Videoconferencing infrastructure vendor Nefsis has begun offering, as a cloud-delivered service, the network connectivity and bandwidth management tools necessary to send video over corporate networks. Nefsis says that its cloud offering includes tools to maintain quality of service (QoS) standards for videoconference feeds and to help network administrators set traffic priorities that, when necessary, give video traffic right-of-way over applications such as email.
Network infrastructure components delivered by Nefsis include multichannel mixing, a desktop gateway service and collaboration server, but because they are delivered via a cloud, businesses avoid the capital expense of deploying that infrastructure, says Tom Toperczer, VP of marketing for San Diego-based Nefsis.
The QoS standards deliver up to HD-quality video, but more importantly, deliver the appropriate video quality for the endpoint device, be it a large flat-screen TV or a laptop computer, he says. The cloud service also includes diagnostic tools to evaluate a network’s readiness for videoconferencing by conducting bandwidth, latency and routing tests. Nefsis uses technology it calls "dynamic scalable video," which delivers the signal along connections that have widely varying bandwidth and latency and will "continually adjust the video quality to fit within the bandwidth constraints," Toperczer says.
Enterprises are responding to growing demand for videoconferencing driven by multiple trends, he adds: The need to curtail air travel expenses; more widely distributed workforces; increasingly video-savvy younger workers; and the popularity of videoconferencing technology such as Apple's FaceTime and Skype.
"When IT managers start talking about videoconferencing, once you clear the feature-function hurdles for the network users, the conversation invariably becomes one about bandwidth manageability and quality of service," Toperczer says. By delivering videoconferencing management as a cloud service, "it puts videoconferencing under the control of the IT shop."
As a videoconferencing infrastructure company, Nefsis finds itself in competition with vendors such as Radvision and Vidyo, although they offer on-premise solutions. Vidyo uses technology it calls scalable video coding, which Toperczer says is similar to Nefsis’s dynamic video coding. While Vidyo’s is an on-premise offering, back in February it sold its technology to companies that would then turn around and deliver videoconferencing to their customers as a cloud service.
Radvision, Vidyo and Nefsis are vendors that deliver video over existing networks, and they differ from other videoconference room system providers that require dedicated high-speed networks to deliver crystal-clear sharp images, such as Cisco (with its TelePresence) and HP (with Halo). HP recently sold its Halo system and other video collaboration technology to Polycom, a maker of room video systems as well as more portable solutions.
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