Serious excitement surrounds the SMB (small to medium-size business) video conferencing space these days. In June and July alone, no fewer than eight companies – 8x8, Blue Jeans Network, BroadSoft, InFocus, LifeSize, Polycom, Telesphere and Vidtel – announced new hardware, services, tie-ups or some combination thereof. All of the announcements represented significant investments of time, effort and resources. And together, they indicated a widespread optimism that the market is about to take off.
Even in pre-takeoff mode, though, the market has already spawned a hefty body of conventional wisdom. Most of it takes the form of ardent convictions surrounding clouds and interoperability. One of these is the belief that cloud solutions are the ideal way to meet almost every SMB video conferencing need. A related one is faith that providing interoperability is the surest route to success for cloud providers. A new VoIP Evolution report, SMB Video Conferencing: Getting Beyond Clouds & Interoperability, both explains why it's necessary to get beyond such conventional wisdom, and provides a method for doing so.
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Being able to make high-quality video conference calls as easily as regular phone calls represents a big improvement over the status quo. On one hand, it eliminates the aggravation of having to reserve a special video conference room and/or bridge, as with traditional video conferencing systems. On the other, it helps companies avoid the disappointing quality that often accompanies more-flexible services based on Web cams and PCs.
Vidtel's hosted video conferencing service provides such convenient, high-quality video conferencing on its own. But being able to make such video calls as an integrated part of a rich-featured phone service is even better, bringing the promise of unified communications closer to reality. A new tie-up between Vidtel and hosted VoIP provider SimpleSignal provides just such integrated capability.
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By now we know a lot of details about why HD voice calls are better than conventional phone calls. We've heard how the PSTN cuts off much of the audio range human conversation usually employs, making it hard to distinguish between fricatives such as s and f, and to understand people with different accents. We know that straining to fill in the words and phrases we can't understand produces listener fatigue and makes conference calls an ordeal.
All this information is evidence that the HD voice promoters have done a good job of getting the word out about their favored technology. But we don't have the same kind of information about why video calling is better than voice calling. The general assumption seems to be that everyone understands the benefit of video communication intuitively. In reality, understanding is limited, because detailed information is in short supply.
Continue reading "Why Video Conferencing Needs a Better Story" »
Making a video call, particularly one with good video quality, is a lot more complicated than making a voice call. No one system or service ties together all types of video communication equipment and users in a single network like the PSTN. In order to communicate, callers must have compatible equipment, network setups and/or software. They must also use the same method for identifying and connecting to other users. It's a far cry from just picking up a phone and dialing.
Continue reading "Vidtel Aims to Take the Complexity Out of Video Communication" »