- End users should see mobile video as an integral part of their UC solution.
- Microsoft Lync 2013 will steal many headlines, but other solutions are available.
Microsoft Lync 2013 is now beginning to deliver on the huge potential hinted at in Lync 2010. Lync 2013 has been around for a while, and comparisons between the 2010 and 2013 iterations have also been made before. What is different now is that telecoms providers are beginning to engage with key added features such as PSTN gateway functionality and, perhaps more innovatively, mobile video conferencing. As ever, enterprise solutions necessarily lag behind the consumer market while quality, reliability and security issues are robustly addressed. However, the fact that using a tablet to talk to people on the other side of the world via Skype video calls has become commonplace without much regard to such issues demonstrates that mobile video conferencing is ready to be seen as a ‘normal’ business tool. Such is the strength of Lync 2013’s mobile video component (available over 3G, 4G and WiFi), that Interoute’s recent launch of hosted Lync was hailed first and foremost as part of its ‘Video as a Service Cloud’ (hosted in Interoute’s Virtual Data Centre platform). Interoute states that by integrating the two services, customers are able to join video conferences from any device, from room-based solutions to smartphones and tablets.
Interoute is not the first operator to have such a launch in 2013, and integration between Lync and video and mobile video in general is likely to be a standard theme this year. Orange Business Services, for example, has made a number of upgrades to its own hosted Lync solution based on the new features available in Lync 2013, including Lync-based mobile video. However, Orange has also highlighted to end users that Lync is not the only way forward for mobile video conferencing. The Orange Video Meeting app provides access to video meetings through the French incumbent’s cloud-based ‘Open Videopresence’ platform with availability in 107 countries. The solution is based on Avaya-owned Radvision’s ‘Scopia Mobile’ technology. End users should be aware that BlackBerry is likely to be the least well-served mobile operating system vendor in the space, as most operators are opting to focus, at least at launch, on Android and iOS. The cost case for full room-based HD video conferencing solutions is increasingly strong, but such solutions may be prohibitively expensive for smaller enterprises and impractical for more mobile workforces. My blog post in March noted Yahoo! chief Marissa Mayer’s concerns that remote workers may be less able to contribute to the creative process within a company. Enterprises should now be looking at mobile video as a way of fully empowering and connecting their road warriors and remote workers. The solutions are out there.