues. Scopia XT Video Conferencing includes a complete range of advanced HD videoconferencing room systems to fit virtually any budget. The systems, including the Avaya Scopia XT5000, incorporate the latest video communications technology including dual full HD video channels, Apple iPad control, and advanced video compression for bandwidth efficiency and error resiliency on the public Internet and other IP networks. Scopia Video Network infrastructure allows for multi-party conferencing, network connectivity and firewall traversal. This next generation infrastructure supports media processing for advanced videoconferencing room systems and delivers high scalability and distributed processing for boardroom, desktop, and mobile deployment, and interoperates with third party H.323 and SIP endpoints. Avaya also offers management software for scheduling, directory services, device and bandwidth monitoring and control. That includes management, control and call scheduling for any size video network and supports all videoconferencing devices including third-party endpoints and infrastructure devices.

Blue Jeans Network

At Blue Jeans Network, our mission is to make video communications as easy and pervasive as audio communications, enabling more effective collaboration at work, at home, and on the road. Our cloud-based conferencing service makes this possible by enabling customers to connect with each other seamlessly anytime, anywhere, and from practically any device. The Blue Jeans Network extends high quality video communications beyond the traditional boundaries of specialized conference rooms and into the mainstream, allowing individuals and employees throughout an enterprise to interact more effectively with each other, and with their customers, partners, suppliers, family, and friends.

Cisco

Cisco's range of videoconferencing solutions allows businesses in small, medium, and enterprise markets to scale video with the clear and quality video needed to give workers in the office, at home, and in the field a face-to-face collaboration experience on every device, from the browser to the boardroom. Solutions range from market leading software and cloud solutions such as WebEx Meetings, offering features such as recordable HD video and voice, presence, and file sharing across any device; to sleek desktop endpoints such as the DX80 and EX series solutions, which bring a modern look and intuitive user experience to the desktop while offering instant connect video and touch-screen capabilities for the combined productivity of real-time video collaboration and content sharing at price points for every office. Cisco's Collaboration Meeting Room provides always-on cloud videoconferencing via Cisco's Collaboration Meeting Room, enabling instant collaboration for up to hundreds of people at one time from any device (from Cisco or other standards-based endpoints and mobile/desktop clients). And Cisco's fully-immersive TelePresence, including the recently released MX series, brings the best of industrial design and intuitive experience – including voice-activated camera zoom – to conference room meetings.

Crestron 

Microsoft Lync provides a consistent, single client experience for presence, instant messaging, voice, video, and a great meeting experience. Crestron RL extends the Lync experience to the conference room so groups can communicate and collaborate in real time regardless of physical location. Crestron RL combines the intuitive room control solutions of Crestron with the full collaboration features of Microsoft Lync 2013. With just one touch of a button, anyone can walk into a conference room and instantly start a collaboration session. Share your desktop with local and remote participants, view and annotate over PowerPoint, and use the interactive whiteboard to sketch out ideas. Remote participants can join via Lync on their desktop, and adding attendees on the fly in the conference room is just as simple and fast as typing in their names. Crestron RL lets you share ideas and notes collaboratively with remote colleagues and clients — anytime, anywhere, with any device. Crestron RL provides a turnkey unified collaboration solution right out of the box and requires no additional licenses, maintenance fees, or MCUs.

Dialogic

Dialogic's PowerMedia XMS is a powerful, cloud-ready media server with WebRTC support. PowerMedia XMS addresses media processing challenges facing communications service providers, telephony developers, web developers and integrators. Key capabilities include multi-party conferencing, transcoding, WebRTC-to-SIP network media interworking, recording, stream processing and analysis, and person-to-machine applications. Common use cases include audio and video prompts, interactive voice (and video) response, agent coaching, call progress analysis, video-enablement, remote web agents, video kiosks, web access, embedded web communications, and more. PowerMedia XMS is completely software-based and runs on a variety of hypervisor environments for easy deployment into cloud environments. Standard media control interfaces allow for rapid integration with existing applications and infrastructure. Web-oriented interfaces enable developers to easily build server-side, real-time media processing into nearly any application.

Edgewater Networks Inc.

The EdgeProtect series enterprise session border controller enables organizations of all sizes to provide seamless, reliable, and secure videoconferencing services between employees and with customers in disparate locations. EdgeProtect provides a complete NAT and firewall traversal solution for video and voice communications and includes standards-based SIP/H.323 call control to simplify secure remote access. Remote users can seamlessly and securely conduct videoconferencing from any location, using any available network access, such as enterprise, home, public or mobile users. EdgeProtect’s application security provides the flexibility to integrate with existing network security infrastructure and adapt to enterprise security policies, securing who is authorized to access the video network. EdgeProtect’s multi-vendor interoperability provides the flexibility of the enterprise to choose its mode of network service delivery. EdgeProtect also offers SIP trunking to secure enterprise PBX solutions. EdgeProtect is the only single appliance that delivers an enhanced communication experience and improves corporate productivity.

Esna Technologies

Esna is a global leader in cloud-enabled communication and collaboration solutions. Esna’s solutions allow people to communicate anytime, anywhere by integrating real-time communications inside the cloud, SaaS and social applications they use daily, like e-mail and CRM. Esna iLink for WebEx is a browser extension that makes it easy to book WebEx meetings from inside Google Apps, Salesforce and Jive Software, or anywhere on the web. With Esna iLink for WebEx, users can schedule WebEx meetings just like any other calendar event; eliminate the need to book meetings on the main WebEx site; update WebEx automatically any time meetings are changed in Google, Salesforce or from a smartphone calendar; and even start an instant WebEx meeting right from any web page or application. Esna iLink for Cisco is a browser extension that enables access to Cisco Jabber video communications from any cloud application or web page. With Esna iLink for Cisco, users can make Jabber voice and video calls from Chrome and Internet Explorer browsers.

Grandstream Networks Inc.

Grandstream brings desktop voice, video, presence and advanced unified communication capabilities to new heights with the new GXV3275 Video IP Phone for Android. For $319, this 7-inch touch-screen videophone is the first 3-in-1 communications device to fully leverage Android and integrate it with the SIP platform. By doing so, the 6-line executive IP phone with six SIP accounts, integrated Wi-Fi and PoE is truly a multiplatform device giving users the universal experience and familiarity of mobile smartphone/tablet functionality along with full access to the hundreds of thousands of Android Apps in the Google Play Store such as Microsoft Lync, Skype, SalesForce1, GoToMeeting, Outlook, Gmail and more. Additionally, this desktop phone eliminates the cost barrier of larger videoconferencing solutions and gives businesses affordable free enterprise-grade video collaboration with crystal clear HD video calling and multi-person videoconferencing using various different technologies and protocols such as the open SIP standard, Microsoft Lync, Skype, Google Hangout, ooVoo, etc. For $219, the new GXV3240 IP Video Phone for Android with 4.3-inch capacitive touch screen is available offering the same features as the larger 7-inch touch screen GXV3275.

InFocus Corp.

InFocus video collaboration solutions provide small and large businesses with flexible offerings they can mix and match to fit their environments and budgets. Whether they use the giant Mondopad collaboration solution in the boardroom, the MVP100 Video Phone on desks, or BigConnect software on a laptop, InFocus products and services work together to enhance teamwork anywhere. InFocus 121 Video Calling is a high-quality video dial tone service for point-to-point calls with SIP or H.323 devices included for one year with every InFocus video calling device. When people in multiple locations need to collaborate via video, InFocus offers ConX Video Meeting. Up to 12 endpoints can join a cloud-based ConX Meeting room from an InFocus video calling device, another SIP or H.323 device, MS Lync or an Internet browser using the InFocus QuickConX plugin. Mondopad is a massive touch-screen SIP device that allows groups to whiteboard, annotate, and share content in real time over a video call. MVP100 Video Phone is a SIP device that works with the ease of a standard desk phone. BigConnect is an easy-to-use Windows SIP video calling application that enables clear HD video calls and content sharing to and from other SIP endpoints.

IVCi LLC

IVCi is a leading provider of collaboration solutions designed to bring people together, no matter where they are located or what technology they have access to. With more than 18 years of experience in the collaboration industry, IVCi focuses on the successful deployment of collaboration solutions by providing services that aim to align technology with business goals and objectives. Whether collaborating from a state-of-the-art conference room or joining a video meeting on the go from a tablet, IVCi ensures that every collaboration session is a success. IVCi's Cloud Video Experience takes the guesswork out of an enterprise video implementation and provides a total infrastructure as a service solution that eliminates the need to purchase costly hardware infrastructure and makes it easy to equip rooms, desktops and mobile devices with full HD video. CVE offers a global quality assured network to ensure the highest level of video fidelity. Additionally, Virtual Meeting Rooms make it possible for up to 80 participants to connect with any device including standard videoconferencing systems, Microsoft Lync, or even a web browser.

Lifesize

Lifesize provides HD videoconferencing solutions that are simple to buy, adopt, manage, and use. Its cost-effective software-as-a-service and room video systems connect people wherever they are, across laptops, tablets, or smartphones, and especially conference rooms. Lifesize delivered the world’s first high-definition videoconferencing solution in 2005, and in May 2014 introduced Lifesize Cloud, the first cloud-based videoconferencing offering for organizations that want business-class video collaboration without taxing their budgets or IT resources. Lifesize Cloud helps companies maximize productivity and communicate naturally through an easy-to-use interface that supports spontaneous or scheduled meetings. It is purpose-built so that organizations of all sizes can implement a scalable videoconferencing solution with little to no need for IT involvement. It’s fully interoperable with existing videoconferencing resources and supports up to 25-way calls in HD video or audio, so admins no longer need to manage scarce multiparty bridging ports. Lifesize Cloud has a flexible subscription plan for all sizes of teams and budgets. Founded in 2003 and acquired by Logitech in 2009, Lifesize addresses organizations’ demand for high quality and reliable video that is affordable and simple to use.

Lightpath

Lightpath, a provider of Ethernet-based communication solutions for New York metropolitan area businesses, in July announced the addition of Lightpath Video Conference to its expanding lineup of managed service offerings. The cloud-based service provides virtual meeting rooms and managed video services that enable mid-market and large businesses to conference and connect with up to 25 attendees worldwide from nearly any device. Lightpath Video Conference delivers an end-to-end feature set that includes system design and installation, virtual meeting room services that support existing or new equipment and can be launched from any device, 24/7 help desk access and optional proactive monitoring.  Lightpath is a division of Cablevision Systems (News - Alert) Corp.

Pexip AS

The Pexip Infinity Scalable Meeting Platform allows an enterprise to scale and provide every one of its employees with high-definition video, audio, and data conferencing. Pexip Infinity seamlessly joins any version of Microsoft Lync, WebRTC, SIP, and H.323 endpoints in conferences – irrespective of manufacturer – and provides any-to-any media transcoding for true universal interoperability. Thanks to Pexip Infinity’s unique software-only architecture – running on off-the-shelf Intel-based servers as a virtual machine in the organization’s data center – the solution can be deployed in minutes, and capacity can be scaled to suit the organization’s needs and requirements from a central location. Its native distributed architecture enables a system administrator to quickly and simply deploy local conferencing capabilities anywhere in the world, and manage the application just like any other virtualized enterprise software application. Infinity has an enterprise-oriented licensing scheme, and organizations deploy capacity based on concurrent users, where all consume licenses from a central pool, not constrained by endpoints, users, or hardware.

Polycom

Polycom helps organizations unleash the power of human collaboration with secure video, voice, and content collaboration solutions designed to increase productivity; speed, including time to market; and to connect people regardless of device, protocol, or bandwidth. Polycom’s RealPresence Platform offers organizations, large or small, the best user experience, the broadest multi-vendor interoperability, and unmatched investment protection. The platform also allows users to not only share content internally, but also with customers, partners, and other stakeholders. The RealPresence Platform can be customized to meet the needs of any organization and offers simple implementation and seamless connectivity, while leveraging cloud technology. Through Polycom RealPresence Cloud, partners and service providers alike can take advantage of video-as-a service, a growing commodity in today’s workplace. In addition, Polycom offers the Polycom RealPresence CloudAXIS Suite, which runs on the RealPresence Platform and includes the industry’s first presence-aware directory that integrates contacts from social applications such as Google Talk and Facebook, enabling users with just a click of a button to invite contacts into a secure, Polycom-powered video meeting, regarless of their location or device.

ReadyTalk

ReadyTalk (News - Alert) delivers audio, video, and web conferencing services that empower customers to conduct conferences of all sizes – from small ad hoc meetings to large webinars. ReadyTalk combines ease-of-use with sophisticated marketing tools to increase audience engagement, event ROI, and meeting productivity. Unlike other services, ReadyTalk gives customers a full suite of tools for training, collaboration, sales demos, webinars, and more. You’ll always have access to the right features when you need them, no need to upgrade to another product. Powerful videoconferencing from ReadyTalk allows you to share up to four simultaneous video feeds with up to 25 total participants. Enable a videoconference from our intuitive icon-based controls, use it with VoIP for effective collaboration, and it doesn’t require any additional downloads. Improve personal interaction with remote colleagues, remove miscommunications by sharing non-verbal cues, strengthen customer and prospect relationships regardless of distance, and increase audience engagement by personalizing your message.

Sangoma

Sangoma Vega Video Multipoint Conferencing Unit mixes video and audio in a single unified system. It makes videoconferencing really easy and affordable for the smaller enterprise because of its compatibility with virtually any existing PBX, including Asterisk (News - Alert), FreePBX, and FreeSwitch (e.g. one that may not be able to afford a system like Microsoft Lync). The goal is to make adoption of video as easy as a simple audio conference, i.e., press 7 for video. Ease of use is geared to encourage adoption of this premises-based hardware appliance. Sangoma prides itself on quality and reliability at an affordable price. The company is built on the belief that its solutions simply must work. The award-winning Sangoma Video MCU provides video to SIP phones, IP PBXs, desk phones, tablets, and smartphones.

ShoreTel

Through ShoreTel Communicator, the desktop call-control suite within ShoreTel 14.2, users can participate in room-based videoconferences using industry standard H.264 AVC technology. This enhanced video support enables users to communicate from their desktop or laptop, whether in the office or working remote, adding a new level of simplicity to collaboration. Via the ShoreTel Mobility Client, ShoreTel customers can communicate via video between iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, with single video calling from the keypad. With ShoreTel Mobility, users can also participate in multi-party video sessions from mobile devices to room-based video communication systems. ShoreTel enables organizations to leverage investments through integration with best of breed room-based systems that support open industry standards (H.264/AVC), including Lifesize and Polycom. Video calls are supported over local or remote Wi-Fi and cellular data worldwide.

Sonus Networks

The Sonus SBC 7000 Session Border Controller allows service providers and large enterprises to offer videoconferencing capabilities on a large scale. As video becomes more ubiquitous in the work place, the SBC 7000 preps the market for the inevitable change in business models toward increased collaboration through videoconferencing. The SBC 7000 works behind the scenes to ensure that voice, video, and data communications flow smoothly and securely between networks and the people who use them. Sonus is the only vendor with the ability to provide video interworking among endpoints from various vendors without compromising SBC performance or scale.

The foundational strength of the SBC 7000 is its ability to support high capacity requirements for real-time, multimedia SIP traffic. The SBC 7000 touts the industry’s highest scale – up to 150,000 sessions with fully enabled security, media, and transcoding features – two times more than what any other SBC provider is currently offering. The SBC 7000 effectively addresses the unprecedented traffic demands that services such as HD voice and video, VoLTE, and RCS will place on networks at access and interconnect borders.

Tely Labs

Tely Labs is the leader in simple, secure, and affordable video communication and collaboration systems that fundamentally change the way people communicate. Its solutions help organizations effectively communicate through videoconferencing whether it is from executive boardrooms, to secondary conference rooms, or remote offices. Thus, organizations gain the benefits of videoconferencing and content sharing without the investment in expensive on-premises video networking by being able to connect meeting rooms to a wide variety of video-enabled devices including tablets, smartphones, laptops, and traditional room-based videoconferencing systems. Tely Labs’ solutions are beneficial to all types of industries including education, financial services, health care, legal, manufacturing, public sector, and service providers. The telyHD Pro delivers high quality experience at unprecedented value, perfect for conference rooms and remote offices. It includes standards-based interoperability and integrated Skype support, enabling the telyHD Pro to immediately connect with millions of users. It also comes along with a one-year subscription to telyCloud, which provides multi-party conferencing without the need for any additional equipment.

Yorktel

Yorktel VideoCloud is an enterprise-class, cloud-based videoconferencing service that enables organizations to leverage Yorktel’s global hosted infrastructure in lieu of purchasing costly infrastructure. With vendor-agnostic and device-agnostic support, three distinct models comprise the VideoCloud portfolio: VideoCloud Virtual Meeting Room, a reservation-less, on-demand videoconferencing service; VideoCloud Managed Conferencing Service, a fully managed conferencing service; and VideoCloud B2B Service, which enables UC&C, interoperability, and secure connectivity. The core of Yorktel’s Managed Services is a 24/7/365 multi-lingual VNOC and service desk, which provides a reliable, consistent user experience across all platforms and geographies. Managing both cloud-based and on-premises videoconferencing systems, two tiers of services include call scheduling, launching, monitoring, troubleshooting, usage reporting, onsite staff augmentation, and much more. Yorktel also offers professional services, from assessment of the customer’s current video environment and

strategy, through recommendations for today and tomorrow’s scalability, to integration and implementation of new or refreshed infrastructure. Yorktel specializes in system interoperability, BYOD, and enablement of unified communications strategies. Yorktel also expands beyond corporate videoconferencing with the VideoKiosk, a remote, highly secure customer service kiosk; multiple grades of telehealth/telemedicine mobile videocarts; and self-navigating mobile i-Robots for applications that require mobile, autonomous video.




Edited by Maurice Nagle

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