PHOENIX, USA: Telesphere announced commercial availability of VideoConnect – a cloud-based, CapEx-free videoconferencing solution for business powered by BroadSoft’s BroadCloud Video, a hosted, enterprise-grade videoconferencing service incorporating the Polycom UC Intelligent Core software platform and open standards-based video collaboration solutions along with CounterPath’s Bria softphones.
By enabling one-to-one and group face-to-face communications, VideoConnect improves productivity, collaboration and relationships among customers, partners and employees. In packaging together the combined capabilities of BroadCloud Video, CounterPath and Polycom, Telesphere now offers businesses of any size cost-effective, enterprise-grade videoconferencing that employees can connect to ranging from room telepresence environments, desktops and the rapidly expanding user base of video-ready smartphones and tablet devices.
By using the BroadCloud Video call-bridging technology that is powered by the Polycom UC Intelligent Core software platform, Telesphere’s VideoConnect offers support for up to 12 simultaneous meeting participants across various videoconferencing platforms, endpoints and protocols during a single HD videoconference. This protocol- and vendor-agnostic approach allows participants using a wide variety of room-based videoconferencing systems, videophones and softphones to all see, talk with and hear one another immediately, offering businesses a range of choices at an affordable and predictable monthly subscription rate.
“VideoConnect makes video conferencing easy for every employee to use and extremely cost effective for every size business to deploy,” said Telesphere CEO Clark Peterson. “By working with BroadSoft, CounterPath and Polycom, Telesphere can now deliver enterprise-grade, cloud-based video communications to every conference room, office, business desktop and laptop in the world.”
In November 2010, Polycom extended its relationship with BroadSoft with the announcement of BroadSoft's BroadCloud video service. This cloud service is a hosted infrastructure that integrates with Polycom’s UC Intelligent Core software platform to enable leading service providers like Telesphere to lower the cost and complexity of delivering videoconferencing and unified communications (UC) services.
“Telesphere VideoConnect is exactly the type of service-provider offering BroadCloud Video was designed to enable – HD videconferencing that supports multiple devices and integrates seamlessly with key unified communications services, and can be offered with a pricing structure compelling to cost-sensitive and underserved mid-market enterprises,” said Leslie Ferry, vice president of marketing, BroadSoft. “We applaud Telesphere’s innovation in bringing a capex-free videoconferencing solution to market that we believe can accelerate adoption of video.”
“Polycom works closely with partners such as Telesphere and BroadSoft to deliver affordable, cloud videoconferencing solutions that can be offered as a service to customers,” said Sue Hayden, executive VP, Polycom. “Telesphere’s VideoConnect is powered by the Polycom UC Intelligent Core software platform and provides unmatched scalability, interoperability, reliability and security. Tailored for the tighter budgets and leaner staffs of emerging companies, cloud-delivered solutions like VideoConnect are integral to Polycom’s strategy to offer businesses, through our partner ecosystem, a fast on-ramp to the benefits of video collaboration and a flexible expansion path in line with their business growth.”
VideoConnect features an intuitive user interface (UI) with a nearly flat learning curve for employees. For example, when employees place a call from a videophone or a webcam-equipped personal computer using a softphone such as CounterPath’s Bria, Bria for BroadWorks, Telesphere’s infrastructure detects whether the called party also is video-enabled and, if so, automatically sets up a one-to-one video call. This design eliminates the need for employees to maintain separate videophones, additional numbers or special addresses for colleagues, clients and business partners.
Direct one-to-one video calls are free, while charges for group videoconference calls using the BroadCloud Video bridge are based on minutes and port usage.
Additional key VideoConnect features and functionality include:
* BroadCloud Video-enabled support for HD video quality at up to 1080p and connection via SIP, H.264, H.263, H.323 and H.320.
* Employees within the same company can use four-digit dialing for video calls.
* BroadCloud Video-enabled seamless integration of videconferencing with additional or existing enterprise and unified communications services such as web collaboration, IM and Presence, and HD voice.
* An intuitive UI that automatically displays the video feeds from the six most recent speakers, with the current one in the center pane.
* For videoconferences with more than two parties, a Telesphere-provided video attendant welcomes each participant to the bridge, requests a passcode and places them in a virtual waiting area if the conference hasn’t begun. This feature enables any size business to provide a highly professional, concierge-level user experience.
* Real-time monitoring that automatically moves participants back to the waiting area if the moderator unexpectedly drops.
“Business use of video conferencing has expanded from room-based systems, to dedicated desktop devices, quickly followed by laptops and desktop computers. Now we’re starting to see tablets and smartphones as endpoints, too,” said Todd Carothers, CounterPath’s senior VP, Products and Marketing. “It has reached a point where leading cloud communications companies like Telesphere can quickly deploy softphones as part of their VideoConnect service, lowering the cost of access and making participation much more widely available.”