Vantages pushes Cloud videoconferencing to SMEs

To take on SMEs, large enterprises without bulky infrastructure

Melbourne-based communications service provider, Vantage Systems, will offer a hosted videoconferencing solution from the end of the second quarter this year in a bid to break down the barriers of proprietary systems holding back the SME market.

The solution utilises HP’s Visual Collaboration gateways and servers to facilitate the Cloud-based videoconferencing option, with H.264-based scalable video coding (SVC) technology and protocol conversion used to inter-operate with higher-end immersive videoconferencing suites.

Vantage chief executive, Mark Buckley, told Computerworld Australia the local solution - and a similar option established by HP through a UK operator - formed one of the eight “true” business-to-business video exchanges which broke down barriers traditionally established by proprietary videoconferencing solutions from Tandberg, Cisco, Lifesize and HP itself.

“We’re seeing a lot of the industry move towards these protocols,” he said. “There’s still a need for some time to do gateways and protocol conversion between these various standards and that’s the key to videoconferencing in the Cloud - to stop people building little islands for internal collaboration and opening whole business-to-business collaboration.

“We’re not creating another island - we’ve got connectivity right across to HP’s Halo systems to Cisco’s CTS platforms and it’s a software codec, so you can download it onto a purpose-built appliance for a specific room system or a notebook.”

The capability will be available through a desktop software client to be made available later this year, which Buckley said could be installed on higher-end systems as required. Though traditional bandwidth requirements were still maintained - between 384 and 1024 kilobits per second - the system would be less reliant on quality of service management on internal networks.

Target markets would span the “road warriors” of large enterprise with large existing systems, as well as business to consumer connectivity. However, Buckley said the core target was SMEs, which he conceded had been snared by inexpensive options like Skype.

“Skype has a tremendous customer base but the challenge with Skype is its own little island,” he said.

The system from Vantage forms part of a play against telcos “buying their way into the market”, such as Telstra which last week acquired Vantage System’s main competitor iVision for an undisclosed sum.

The iVision acquisition, which would operate over Telstra existing Next IP network, appears to continue a focus on purpose-built videoconferencing solutions rather than device-agnostic capability.

“We see for the next number of years until the telecommunications players build or buy their way into the market - which they’re obviously doing - we see the true value is a business-to-business exchange being an intermediary between the telcos and protocols,” Buckley said.

The solution is to be hosted in a telco-grade third party data centre in Melbourne. It is believed to be operated by Optus, though Buckley, would not confirm the operator.

Follow James Hutchinson on Twitter: @j_hutch

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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Tags CloudvideoconferencingVantage Systemssmall and medium enterprises (SMEs)

More about CiscoHewlett-Packard AustraliaHPiVisionLifesizeOptusSkypeTelstra Corporation

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