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Command Center tool provides visibility into Blue Jeans conferencing

Blue Jeans has introduced Command Center, a video analytics tool that provides visibility into Blue Jeans conferencing for IT teams.

Blue Jeans Networks has introduced Command Center, the vendor's first video reporting, troubleshooting and analytics tool that provides visibility into Blue Jeans conferencing for IT teams.

While high-end, room-based video conferencing and enterprise-grade video endpoints are often expensive and difficult to use, IT teams have always appreciated their service intelligence and performance monitoring features. Cloud-based video tools, on the other hand, are typically cheaper and easier to use, but lack operational visibility. Command Center from Blue Jeans will now provide IT with historical and real-time insight into their users' audio, video and Web-based conferences.

“Command Center gives me a tool that I never had before. Not only can I monitor and analyze my [video service] in real-time, but I can also go back in time and see exactly why a user may have had a good or bad conferencing experience -- and whether it’s a connection problem or a problem with the Blue Jeans service," said Dan Rosica, global IT program manager for The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) based in Henrietta, N.Y.

Video analytics enhance Blue Jeans conferencing for IT

Command Center from Blue Jeans is an add-on service that gives administrators the real-time and historic intelligence they need to better manage, measure and visualize their use of Blue Jeans' cloud-based and WebRTC-based services.

"There are two kinds of Blue Jeans customers. The first is the business user [who] conducts meetings with their [colleagues], partners and friends. The second in is the IT administrator who is responsible for supporting those users, but the cloud has put IT in a very difficult position," said Stu Aaron, chief commercial officer for Blue Jeans. "IT wants to satisfy their users who are increasingly embracing self-service tools, but these administrators are dealing with the loss of control and value they can offer their end users."

The Command Center toolkit allows an administrator to troubleshoot connectivity issues or analyze the mix of audio and video conferences by user or device type, Aaron said. "[Monitoring] for cloud-based video is not a new need, and IT teams will be able to do their jobs again protecting the calls, network, user experience and making sure traffic is flowing the right way," said David Maldow, founder and CEO for Let's Do Video.

Command Center stems from a tool that Blue Jeans used to manage its own services. Command Center Basic will come standard with the latest software update of Blue Jeans' video subscriptions and will include historical information and reports on a summary dashboard. For an additional monthly fee, organizations can subscribe to Command Center Pro, which will include quality metrics, data and insight into live meetings. The data from Command Center can also be downloaded and added to any existing business intelligence tool an enterprise may already have in place, the vendor said.

RIT is using Blue Jeans' conferencing services to connect its five colleges across the U.S., as well as several international campuses in locations such as Dubai and Kosovo. When RIT's Croatian campus was in the process of opening, the IT team sought a video conferencing tool to help cut down on international travel. Now, the school's faculty, staff and student employees are using video services, which serve as RIT's main form of communication with its international campuses, RIT's Rosica said.

RIT has been beta-testing Command Center Pro for real-time insight into its meetings. Rosica and his team can also see reports on which devices and network connections are being used by meeting attendees, and how successful their meetings are from a performance standpoint. "Previously, our only recourse was to create a ticket through Blue Jeans when there was a connection issue or problem with video ... which was done only after a problem had already happened," he said.

The RIT IT staff have visibility into audio and video quality, as well as which features that people use during meetings, like content sharing via a live dashboard, Rosica said. 

Measuring ROI with video analytics

Video analytics play a large role in helping businesses determine the ROI of video hardware, but quantifying the ROI of cloud-based services have been harder due to the lack of monitoring and analytics tools.

Command Center gives IT teams a way to prove the value of its video service investments, said Maldow of Let’s Do Video. Using Command Center's dashboards, businesses will be able to see, for example, which employees and locations are using Blue Jeans services the most. IT will also better understand why adoption might be lagging in certain offices, he said. "It puts tools in the right place, and where [IT] thinks the users are."

The ability to see where money was saved on travel expenses or where time was saved is also helpful in determining overall ROI and adoption, RIT’s Rosica said. "Our campus is large, and even not having to run a quarter mile between offices for a meeting is very attractive, and helping [users] save time. This adds up, and more time means more productivity for our users," 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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