Some three months ago I’ve written about a new and amazing feature we announced at InfoComm 2010 – Telepresence Interoperability. And while these two words – Telepresence and Interoperability – have been greatly used, and greatly abused, in the past few years, I’m glad to say that RADVISION has taken its telepresence interoperability “by the book”. And I wanted to dedicate this post to give you some details about it.
Everyone agrees that the video conferencing market is strongly reliant on interoperability. In fact, everything was going very well with interoperability until telepresence systems came out. From that day on, it was a complete chaos – some vendors worked with other vendors, some systems worked with other systems from the same vendors, and most were just big, expensive silos, that made inter-company (and sometimes inter-office) communications almost impossible.
I won’t debate again on what telepresence is (and what it’s not). In general, by “telepresence” we mean multi-camera, multi-screen, multi-stream systems, and the interoperability part is caused by exactly that – each vendor has its own interpretation of how this is coded, packaged and sent the other way, including the logics for layouts and other aspects of the call.
As RADVISION strongly believes that interoperability is vital for any product to succeed, we chose to go with the MCU approach, where the MCU serves (as in many other cases) as the “babel fish” of the video conferencing network, “translating” between different vendors, telepresence systems, “regular” video conferencing systems, etc.
This, of course, involves a lot of work and a lot of know-how. But as a leader in the visual communications market, RADVISION is the natural choice for the job. And as a result, today our SCOPIA Elite MCU can connect practically any video conferencing system, be it telepresence or not, from almost any vendor, into one multi-party conference, and offer the same meeting experience as one would expect in the old “silo” network.
Yaniv Levi, Product Manager for SCOPIA Elite, explains
about Telepresence Interoperability at InfoComm 2010.
Seamless, Unified Communications
The list of vendors and products is impressive: Cisco’s CTS Telepresence systems, LifeSize’s Conference, Polycom’s RPX and TPX and Tandberg’s T series. All of those, and a few more that are in the queue, are supported.
Add to that the fact that with the Elite MCU, our best-of-breed, high quality, high performance conferencing bridge, you can connect to the meeting using any room system, desktop, mobile device and unified communications clients, such as Microsoft Office Communicator, IBM Sametime or Alcatel-Lucent My Teamwork, with our without SVC capabilities, and you can get a sense of how this feature really unifies your communications means.
But it’s not just interop work in terms of protocols. We have invested a lot of effort in giving the user the best video layout:
If you’re on a telepresence system, you’ll still enjoy the immersive experience you’re used to.
If you’re on a regular high definition system, you can communicate with the telepresence systems in your natural layouts.
And I can tell you that seeing a telepresence room in our unique “panoramic” layout, or seeing some high definition system on the screen in a telepresence room, really makes the experience look amazing. Even “magical”.
So now you can schedule the conference on your Elite MCU, and connect all your visual communication means to one single conference. Our management suite, iView, lets you easily define the telepresence experience, and from there on it’s a smooth sail in the visual communications waters. You can, of course, control the conference just like you are used to, including our advanced control features, such as our conference control app for the iPad or iPhone.
So whether you’re considering using visual communications for the first time, or if you are already heavily invested in visual communications and want the most interoperable and impressive solution, the SCOPIA Elite MCU is now a winning solution, allowing enterprises to easily and cost effectively connect telepresence and high definition systems to their video network, as well as software clients, desktop systems, etc.
As I’ve written in the original post, when we first announced this great initiative, this is the exciting thing about this new feature – it lets you communicate with whatever means you want, crossing old boundaries, such as vendor or product type, to really maximize your investment.
If you haven’t seen a demo yet, I strongly suggest you book one. As usually with video, seeing is believing, and after you see this great new feature, I’m sure you’ll look no further.