Voice, video, Web conferencing brings global business together

Voice, video and Web conferencing from Interwise has become as important as email to one global company, whose employees -- in 60 countries -- all need to stay in contact.

Integraph had a problem. The company needed to upgrade its 2003 Exchange server in a foreign office, but the IT

staff at that office didn't have the expertise necessary to make that happen.

Also, the Huntsville, Ala.-based company really didn't want to eat the costs of sending a crew over there for the upgrade.

Instead, a team of experts got together through a videoconference and collaborated on the process, and the upgrade was complete. It was really that simple, and the job was done in much less time and at much less expense than could have been the case.

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Using voice, video and Web conferencing from Interwise, Integraph was able to have IT in another location take control of the Exchange server console and perform the necessary configuration updates to make everything right as rain, said Bill Johnson, vice president of global IT for Integraph, which takes complex data and transforms it into visual presentations for emergency dispatch systems.

Integraph used Interwise's latest conferencing platform, Interwise Connect version 7, which the vendor announced this month at Interop Las Vegas.

According to Neil Lieberman, Interwise's marketing vice president, conferencing has become a necessary business tool to keep dispersed workforces together.

"It's a technology that's ready to join email as a core technology that everyone in a company gets," Lieberman said. "If you can find good use for email, you have good use for conferencing."

Interwise Connect is an IP-based conferencing application designed specifically for deployments of 1,000 to 100,000, or more. It's based on an unlimited-use fixed price per user model and integrates with IT infrastructures, IP PBX systems, and other applications. It is a single application for audio conferences, Web meetings, virtual classes, webcasts, broadcasts, and on-demand recordings. Interwise does this without PBX and phone overhauls.

Interwise Connect 7 can integrate with Lotus Notes, LDAP/Active Directory, Microsoft Outlook, reverse proxy, single sign-on, SAP Portal, EMC Documentum eRoom, and Citrix Terminal Server, and it is also certified for integration with Nortel Networks' CS1000 IP PBX.

It's a technology that's ready to join email as a core technology that everyone in a company gets.
Neil Lieberman
Marketing Vice PresidentInterwise

Version 7 also features new deployment and configuration tools, including support for standards-based monitoring and enhanced policy enforcement controls. On the security side, it features reverse proxy support for secure authentication, closed meeting options that use assigned IDs and passwords, and SSL/HTTPS support for all Web-based user administration content.

The blended deployment option leverages a distributed server architecture, combining cost and security of on-site software with overflow and failover protection from a hosted network. Interwise traffic can also be prioritized in Quality of Service (QoS) and MPLS environments and efficiently uses bandwidth, reducing the traffic load between servers to 35 Kbps for VoIP and 5 Kbps for TDM users. Bandwidth consumption is further reduced by the Voice Activity Detection for PC and phone participants, which can chop bandwidth in half for some users, meaning that high-traffic meetings will not negatively affect other critical network activities and meetings.

"Users need better, more collaborative tools that can empower innovation and success," Interwise president and CEO Frank Zvi said in a statement. "When our customers integrate Interwise Connect with their email, calendaring and LDAP systems, it literally sets conferencing free into the business .… Because making conferencing a core business application erases metered usage, users freely apply the application to nearly all types of interactions, often opting out of traditional meetings in favor of a Web meeting …."

Integraph has employees in 60 countries. Needless to say, it's almost impossible to get this distributed workforce together in one room or on one conference call.

Granted, there aren't too many times when the entire 3,500 strong company needs to gather, but it could happen, and Integraph wants to be ready. The company is working on licensing Interwise for every single employee to use in offices from the U.S. and Canada to the Netherlands and Australia.

"We're trying to reduce conferencing costs and trying to globalize IT operations and business operations," Johnson said.

Conference calls were costing the company boatloads of money, especially the long-distance costs for international employees, Johnson added. He said that Interwise gives employees access to functionality they never had before, and within Integraph it has become a daily-use tool much like telephones, laptops and desktops.

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