Moving Cloud Based Video Collaboration into the 21 st Century

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1 Moving Cloud Based Video Collaboration into the 21 st Century Copyright 2013 Virtual Huddle Limited Page 1

2 Introduction The Internet has taken visual communications, audio and videoconferencing, and collaboration into mainstream daily use whether in the business world or in the consumer world. The advent of video communication applications and social networking solutions such as Facebook, Google, Skype, Apple Face Time and dozens of other services, has resulted in consumers and workers all over the world becoming familiar with the multiple benefits derived from seeing colleagues, customers, partners, friends, family and suppliers during meetings and conversations. However, most technology in this area is very limited in its functionality particularly where there is a requirement for real time collaboration. Many enterprises are still struggling to have users adopt videoconferencing and collaboration because of the complexity of the systems and the inflexibility caused by forcing workers to use special equipment in special rooms on special networks, as well as the extensive cost of such solutions. However, there are new solutions that are being made available in the market that are altering these dynamics rapidly and are providing users with solutions that better meet their needs. New video collaboration solutions particularly those that are Cloud based are simplifying matters and enabling improved internal and external business collaboration, for example in more efficient recruiting (see Huddlerecruit.com), streamlined business-to-business (B2B) and business-to consumer (B2C) communications as well as a wide range of distance learning and training applications. Video Collaboration (Deployment Options) Companies have three key strategy choices when implementing a video collaboration solution: Inhouse installation, MSP, and Cloud. In some cases, customers are finding it advantageous to combine more than one strategy in a hybrid or blended approach for video collaboration. In House Installation: The In-house Installation strategy is the traditional approach. The customer purchases the necessary video infrastructure and deploys the hardware and software in its premises (or in a data centre 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 in House Installation strategy was supposed to provide the highest level of security and control since the resources are not shared and no outside personnel are typically involved. MSP: With the MSP (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 MSP's data centre. The primary advantage here, since running and managing a video collaboration deployment is one of the MSP's core business, is that the MSP provides a level of expertise generally not available within an end user organization. Hence the MSP is better able to help 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. Copyright 2013 Virtual Huddle Limited Page 2

3 Cloud: In the cloud approach (also commonly known as "hosted"), the service provider owns and manages the infrastructure and the required software, and delivers the application as a service. As many of today's users are already aware, the Internet has enabled a wide range of cloud-based services for IT applications and communications services. Now customers are looking at cloud-based solutions for video collaboration as well. Cloud-based solutions in general provide customers with several critical benefits: Capital Expenditure reduction and Cash flow benefits: 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, video collaboration solutions without a long term commitment. In addition, companies are able to treat the cost of these services as an operating cost. This also provides significant cash flow benefits as a large upfront cash outlay is not typically required. Scalability: Scaling in house infrastructure to meet current and anticipated future needs is always a difficult and expensive proposition. Deploying too much infrastructure is wasteful, but also deploying insufficient infrastructure can jeopardize the user experience or mean that a user need 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, cloud-based 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 many pricing programs designed to eliminate customers' budget surprises. Video Collaboration (Deployment Considerations) The in House model is best suited to those customers who wish to maintain control of their own destiny for security, business process integration, or any other concerns. This strategy requires handling everything within the company and generally fits a very large company with many systems and complex requirements that demand an internal IT support team. In essence, the IT support organization becomes a service provider within the larger enterprise. The managed service provider approach allows the customer to own the infrastructure and software, without having to shoulder the burden of managing the technology and supporting the video collaboration meetings. This is ideal for customers who want sophisticated video collaboration solutions, but do not want to be distracted from focusing on their core competencies. A 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 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. Copyright 2013 Virtual Huddle Limited Page 3

4 Virtual Huddle - Cutting Edge Technology To a large degree current state of video conferencing technologies can be described as in a state of flux. The advent of H.264-based codecs incorporated in some form over the last 10 years by most video streaming solutions has led to a boom in video delivery over IP-based networks. This market is at the crossroads at this point however, due in part to the proliferation and ubiquity of mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones as an end point for delivery to consumers. This is a major reason for the most popular video delivery format,' flex, phased out in favour of a newer HTML5-based delivery. The challenge is however in cross-browser and cross-device compatibility: whilst flash is still the most widely supported format for browser-based delivery, it is not supported on mobile devices (tablets and smartphones). At the same time, support for HTML5 in mainstream browsers is anything but uniform, in part due to relative immaturity of the HTML5 standard itself. Virtual Huddle streaming solution recognizes this state of affairs; it is designed to uniformly support desktop browsers and mobile devices whilst seamlessly switching between protocols to best accommodate the platform being used by an end user. Furthermore, the core IPTV technologies developed to date target the use case of one-way video delivery. Even though they have a fair degree of sophistication needed to accommodate varying available bandwidth and the like requirements (such as support for adaptive multiple bitrate streaming), they are not suitable for interactive video applications where every millisecond of latency is crucial. This challenge has been successfully tackled by Virtual Huddle to provide quality user experience for multiple-participant video conferencing with ability to record meetings in conjunction with all form of collaboration that take place simultaneously. Virtual Huddle - The Next Generation Video Collaboration Platform Virtual Huddle has recently launched its multipurpose next generation video collaboration platform that provides a video meeting place in the cloud. Virtual Huddle brings together a number of key attributes for the business and consumer video collaboration user: Virtual Huddle is a cloud-based service. Virtual Huddle provides exceptionally strong video conferencing and collaboration capabilities. Virtual Huddle is easy to use and users can be up and running within a few minutes. Virtual Huddle provides easy to use collaboration tools such as a shared whiteboard and document sharing and collaboration tools. Virtual Huddle provides the ability to record all meetings and collaboration so that you can share any meetings with interested parties. Virtual Huddle is a very secure platform and adopts the latest security protocols. Virtual Huddle provides very capable post production recording and editing capabilities. Virtual Huddle supports meeting recording sharing. Virtual Huddle delivers six crucial benefits to customers. Copyright 2013 Virtual Huddle Limited Page 4

5 Benefit 1: Ease of Use Virtual Huddle is designed to be a self-service video collaboration platform. Hence, ease of use was a key design criterion. All participants connect into the meeting at the appropriate time by clicking on a link. Virtual Huddle provides each invitee with an invite that explains exactly how to connect depending on the system the user will be using. Anyone can join the meeting; only the host need be a subscriber. Meeting participants need to have only Internet access and a web cam. With Virtual Huddle users can join a Virtual Huddle videoconference directly from a web browser - there is no need to download or install any other software. Benefit 2: 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 Virtual Huddle s distributed highend data centre infrastructure, network and server deployments optimized for low delay and tight lip synch. Copyright 2013 Virtual Huddle Limited Page 5

6 Benefit 3: Simple and Effective Cost & Support Structure Because Virtual Huddle 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, Virtual Huddle 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. Copyright 2013 Virtual Huddle Limited Page 6

7 Benefit 4: Supports Collaboration Video conferencing isn t always 100% about video. Business meetings, customer presentations, and training sessions often involve some form of collaboration, e.g. whiteboard chalk talk, presentation review and the like. Virtual Huddle supports these and other forms of collaboration with each interaction being recorded synchronously with video if required. Our document sharing capability supports many document types such as doc(x), pdf, ppt, png, vsd and jpeg amongst others. The principal value of a Virtual Huddle meeting is in its being fundamentally similar to a faceto-face one. Benefit #5: Supports Meeting Recording & Post Production Editing The Virtual Huddle platform allows meetings to be recorded as if a video camera is in the virtual meeting room recording all the interaction that takes place in the meeting. The meeting recording can then be edited in post-production so that only the relevant meeting components need be circulated to other parties. It however always retains an unedited version of the meeting for audit and compliance purposes. Benefit #6: Supports Meeting Recording Sharing The power of the Virtual Huddle Meeting platform means that any authorised interested party can be given access to the meeting recording so that they can understand what took place in the meeting and not miss out from not being present in the original meeting. This provides increased collaboration capabilities as non-meeting attendees can now also provide feedback to meetings they were unable to attend. The Virtual Huddle platform represents the next-generation of capabilities for video collaboration. Virtual Huddle is a low-risk, high-performance cloud-based service that eliminates up-front investment costs for customers, enables communications between enterprise-class and consumerlevel systems, and provides an extremely easy-to-use platform for video collaboration. Virtual Huddle can enable any customer to realize the benefits of video collaboration when connecting to clients, colleagues, partners, friends, family or customers. Summary Video Collaboration continues to evolve with new technologies and new devices (such as smartphones and tablets) that bring the benefits of video collaboration to ever larger audiences. Customers today have options depending on their needs for security, cost control, flexibility, timeto-market, and other goals. Cloud-based services offer customers important advantages with respect to reduced CAPEX and shorter time-to-deployment. The Virtual Huddle platform combines advanced videoconferencing and collaboration benefits with the advantages of cloud-based services. Its sophisticated online experience brings efficiency of an in-person meeting to a virtual one! Copyright 2013 Virtual Huddle Limited Page 7

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