Editor's Note: While video conferencing adoption in the enterprise is increasing rapidly, few IT architects have deployed dedicated video management software to help mitigate the challenges of supporting high-quality video conferencing tools and content. In the fifth and final part of our Expert Lesson on video conferencing, Katherine Trost, research analyst with Nemertes Research, looks at ways to manage the growing complexity of video conferencing applications, including the value of dedicated video management tools and SIP-based video solutions. She also explores how managed service providers (MSPs) can provide end-to-end video management, including video storage and distribution.
Don't miss the rest of this Expert Lesson on video conferencing tools, technology and solutions:
- Video conferencing adoption: Tracking trends and deployment strategies
- A closer look at video conferencing solutions, technology and vendors
- Video conferencing standards and interoperability considerations
- SIP video conferencing systems: A standardized approach to integration
- Deploying video management software can aid video conferencing support
Deploying video management software can aid video conferencing support
by Katherine Trost, Research Analyst, Nemertes Research
Extending video to the organization can present considerable challenges for IT organizations and opportunities for managed service providers (MSPs). Video conferencing demands not only low latency and reliable network performance, but also large amounts of video conferencing bandwidth, especially to support high-definition (HD) and telepresence platforms and services. HD systems using video resolution standards like 720p or 1080p at 30 frames per second (fps) will typically require 1 Mbps to 2 Mbps per screen, while telepresence systems operating at 1080p/60 fps could require as much as 6 Mbps per screen.
Most IT managers we spoke with have not made any investment in video management software specifically dedicated to maintaining video quality. Instead, they rely on a combination of overlay bandwidth for telepresence and class-of-service prioritization for other video applications. These solutions lack in-depth video reporting and video management tools to support Quality of Experience metrics such as pixilation, drop-outs or dropped video sessions. For that reason, IT managers are looking increasingly to MSPs to deliver guaranteed bandwidth for IP video, IP video management and on-site support for remote locations.
Video management software, tools boost video storage, distribution markets
The growth in video conferencing also leads to video management opportunities for vendors in the video storage and distribution space. Nemertes finds that once an organization begins deploying video conferencing, especially desktop video conferencing, interest grows in video messaging, user-generated video and video streaming. Examples include training sessions, project status updates to team members and executive announcements.
Supporting an increase in stored video applications presents opportunities for video distribution system vendors and hosted service providers, as well as for service providers capable of delivering caching and content delivery offerings, to ease bandwidth demands associated with stored video distribution. New collaboration platforms from vendors like Cisco, Kontiki and VBrick, along with support for video in document-collaboration applications such as Microsoft SharePoint, will only drive the need to support storage and distribution of video.
Conclusion: Video conferencing's present and future
The growth of video presents significant opportunities and challenges in areas such as video management, network management, bandwidth provisioning, system integration and technology selection. Enterprise IT architects who address video conferencing as part of an overall unified communications architecture are best positioned to deliver a solution that enables greater internal and external collaboration. Enterprise architects should actively plan for increased use of video, building business cases focused on travel-cost mitigation and improved operations from better collaboration.
The migration of video conferencing systems to SIP offers the potential to enable seamless integration of disparate systems and hosted services using a common signaling protocol optimized for IP. Adopting SIP-based solutions sets the groundwork for interoperable voice, video and collaboration applications that make up the key elements of unified communications architecture. IT architects should plan for a SIP-based future for all video conferencing tools and systems and understand the limitations and challenges of migration and the challenges around interoperability of proprietary and early-standard encapsulation protocols.
Organizations should evaluate MSPs to deliver guaranteed bandwidth for IP video, IP video management and on-site support for remote locations. This type of end-to-end management requirement will favor large carriers or system integrators over the smaller, regional MSPs, as the provider will need to monitor and manage the WAN (in addition to the application) or partner with someone to do so.
Read more on video conferencing, including articles on video conferencing adoption trends; a closer look at the various components of video conferencing tools, technology and vendors; a review of video conferencing standards and interoperability considerations; and how SIP-based video conferencing can smooth the UC-video integration process.
About the author: Katherine Trost is a research analyst with Nemertes Research, where she focuses primarily on managed and professional services. She develops and manages research projects, conducts strategic seminars, and advises enterprises, vendors, resellers and service providers. Katherine's primary areas of expertise include hosted, managed and professional IT services, as well as channel strategies. Her secondary areas include contact centers, UC trends, enterprise and SMB organizational best practices, and branch-office strategies.
This was first published in May 2011