Unifying Communications

Oct 05, 2009 5:52 am   |   Leave a Comment

Conventional wisdom says that Unified Communications is about giving people a comprehensive portfolio of communications tools and providing a single unified user interface to these tools with the goal of making communications more effective, and of course “unified”. For example, UC makes it easier to get a hold of someone on the first try, thereby reducing wasted time and improving business velocity.

While this is certainly a valuable aspect of Unified Communications, I believe it misses the bigger opportunity. The real promise of UC, in my opinion, is about finally turning communications into a software technology; rather than using software to provide a common user interface to a set of disjointed communications tools and appliances, the software itself becomes the “unified” communications tool.

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Tales from the Test Lab

Sep 21, 2009 5:33 am   |   Leave a Comment

Usually a company blog will offer commentary relevant to new products, industry events, marketing initiatives, etc. But this time we decided to try something a little different. An offer was made for anyone to author a blog, so I decided to see if people would be interested in hearing some technical details about some of the more interesting challenges we have faced getting our current products ready.

Part 1 : Converting SIP to H.323

Historically, legacy Avistar products were based on a mix of traditional and more recent standards. We used some features of SIP for call signaling, but any interoperability with H.323 endpoints required that we send analog audio and video through a non-Avistar hardware gateway device.

As part of an ongoing cost reduction and standardization effort we have moved away from analog video and 3rd party hardware gateway boxes, and built our own software SIP to H.323 gateway module. This has been a bit of an adventure as we have been learning some of the things that H.323 and SIP do differently, and have had to deal with resulting incompatibilities.

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Virtual Environments & Desktop Communications.

Sep 09, 2009 5:30 am   |   Leave a Comment

Over the last year or so, we’ve seen many organizations move away from traditional PC-based desktop architectures in favor of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and/or Virtual Application Infrastructure (VAI). VDI and VAI enable workers to locally access, via low-power terminals, software applications and desktops which are hosted in remote data centers. The benefit of a virtual infrastructure is well understood: it centralizes application management, it provides “green IT” resulting from lower power consumption, and it facilitates business continuity. However, the biggest benefit of VDI is that it enables “Virtual Organizations” by making it easy for users to work productively from anywhere with the best application performance and security regardless of location. VDI, in other words, provides users with access to their applications no matter where they are, while providing significant cost and carbon savings.

For organizations to become truly virtual, however, they not only need to provide users with access to their applications, they also need to provide users with access to other users—their coworkers, their partners, their customers, their suppliers. Desktop videoconferencing technology allows “virtual” access to users by providing a face-to-face experience across the network and allowing users to interact as if they were virtually in the same location.

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An Open Forum

Aug 24, 2009 5:11 am   |   Leave a Comment

From the day Avistar opened its doors back in the late 90’s, our guiding principles have been to provide technology that allowed our clients to communicate more effectively, leverage their technology assets, learn how to be more productive and help contribute to making their firms more efficient and profitable.

Although Avistar as a company and our industry have gone through numerous changes over the years, our guiding principles remain unchanged. We recognize that the world around us is changing, people are becoming more distributed, our economy is exerting pressure on the business community and the global environment is showing signs of tremendous change. These challenges only reinforce our commitment and support our guiding principles.

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About Avistar Communications

Avistar is an innovation leader in the unified visual communications industry, with more than 15 years of experience providing proven business-class desktop videoconferencing technology. Avistar’s solutions are used across a broad spectrum of industries with deployments ranging in size from 30-35,000 users. Avistar’s technology also helps to power solutions from Citrix, IBM, LifeSize, Logitech and many other leading unified communications vendors, while delivering end-user videoconferencing solutions to some of the world’s largest corporations, in more than 40 countries. For more information, please visit www.avistar.com.

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