Video conferencing has traditionally been a hardware-centric technology solution. However, over the past couple of years, the IT industry has experienced an inevitable shift in interest and demand for software and services-based video conferencing solutions.
This is according to Nicolette Kruger (operations manager at NFS Technology), who claims that this new model is providing customers with more options, more flexibility, and cost savings in connection with how they implement and consume video conferencing solutions.
“One negative point with regards to this new trend is that the growing pool of software services now been proffered is creating more than a modicum of confusion in the marketplace. It also makes the investigation and procurement process more difficult for company pundits and decision makers”.
Kruger further stated that “one of the technology enablers behind software-based video conferencing is virtualisation technologies that allow software-based components to be deployed more cost effectively”.
According to Rob Arnold (Principal Analyst at Frost & Sullivan), users can now put their video management layer, Session Border Controller, and gateway/gatekeeping services on the same physical server – rather than using a dedicated device for each component.
Another enabler of the software-based video conferencing trend is the wider adoption of standard-based protocols [e.g. SIP and H.264] and interworking mechanisms by the developers and providers, said Arnold. This is what allows end users to mix-and-match across different video conferencing vendors and brands, and across different end point types and networks.
“This improved compatibility makes it easier to cap and grow, or deploy, a specific solution for a specific portion of the workforce -and integrate the new solution with existing investments. For example, an enterprise may choose to expand its capacity to meet mobile demands”. Arnold concluded that by deploying software-based solutions, “customers can more easily ensure these new mobile solutions can integrate with existing room-based and executive video conferencing systems”.