The Size of Videoconferencing & BYOD

Jun 01, 2012 4:11 am   |   Leave a Comment

It took two generations to pack the capabilities of a room-size computer into the form factor of a PC. It took about 15 years to whittle down a briefcase-sized phone into a pocket-sized smartphone (that has computing power beyond those initial room-size computers).

Still in just about five years, videoconferencing went from expensive room-size systems to smartphones.  It’s been an amazingly fast transition, even by tech standards.

According to Shyam Krishnan, Industry Analyst at Frost & Sullivan, “Faster, smarter, and more capable smart phones and the emergence of collaboration-ready enterprise tablets is fueling the interest in mobile videoconferencing.”

In today’s BYOD mindset, the 1 billion mobile workers demand the mobility and flexibility of consumer technologies into the enterprise world, expecting to use tools that make them more productive and connected – a trend that has change the face of enterprise communications much faster than estimates from 12 months ago had anticipated.

One key difference between the decreasing footprint of technology is that, as Krishnan has pointed out, “the size of the portable device will impact how effectively it can be used for videoconferencing… especially for multiparty sessions, because of the limitations of screen real estate combined with the vibration from being hand held.”

Of course, with their larger screen size, tablets provide a solution for multiparty calls on mobile devices. But bandwidth requirements remain a critical issue – as does the growing monthly carrier fees for bandwidth-intensive apps like videoconferencing.

Another problem can be the optimization of videoconferencing depending on the angle of the phone. When users switch from landscape to portrait and back again, the change needs to be seamless no matter if one person uses an iPhone, another uses a Blackberry and a third an Android model.

Here at Avistar, our all-software MCU approach is designed to address issues such as available device real estate to support a multiparty video conference, non compatible media types and codecs, screen orientation and other factors that complicate the goal of providing seamless videoconferencing on a mobile device.

Meanwhile, our bandwidth management solution ensures networks use bandwidth more efficiently.  Importantly, with our technology, employees can continue to place videoconference calls while IT departments can be sure that critical applications on the network are stable and won’t crash.

Last year, Krishnan commented that it would be interesting to find out whether BYOD-enabled employees would swap out “a life-like and immersive communications experience” for “readily available, acceptable high quality images and anytime access.” In 2012, especially as we enter summer months when employees may be on vacation but still need to be in touch with the office, customers and partners, we think the answer is a clear yes.

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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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