Software video infrastructure, video as a service and innovative form factors are reshaping video collaboration. We review eight vendors with the necessary reach, scale and interoperability for the global enterprise market so that IT infrastructure and operations leaders can make an informed choice.
Group video systems primarily serve the need for high quality video interaction across a range of meeting room sizes and endpoint types, including soft clients and mobile devices. They also include the requisite infrastructure to connect these endpoints for point-to-point and multipoint conference calls. The infrastructure to support video interaction is deployed on-premises, consumed from cloud providers “as a service,” or as a hybrid of the two.
In addition to one or more screens of video, these systems allow for content-sharing collaboration functions, as well as integration with unified communications (UC) platforms. As participants join meetings from outside the conference room, these collaborative systems accommodate desktop and mobile endpoints while providing continuity of experience across all device types. These systems also allow for interoperability with standards-based endpoints such as Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), H.323, and WebRTC.
In 2016, group videoconferencing is a $3.3 billion market, declining slightly (−1.3% annually) through 2020. The elements of group video systems evaluated as part of this document include the following:
- Dedicated and huddle room systems. Immersive form factors are at the high end of the group video market. These are dedicated systems that may include furniture, lighting and integrated audio, and are deployed in rooms purpose-built for video meetings – with one or more screens. Customer interest in this segment has declined as enterprises seek more affordable and more flexible solutions. New entries in this category have focused on free-standing form factors that include display, camera technology and audio along with an integrated codec. Free-standing form factors can be more readily deployed and can also be repurposed in other rooms as needs change. Devices in this category have primary use cases based on group video interaction.
The desire to equip smaller meeting rooms and huddle room spaces – as a way of extending technology to a larger share of the enterprise user base – is growing in influence. These systems allow flexible deployment of codecs, displays and peripherals in a manner that can accommodate a variety of room configurations. Enterprises often couple the services of an audio/video (A/V) integrator as part of room design and automation to optimize the solution. This category includes “soft room endpoints,” where video/audio encoding and decoding is implemented in software; it does not include A/V “aggregation devices” that neither encode nor decode video.
- Personal video endpoints. Accommodating individual video participants in group meetings is an essential component of the video portfolio. These solutions can range from soft clients for desktop and mobile devices, to WebRTC-browser-based clients to desktop video appliances that offer very high quality audio and video. The emphasis in this segment is on interoperability with group and immersive systems.
- Video infrastructure. Available as dedicated chassis hardware or as a software stack, video infrastructure facilitates both multipoint conferencing among a vendor’s own endpoint portfolio and interoperability with other standards-based video endpoints including SIP, H.323 and WebRTC. Interoperability includes transcoding of media as well as interworking of signaling to facilitate point-to-point and multipoint calling. Vendors may offer this capability directly as a cloud deployment delivered “as a service,” or through relationships with partners. Alternatively, vendors such as Cisco (through Acano) and Polycom (RealPresence Clariti) offer premises-based software video infrastructures.
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