All-Software Approach Is Essential in a BYOD Videoconferencing Environment – and a Call for Interoperability

Mar 22, 2012 8:34 am   |   Leave a Comment

Thanks to cool, easy-to-use technology like iPads, iPhones, and Android smartphones, the workplace is turning from a place where employees could use only IT department-approved technology to what’s been called BYOD – Bring Your Own Devices to work.

As we wrote in December, when we posted our top predictions for 2012, “employees today expect to use their own devices and have them sync with their corporate technology.” Or as Frost & Sullivan wrote last year, “The workforce of today is demanding mobility and flexibility, forever changing the face of enterprise communications. There are an estimated 1 billion mobile workers today and a large number of them are savvy users bringing their knowledge of consumer mobile technologies into the enterprise world and expecting to be armed with the right tools that make them more productive and connected.”

The challenge for IT departments is they must find solutions that can be used securely across different platforms including Windows, iOS, Mac, Android and Linux.

The challenge for companies trying to deliver solutions, especially when trying to unify multiparty videoconferencing requirements while meeting the demands of BYOD is that many providers still rely on hardware-based multipoint control unit servers (MCUs) – and hardware-based solutions are not well suited for an environment in which the platforms appear to constantly evolve and predeciting capacity and demand is downright difficult.

According to Aberdeen, one challenge in bridging consumer experience and corporate demands is that companies require more complex solutions that go beyond letting the kids chat with their grandparents. Companies need “realistic and reliable video with interactive capabilities that may include content sharing, unified messaging, integration with a unified communications suite” as well as multiple end-points and multiple devices using any number of platforms.

In that environment, with the need for real-time adaptively, hardware-based MCUs don’t make sense. Companies need the flexibility of an all-software approach. What’s more, an essential aspect to making videoconferencing work in a BYOD world is the ability to interoperate with the videoconferencing solution your customers and partners use.

Overall, the industry has not reached a point where interoperability occurs seamlessly and demand can be met on the fly. The Avistar C3 Conference solution changes all that by supporting interoperability and is flexible enough to scale on demand – in any direction. These are essential requirements for any company that is preparing to meet the demands of BYOD and videoconferencing, in a scalable and interoperable way.

Based on our experience, BYOD videoconferencing and device-agnostic videoconferencing doesn’t happen in a hardware world. BYOD videoconferencing happens in an all-software world, with all-software MCUs that can adjust on the fly, and software that can transcode across different devices seamlessly, quickly and economically.

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Multiparty Videoconferencing Can Cost ¼ that of Traditional Solutions

Mar 02, 2012 5:31 am   |   Leave a Comment

We recently wrote about the deployment benefits of cloud-ready videoconferencing.

But another important benefit is that could-ready videoconferencing can be a cost-effective solution compared with traditional hardware-based solutions.

Because Avistar runs on standard off-the-shelf hardware and operating system software, and on virtualized servers, we can dramatically lower the cost of multiparty videoconferencing. Instead of expensive room systems – which were the only way most corporations deployed videoconferencing a decade ago – our all-software Multipoint Control Unit (MCU) brings down the cost so significantly that it makes videoconferencing much more justifiable and accessible to a broad range of organizations that previously wouldn’t look at videoconferencing because deploying a room system was expensive, complicated – and discouraged employees in the organization from actually leaving their desks to book the videoconferencing-enabled conference room.

In a recent benchmark study, the Avistar solution delivered 32-port HD multiparty videoconferencing for 1/4 the cost of competitive hardware-based MCU solutions.

Our solutions are not only significantly more cost-effective, they’re also much more flexible.  Enterprise IT groups can choose: establish your own cloud-based HD videoconferencing, or look to a cloud-based solutions provider. In either case, Avistar’s videoconference processing, price performance and cloud enablement allow you to deploy quickly and scale up smoothly. You can provide HD multiparty services to large user and customer bases at a fraction of what alternatives cost, and users have access from their preferred devices: tablets, PCs, smart phones, and room systems.

Sometimes looking at a new way to deal with an old problem can yield unrealized benefits. All-software based MCU’s are a great example of this. If you want to learn more about this approach, visit our conferencing page at:

http://www.avistar.com/the-all-software-mcu-avistar-c3-conference/

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Cloud-Ready Enterprise Videoconferencing Can Handle Multiple Mixed Endpoints, Quickly & Economically

Feb 07, 2012 12:55 pm   |   Leave a Comment

A decade ago, videoconferencing could be found primarily in expensive corporate boardrooms.

These days, videoconferencing can be found in cloud-based computing environments.

The benefits of videoconferencing include: increasing productivity, reducing costs and the hassles of traveling while enhancing relationships among employees, customers and partners.

Cloud-based videoconferencing brings additional benefits, including:

  • Rapid deployment.
  • Lower capital costs.
  • Easier maintenance (since that’s often handled by cloud providers).
  • Ability to handle thousands of diverse endpoints, including PCs, room systems (including legacy systems) and mobile devices.

An important benefit of cloud-based videoconferencing is scalability. One-on-one video chats via free services are fine when talking with family members or friends, but the quality of the experience can be less than impressive. What’s worse, if you need to connect to multiple people on a single call. With other solutions, the number of endpoints on a call is limited by the capacity of the Multipoint Control Unit (MCU), which can often be expensive, using inflexible hardware appliances.

But now, your company or your cloud provider can link any number of Avistar C3 Conference MCUs, because we’ve developed the industry first all-software MCU, which is more cost-effective, easily upgradeable and more flexible. Each of our all-software MCUs can run on physical or virtual servers in the data center, and together these MCUs form one virtual “mega-MCU” that accommodates all your endpoints. You can scale up or scale down, based on demand—something only an all-software MCU can do.  The result: scalability that is essentially unlimited, whether deployed in-house or via the cloud.

As you add more endpoints, the Avistar virtual MCU gets more efficient.  Avistar C3 Conference also delivers critical multiparty video conferencing features such as transcoding and transrating for each participant in every conference.  The experience perfectly matches the capabilities of each endpoint and no resources are wasted. This is important because with some solutions, a critical question is whether your network can handle the back-and-forth nature of video traffic. Our built-in bandwidth solutions have it covered.

This changes a lot. Now enterprise quality videoconferencing can be achieved at cost point that is a fraction of what “quality” videoconferencing used to cost. And now capacity can seamlessly follow demand without the burden and cost of over-provisioning in order to ensure that service capacity is matching demand. It’s a whole new way of thinking about videoconferencing. Think about it!

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A Job Well Done – Frost & Sullivan Product Innovation Award

Jan 10, 2012 8:35 am   |   Leave a Comment

Avistar has been recognized by Frost & Sullivan with the 2011 Global New Product Innovation Award in Desktop Videoconferencing.

The Avistar C3 Integrator™ solution has been designed to deliver a scalable desktop videoconferencing experience within virtual desktop infrastructures (VDI). Avistar’s approach to detecting the VDI deployment, automatically extending its media processing capabilities to the endpoint, while its desktop videoconferencing application runs within the virtual desktop, has been recognized by Frost & Sullivan as an important innovation in the desktop videoconferencing industry. In addition Frost & Sullivan has recognized the Avistar C3 Conference™ solution for its ability to provide on-demand multiparty conferencing capabilities within virtualized and cloud solutions.  

Stephen Epstein, CMO, Avistar, said, “Avistar has long been committed to delivering reliable, scalable and secure desktop videoconferencing solutions to its enterprise clients and technology partners. Because of this, Avistar clearly recognized the technical challenges as the unified communications (UC) and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) sectors started to converge. We’ve successfully developed and subsequently deployed the industry’s leading suite of virtual visual communications solutions to enterprises globally. This success and the growing demand for virtual visual communications led Citrix to license Avistar’s technology, which in turn has been recognized by Frost & Sullivan. Our innovation and leadership in this industry is vital to our long-term growth and success. Being recognized with this award not only makes us proud of our achievements, but it also leaves us with a great sense of accomplishment.”

Rob Arnold, Senior Analyst at Frost & Sullivan, said, “VDI solutions have proven to be effective methods of centralizing business productivity and line-of-business applications. However, bandwidth and performance challenges have hampered many attempts to support real-time communications applications in VDI environments. Avistar has addressed these issues by allowing organizations to reap the operational and user benefits of both VDI and videoconferencing simultaneously.”

Congratulations to everyone on the Avistar team for a job very well done.

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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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