Video Collaboration in the Cloud

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1 WHITEPAPER Video Collaboration in the Cloud Taking videoconferencing interoperability and ease-of-use to the next level Andrew W. Davis March 2012 Sponsored by: Copyright 2012 Wainhouse Research, LLC Page 1

2 Introduction The Internet has taken visual communications and videoconferencing into the mainstream. Between Facebook, Google, Skype, and dozens of other services, consumers and workers the world over have become familiar with the multiple benefits derived from seeing colleagues, customers, partners, and suppliers during meetings and conversations. Yet, large and small enterprises are still struggling to have users adopt videoconferencing because of the complexity of the systems and the inflexibility caused by forcing workers to use special equipment in special rooms on special networks. New solutions, however, are changing these dynamics and are providing information workers with solutions that better meet their needs. New videoconferencing deployment strategies are simplifying matters and enabling improved internal business collaboration, more efficient recruiting, streamlined business-to-business (B2B) and business-to consumer (B2C) communications as well as a wide range of distance learning and training applications. Visual Communications Deployment Options Large and small enterprises have three fundamental strategy choices when implementing a visual communications solution: CPE, MSP, and Cloud. In some cases, customers are finding it advantageous to combine more than one strategy in a hybrid or blended approach for visual communications. CPE: The CPE (customer premises equipment) strategy is the traditional approach. The customer purchases the necessary endpoints and video infrastructure and deploys the hardware and software on its premises (or in a co-lo facility but behind its corporate firewall and on its data network). This involves not only an upfront capital investment, but also an on-going investment in people and network and processes to provide the technical support needed for highly successful video meetings. Because the customer owns and operates the hardware and software, the CPE strategy provides the highest level of security and control since the resources are not shared and no outside personnel are typically involved. MSP: With the vmsp (video managed service provider) strategy, the customer owns the solution, but the service provider operates and manages it. The equipment itself can be located in the customer's facility, at a co-location spot, or in the vmsp's network operations center. The primary advantage here, since running a visual communications deployment is the vmsp's core business, is that the vmsp provides a level of expertise generally not available within an end user organization. Hence the vmsp is better able to help real end users schedule and launch video meetings. This, in turn, drives utilization and helps customers get an improved return on their communications investments. Managed service providers can leverage costly resources, people, processes and equipment across multiple clients. This allows the cost:benefit ratio to be much lower than that of a single organization using dedicated resources. Cloud: In the cloud approach (also commonly known as "hosted"), the service provider owns and manages the specialized equipment (hosted) and/or communications software (cloud), and delivers the application as a service. As many of today's information workers are already aware, the Internet has enabled a wide range of cloud-based services for IT applications and voice communications; now savvy Copyright 2012 Wainhouse Research, LLC Page 2

3 customers are looking at cloud-based solutions for videoconferencing as well. Cloud-based solutions in general provide customers with several critical benefits: CAPEX reduction: Cloud-based solutions are pure services solutions. Typically, the customer does not have to purchase any equipment up-front in order to start using these services. This situation not only simplifies cash flow, it also reduces risk and enables the customer to trial visual communications solutions without a commitment. Scalability: Scaling customer premises (CPE) infrastructure to meet current and anticipated future needs is always a tricky proposition. Deploying too much infrastructure is wasteful; deploying not enough can jeopardize the user experience or mean that a request cannot be fulfilled. Cloud-based services are designed by the service provider to scale to meet customer needs and to eliminate any customer concerns with capacity. Reliability: Whether your business is in manufacturing, financial services, healthcare, or high technology, deploying and managing an IT function or a communications infrastructure is unlikely to be your core business proposition. However, offering a cloud-based service is the core business for the cloud service provider. Therefore, in order to succeed and prosper, cloudbased service providers must make it their business to offer the reliability their customers demand. Cost control: Most cloud-based services are offered on easy-to-understand service plans with pricing programs designed to eliminate customers' budget surprises. Customer Deployment Considerations The CPE model is best suited to those customers who view technology such as videoconferencing or telepresence as a competitive edge and wish to maintain control of their own destiny for security, business process integration, or other concerns. This strategy requires handling everything within the company and generally fits a large company with many systems and complex requirements that demand an internal support team. In essence, the conferencing management team or the IT support organization becomes a service provider within the larger enterprise. Alternatively the CPE strategy could suit a small organization with just a couple of video users who have simple needs and limited technical support requirements. The managed service approach allows the customer to own the video hardware and software, without having to shoulder the burden of managing the technology and supporting the video meetings. This is ideal for customers who want sophisticated visual communications solutions, but do not want to be distracted from focusing on their core competencies. A video MSP not only frees up the internal support organization by eliminating on-premises management, help desk, and maintenance costs, but also provides a higher quality user experience and helps drive adoption. The cloud strategy is ideal for those customers who want to minimize risk and internal staffing requirements, speed time to market, and reduce or avoid up-front investments in equipment, software, and network. Note, however, that the cloud strategy requires that customers be satisfied with a Copyright 2012 Wainhouse Research, LLC Page 3

4 standard offering and with using resources that are shared by multiple customers, including potential competitors. Cloud customers can achieve a competitive advantage by the way they use cloud services, but not from the cloud service capabilities themselves; these features and functions are available to all cloud customers. CPE MSP Cloud Up front CAPEX Yes Yes No Monthly recurring usage fee No Sometimes Yes Installation and monthly maintenance fees Yes Yes No Security V High High Medium Scalability Low Medium High Infrastructure equipment Dedicated Dedicated/Shared Shared Customization options High Medium Low Internal staffing required High Medium V. Low Implementation time Long Medium Long Short Core competencies required High Medium None Risk avoidance Low Low High Accessibility High High Firewall Figure 1 Visual communications deployment options Dependent Solution Spotlight - VideoMeet Deutsche Telekom, the sponsor of this whitepaper, recently introduced the VideoMeet service, a video meeting place in the cloud. Much more than the traditional and familiar "meet-me video bridge," VideoMeet brings together three key attributes for the enterprise videoconferencing user: VideoMeet is a cloud-based service. VideoMeet provides exceptionally strong videoconferencing interoperability. VideoMeet is offered by Deutsche Telekom, one of the world's leading carriers and communications service providers. VideoMeet delivers five crucial benefits to customers. Benefit #1: Extreme interoperability VideoMeet can connect users running multiple protocols on multiple devices. Interoperability between callers on industry standard H.323 and SIP systems from Cisco, Polycom, Lifesize, Radvision, and others as well as Microsoft Lync, Skype, Google Talk and VideoMeet Connect means that meeting hosts do not have to concern themselves with the systems that others may be using, assuming NAT/firewall solutions are in place. Deutsche Telekom offers a firewall traversal service as part of the VideoMeet offering. VideoMeet also provides important connectivity to ISDN-based systems that are commonly used by enterprises throughout Europe. VideoMeet is unique in its ability to connect enterprise videoconferencing systems to the vast world of Skype and Google Talk users. Copyright 2012 Wainhouse Research, LLC Page 4

5 Benefit #2: Ease of Use VideoMeet is designed to be a self-service video collaboration service. Hence, ease of use was a key design criterion. VideoMeet is based on a meeting paradigm commonly known as a "meet me bridge." All participants simply call into the meeting at the appropriate time by clicking on a link. This is a familiar and simple process to anyone accustomed to audio or web conferences. VideoMeet provides each invitee with an that explains exactly how to connect depending on the system the user will be using. Anyone can join the meeting; Joining a VideoMeet session is as simple as clicking on a link in an invitation. only the host need be a subscriber. Meeting participants need have only Internet access and a videoconferencing system or software client and be able to traverse a firewall. With VideoMeet Connect, users can join a VideoMeet videoconference directly from a web browser - there is no need to download or install any other software. Copyright 2012 Wainhouse Research, LLC Page 5

6 Benefit #3: High Quality Audio and Video Users of web-based audio and video communications today are accustomed to high definition video and wideband audio. These rich media capabilities provide the quality of experience that supports clear, lifelike communications. Interactivity is also important - the ability to have uninterrupted and gap-free two-way conversations. Such interactivity is provided by Deutsche Telekom's distributed high-end network and server deployments optimized for low delay and tight lip synch. Copyright 2012 Wainhouse Research, LLC Page 6

7 Benefit #4: Simple and Effective Cost & Support Structure Because VideoMeet is a cloud based offering, there is no required hardware or software to be purchased. Instead, customers simply subscribe to the service. Customers have the flexibility to scale up and down as their needs change. In addition, Deutsche Telekom's cloud-based infrastructure offers enterprise-level security and local connection points around the globe and is supported by experienced staff who provide local support and customized billing and reporting. Benefit #5: Supports Data Collaboration The VideoMeet service provides customers infinite flexibility to scale up or down, with risk minimized by eliminating up-front costs Visual communications isn't always 100% about video. Business meetings, customer presentations, and training sessions often involve some form of data collaboration. VideoMeet supports H.239 on H.323 devices. Connectivity to Skype screen sharing is supported in both directions, including converting from Skype to H.239 and vice versa. Desktop presenting from Skype or H.239 to Google Talk and Microsoft Lync is supported in several resolutions. Deutsche Telekom's VideoMeet represents the next-generation of interoperability capabilities for visual communications. VideoMeet is a low-risk, high-performance cloud-based service that eliminates upfront investment costs for customers, enables communications between enterprise-class and consumergrade systems, and provides an extremely easy-to-use "meet me" paradigm for video calling. VideoMeet can enable any customer to realize the benefits of visual communications when connecting to clients, colleagues, partners, or customers. Copyright 2012 Wainhouse Research, LLC Page 7

8 Early Customer Results Leading strategic business consultancy Financial services firm Manufacturer of workboots and safety footwear Training and education provider The company's internal MCU is directly connected to VideoMeet, allowing all employees worldwide to use VideoMeet with their existing videoconferencing systems. Billing is done centrally. The customer is able to have a videoconference with any external partner from any office. The company uses VideoMeet for videoconferences with its parent company in the US and with external partners that they were unable to connect with previously. The company has many suppliers in eastern Europe. In the past it was not possible to videoconference with these partners because the partners did not have high end videoconferencing systems. By using VideoMeet, the customer and the suppliers are now able to dial in to conferences via Skype or Google Video Chat. The customer is still using his existing videoconferencing infrastructure. Thus the quality of communication has been improved and travel costs been reduced. The company was thinking about buying a video bridge for over 400,000 Euros. Instead, the customer opted for VideoMeet with its flexible costs and ability to bring in external participants. VideoMeet thus saves on overall costs and offers the customer's customers a better service. Summary Videoconferencing continues to evolve with new algorithms, new protocols, and new devices that bring the benefits of visual communications to ever larger audiences. And videoconferencing deployment models continue to evolve with the technology as well. Customers today have options depending on their needs for security, cost control, flexibility, time-to-market, and other goals. Deploying and managing the assets themselves has long been the traditional approach in the industry, but using video managed service provider experts and looking toward cloud-based services are two strategies that are continuing to gain users' attention. Cloud-based services offer customers important advantages with respect to reduced CAPEX and shorter time-to-deployment. VideoMeet from Deutsche Telekom combines advanced videoconferencing and collaboration benefits with the advantages of cloud-based services. About Wainhouse Research Wainhouse Research, is an independent market research firm that focuses on critical issues in the Unified Communications and rich media conferencing fields, including applications like distance education and e-learning. The company conducts multi-client and custom research studies, consults with end users on key implementation issues, publishes white papers and market statistics, and delivers public and private seminars as well as speaker presentations at industry group meetings. Wainhouse Research publishes a variety of reports that cover all aspects of rich media conferencing, and the free newsletter, The Wainhouse Research Bulletin. About Deutsche Telekom Deutsche Telekom is one of the world s leading integrated telecommunications companies with over 129 million mobile customers, 34 million fixed-network lines and approximately 17 million broadband lines (as of December 31, 2011). The Group provides products and services for the fixed network, mobile Copyright 2012 Wainhouse Research, LLC Page 8

9 communications, the Internet and IPTV for consumers, and ICT solutions for business customers and corporate customers. Deutsche Telekom is present in around 50 countries and has over 235,000 employees worldwide. The Group generated revenues of EUR 58.7 billion in the 2011 financial year - more than half of it outside Germany. More information on Deutsche Telekom and VideoMeet can be found at Copyright 2012 Wainhouse Research, LLC Page 9

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