Audio/video (AV) and facilities management departments have traditionally handled video conferencing management within enterprises, which have regarded video conferencing as a completely separate application from the other elements of unified communications (UC) typically managed by IT. As the application grows in importance for enterprises and their branch office workers, the next logical step is to bring video conferencing management into the IT operations workflow, especially as enterprises begin to favor one simple interface for all UC management.
Bringing video conferencing management in line with other IT management systems is where the industry should be headed, said Ira Weinstein, partner and senior analyst at Wainhouse Research.
"Video conferencing has always existed in a silo," Weinstein said. "While it has been partnered with the IT department, it has been really treated as a separate application, which adds more work and more things to learn for the enterprise [IT pro]."
Video conferencing management in a multi-vendor environment
Because video conferencing has been managed so differently in the past, many enterprises have mixed vendor environments, Weinstein said. Any video conferencing management system will have to work with multiple vendors, he said.
IT management software company ScienceLogic this week announced the addition of video conferencing management capabilities to its IT monitoring and management platform. With the added capabilities, the platform can monitor an enterprise's entire IT infrastructure, including video conferencing, said Erik Rudin, senior director of product management at ScienceLogic.
The platform supports the mixed vendor environment, said Rudin, noting that Cisco Systems has been a customer of ScienceLogic for the past three years and utilizes the platform to remotely monitor Cisco TelePresence for some of its larger enterprise customers. The ScienceLogic platform also supports Polycom, Tandberg and LifeSize products.
"When we look at [UC] technologies like video, we start to see very specific products that do one thing very well," Rudin said, noting that this market dynamic presents integration challenges for the enterprise because of the number of different technologies IT must monitor and manage.
Enterprises should instead strive to manage applications quicker and with fewer resources, he added.
"Integrating all these products becomes a laborious task, so our approach is [to create] a single product: one database or platform model -- not different technologies," Rudin said.
ScienceLogic has approached video conferencing management from an IT operations standpoint -- a viewpoint very different than what the industry is used to seeing, Weinstein said.
"Because video conferencing has been handled as a separate application, it has left a big footprint on the network," he said. "Managing video in the IT space is the right move. It will make enterprises more comfortable with the application."
More on video conferencing management:
Video conferencing: How to manage bandwidth
Video management software to support video conferencing
Video must be integrated with UC tools
Video conferencing management: Ease of use promotes adoption
As video adoption grows, the application can overwhelm and strain IT resources. The mixed vendor environment can also complicate video conferencing management if handled separately by the enterprise.
Providing a single IT management platform that can support video conferencing is important, especially as many enterprises move toward remote and hosted infrastructures, Rudin said. The integration of UC and video conferencing management into one single interface for IT will help enterprises earn a quicker return on investment and encourage growth in video adoption, he said.
"Video is becoming a mission-critical application [for the enterprise]," Rudin said. "It should no longer be treated as an island."
"IT departments are going to be a fan of anything that makes this integration more comfortable," Weinstein said.
UC managers will be able to look at video with a new set of tools and will enjoy the benefit of taking an existing IT management tool that can pull video into it, Weinstein said.
"I think it will offer soft benefits for the enterprise, but bringing video in line with different tools IT is already [using] will definitely produce big benefits," he said.
Let us know what you think about the story; email: Gina Narcisi, News Writer.