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Startup Pexip introduces software-based video conferencing bridge

Pexip Infinity is a subscription-based, virtualized video conferencing bridge from the founders of Tandberg.

Pexip, a Norwegian video conferencing software startup launched by the co-founders of Cisco acquisition Tandberg, recently emerged from stealth mode with Pexip Infinity, a software-based platform that offers a virtualized video conferencing bridge to distributed enterprises.

Pexip's software-based video conferencing bridge will allow business to keep their communications securely on-premises while eliminating the costs of buying and maintaining specialized hardware, said Brent Kelly, vice president and principal analyst at Salt Lake City-based Constellation Research Inc.

Software video conferencing bridge: Eliminating the appliance

Despite a blossoming enterprise video conferencing market, enterprises are still running up against adoption barriers, regardless of whether they buy hardware or software, said Simen Teigre, CEO of Pexip. Video conferencing hardware is difficult to scale, and often requires full upgrades when new capabilities are released. At the other end of the market, video conferencing software architecture is not always distributed enough to support global offices, and may not support server virtualization, which conflicts with the data center strategies of many large enterprises, he said.

Communications infrastructure must also become more flexible to accommodate new endpoints and employee mobility, because video conferencing doesn't live just within the walls of the conference room anymore, Teigre said. "Businesses want to scale up [their] video conferencing tools to include remote users on mobile devices, but many current video conferencing offerings are not interoperable with all mobile devices and clients, like [Microsoft] Lync and WebRTC [Web Real-Time Communications]," he said.

Pexip Infinity will support any software client or endpoint, and its customers can deploy and manage it using existing IT infrastructure and virtualization tools.

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Video conferencing market leaders -- like Cisco and Polycom -- rely on hardware-based video bridging for multi-party video conferences, but Pexip has developed a software-based multi-point controller unit (MCU), which will allow Infinity to be highly scalable and interoperable with other clients, said Constellation Research's Kelly.

"Polycom has its 800s MCU offering that is virtual and scalable to some extent, but it's really a software incarnation of its hardware bridge," Kelly said. "Pexip has gone one step further with its software-based video bridging device built from the ground up that can be highly interoperable, even with WebRTC."

Pexip Infinity will also cut down hefty bandwidth costs associated with large-scale, distributed video conferencing, Kelly said. Enterprises can deploy the software in each data center so that calls are connected to the local server. And the servers create a communication flow over the WAN without repeating the video packets sent, reducing the bandwidth needed, he said.

Pexip Infinity presents options to the SMB market

Pexip will sell Infinity through its channel partners and through a re-occurring subscription-based model.

AVI-SPL, a Tampa, Fla.-based video communications partner and value-added reseller of Cisco and Polycom video conferencing products, will sell Pexip Infinity along with its Video Network Operations Center, or VNOC, offering as a virtual meeting room service for its business customers and service provider clients, said Mike Brandofino, executive vice president of video and UC at AVI-SPL.

"Historically, the tools available to service providers have been high-end, but really don't enable us to scale for all the devices that are out there," Brandofino said.

AVI-SPL will also be selling Pexip Infinity as an installed infrastructure offering for a client's private cloud or on-premises infrastructure. It will be affordable for smaller businesses, because they won't have to invest in the infrastructure for multi-point video conferencing, and they will be able to use any existing infrastructure, Brandofino said.

"This offering will help us offer [users] a way to get started with video conferencing … you can plug in any video codec and be able to use [Pexip Infinity] because it's not replacing any vendor products at the endpoint layer," he said.

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Gina Narcisi, news writer, and follow @GeeNarcisi on Twitter.

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