Cloud Offerings Enable Videoconferencing to Scale

Feature Story

Cloud Offerings Enable Videoconferencing to Scale

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, IP Communications Magazines  |  April 01, 2011

Videoconferencing, like so many other services these days, is now moving to the cloud.

In the span of just a few weeks, BroadSoft, Verizon and Vidyo (News - Alert) announced cloud-based videoconferencing offerings.

Supporting videoconferencing within the cloud makes perfect sense given the growing use of the service by people not just in specially equipped rooms, but also via desktop and mobile devices and applications, says Young-Sae Song, vice president of product marketing of Vidyo.

He adds that the introduction of VidyoRouter Cloud Edition is the most important announcement the company has made since it was established. The appliance supports videoconferencing as a cloud service in any network.  

Today the majority of videoconferencing happens via room-based videoconferencing systems, but with the introduction and popularization of videoconferencing services from Google, Skype (News - Alert) and many others, and more desktop-based videoconferencing tools coming on to the market, moving to the cloud is a pretty attractive option, according to Song. Indeed, Gartner (News - Alert) projects that by 2015, 200 million corporate desktop endpoints will be installed.

“VidyoRouter Cloud Edition is our response to the steady increase of globalized enterprises and the growing demand from service providers who offer video communication and collaboration,” says Ofer Shapiro, CEO and co-founder of Vidyo. “As video communication becomes more pervasive on laptops, smartphones and tablets, the demands placed upon the videoconferencing infrastructure will grow exponentially and require a solution that supports thousands of concurrently connected endpoints. Legacy MCU-based systems cannot support this scale and have a cost structure that is prohibitive for widespread deployment. VidyoRouter Cloud Edition directly addresses these business problems, and reduces the amortized per user cost from dollars to just cents per minute. Compared to immersive telepresence, an organization can enable 3,000 employees with Vidyo’s personal telepresence for the cost of one telepresence room build out.”

Offering videoconferencing from the cloud can allow network operators (whether they be telcos or other service providers, or enterprise network managers) to scale the number and types of endpoints that can be supported, Song says, adding that this really redefines the financial model of videoconferencing.

Traditional videoconferencing set ups usually involve MCUs, he adds. But Song says the Vidyo solution doesn’t include an MCU. Instead, it relies on video routers, which optimize bandwidth and ensure video quality. These routers take in video streams and looks at the endpoints involved and the types of networks they’re on and let through the appropriate amount of video traffic based on all that.

Today only 20 percent of U.S. offices are addressable by fiber, yet workers who want to videoconferencing from home, while traveling, or at branch or other locations need to be supported. So VidyoRouter proactively monitors video quality, resolution, frame rate, etc., and if a problem with quality is detected, it will reduce video traffic to address that. Rather than compressing video, however, the Vidyo technology simply removes some of the details of the video.

“Instead of requiring the network to adapting to the video we’re sending, it’s adapting the video to the network,” says Song. “It’s a very different approach to our competitors.”

The Vidyo routers run on 1RU servers, and don’t require custom hardware or ASICs, which Song says results in them being a fairly cost-effective solution. He claims that the Vidyo solutions are often 90 percent less expensive than Cisco or Polycom videoconferencing solutions.

One of the potential challenges of creating a cloud solution is ensuring that video can traverse firewalls. To address that, Vidyo allows for the creation of a universal calling directory to which companies can subscribe to interconnect with others for video calls.

As for BroadSoft, that company has introduced BroadCloud Video, an HD, always-on videoconferencing service that can be accessed from desktop, telepresence and mobile environments. “BroadCloud Video is designed to enable our service provider customers to offer a cost-effective, high-definition videoconferencing service to businesses of all sizes, but we believe the pricing structure and minimal support requirements will be particularly attractive to mid-size businesses that are currently underserved by today’s video conferencing technology options,” says Michael Tessler, president and CEO of BroadSoft. “The goal of BroadCloud Video is to accelerate the adoption of videoconferencing, which we believe will improve the productivity of businesses by allowing users to seamlessly connect, collaborate and engage.”

The service supports standards-based desktop and room telepresence systems at up-to HD video quality and connection via SIP, H.323 and H.320. It is always on, is priced based on usage and offers a single dial-in number and host PIN for all meetings.

Meanwhile, in early February, Verizon introduced Unified Communications (News - Alert) & Collaboration-as-a-Service, which it said is one of the industry’s first cloud-based commercial UC&C offerings.  It allows for seamless call transfers from fixed to mobile phones and the use of presence related to instant messaging, and to initiate audio, web and intra-company videoconference calls both in and out of the office.

“We’re putting our leadership in cloud, UC&C and mobility to work for our customers,” says Farooq Muzaffar, vice president of enterprise network and communications solutions with Verizon (News - Alert). “It’s all part of our ‘everything-as-a-service’ strategy to help our customers achieve better business outcomes by making information and collaboration available virtually anywhere, anytime.”

The new offerings will be available to U.S. customers this spring.  


The state of West Virginia is an early user of the solution, which leverages Cisco and Verizon technologies.

Verizon later this year plans to roll out a hybrid offering – also based on a per-seat subscription model – for customers that want both a dedicated environment and a cloud- and premises-based solution.   

VidyoRouter Cloud Edition

Expands Scalability to Address the Explosion of Endpoints

Scales videoconferencing to support the explosion of endpoints

No expensive forklift upgrades for scaling

Redefines the Economics of Videoconferencing

Reduces capex, opex, and bandwidth by up to 90 percent

Delivers videoconferencing for pennies per minute

Traverses Firewalls to Integrate Clouds Seamlessly

Provides access regardless of location

Simplifies firewall integration, traversal, and management

Edited by Stefania Viscusi


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