SUMMER 2013 • THE INTER-COMPANY VIDEO ISSUE
ROBOTIC TELEPRESENCE TALE OF THE TAPE
YOUR GUIDE TO VISUAL COLLABORATION
Deloitte’s Jerome Oglesby (left) and Aaron Roe (right) are connecting the firm to 185 companies a month, generating revenue, saving clients money, and making Deloitte’s expertise available globally.
DELOITTE: Open for Business at the Speed of Light PLUS:
Summer 2013 1 VISUAL COLLABORATION FOR AGILE SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT AND SCRUM • WEBRTC REALITY CHECK
Make better decisions
Instant visual conversations Improve results by making effective decisions when it matters. • Bring in the right people when you need to no matter where they are • Let people join or leave a session ﬂuidly without disruption • Bring in the right resources and share control with anyone
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Telepresence Options SUMMER, 2013 LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER...................................................2 OPEN FOR BUSINESS AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT .......................4 The basics of the “Big Iron” that make telepresence and videoconferencing possible
B2B VIDEO.................................................................................. 16 Connecting with partners, vendors, and customers
IMPLEMENTING VIDEO THAT WORKS ..................................... 24 Want to improve your B2B teleconferencing? Consider the ballerina.
B2C: THE FINAL FRONTIER ...................................................... 32 Business to Consumer Videoconferencing
WEBRTC: A REALITY CHECK .................................................... 40 WebRTC is struggling to prove that it can be a videoconferencing game-changer
VISUAL COLLABORATION FOR AGILE SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT AND SCRUM ................................................... 46 ROBOTIC TELEPRESENCE State of the Industry 2013 ............................................................. 50 Tale of the Tape 2013 .................................................................... 52
VIDEO MIGRAINE ....................................................................... 62 Security, governance, and business continuity – one step at a time
lepresen Videoco ce & nfe cat rencing
ON THE FLIPSIDE Flip this magazine over to see our comprehensive 2013 Telepresence and Videoconferencing Catalog 20
52 Summer 2013
elcome again to Telepresence Options Magazine, the only publication focused exclusively on videoconferencing, telepresence, unified communications, and visual collaboration. As long-time readers know, we don’t really publish a magazine as much as a reference work that focuses on a different main theme each year. This issue’s topic is inter-company video, sometimes referred to as B2B video, or the ability to connect with partners, vendors, and customers. This is a topic that has been near and dear to our hearts.
Howard S. Lichtman, Publisher
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As far as I can tell we were the first to coin the term “inter-company telepresence” in our 2006 publication Telepresence, Effective Visual Collaboration, and the Future of Global Business at the Speed of Light where we also produced the first analysis of the emerging Community of Interest Networks (CoINs) that were connecting the multi-screen, multicodec telepresence environments of the early adopters to their supply and demand chain partners with high-bandwidth and quality-of-service. That 2006 analysis looked at about 40 companies connected by ½ dozen technology vendors that were connecting around 150 rooms with another 150 on-order at the time. At that time firewall issues, spotty interoperability between “standards-based” vendors, and the packet-loss and poor inter-connection of the internet made inter-company connections a hassle. If you wanted quality it meant dedicated point-to-point T1 or T3 lines between partners or subscribing to one of the aforementioned emerging telepresence/videoconferencing CoINs and even then every CoIN was an island with no inter-connection between the half- dozen vendors and carriers providing the service. Fast forward to 2013: The past six years has been a sea change for intercompany video. We have seen the development of a number of tools, technologies, and industry partnerships that have rapidly accelerated the ability of enterprises to reach their partners, vendors, and customers. These include video exchange providers that connect networks, match QoS tags, and handle IP address issues, Internet-friendly video protocols such as H.264 SVC, cloud-based inter-operability platforms that connect together everything from multi-screen, multi-codec telepresence environments, to standard-based video endpoints, to consumer video services like Skype, and inter-networking and inter-operability agreements between vendors, video managed service providers, and telecommunications carriers Our cover story profiles Deloitte, who has built one of the most successful visual collaboration programs in the world. The company connects to around 185 clients a month and is both driving revenue from their video program and improving client satisfaction by making their consultants available globally without the costs associated with travel.
EDITORIAL PUBLISHER Howard S. Lichtman HSL@TelepresenceOptions.com ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER David Maldow EDITOR Steve Wilson Webmaster & Social Media Specialist Joshua Parker ADVERTISING Info@TelepresenceOptions.com +1 (512) 828-7317 ART & PRODUCTION ART DIRECTOR Everard Strong, www.Big-E-Productions.com SUBSCRIPTIONS Telepresence Options, 43861 Laurel Ridge Drive, Ashburn, VA 20147 www.TelepresenceOptions.com/ Magazine Tel: +1-512-828-7317 (8:30am – 5 p.m. EST) Fax: +1(480) 393-5435 GENERAL INQUIRIES Info@TelepresenceOptions.com REPRINTS & PERMISSIONS Info@TelepresenceOptions.com Telepresence Options is published twice a year at a rate of $14 by the Human Productivity Lab. Copyright © 2013 Human Productivity Lab. All rights reserved.
Video isn’t just connecting the Fortune 500 either. We are starting to see video enabled call centers pop up with the same CRM integration, specialist routing, and PBX functionality in traditional telephony-based call centers to handle video calls from their customers. We are seeing organizations distribute cloud-based video meet-me rooms to their project managers and sales reps so they can connect with partners and prospects on different video platforms over the internet. We are seeing videoconferencing capabilities integrated with video game platforms. In short, we are seeing the world begin to connect and do business over video at an accelerating rate. Stay tuned to Telepresence Options for the latest as we bring you the future… Today!
Telepresence and Videoconferencing Catalog
Telepresence and Videoconferencing Catalog
Make smarter decisions
Instant visual collaboration Add value to your business by making effective decisions based on the right information. • Bring in the right information and resources from anywhere on the network • Share control of any application or ﬁle with anyone • Include electronic whiteboards and even oﬄine resources
Welcome to visual collaboration that works like you do. Welcome to Aerus. Freedom to Work: Together: Now Learn more about Aerus at: www.magorcorp.com Summer 2013
© 2013 Magor Corporation. All rights reserved.
Open for Business The Speed of Light DELOITTE. Most of the business world knows the name, but not even all its clients realize the complete scope of what it does. While Deloitteâ€™s roots are in public accountancy and audit, over a 168-year history the company has evolved to provide clients a wide range of professional and consulting services ranging from tax and private wealth management to technology consulting from 650 offices in 154 countries. One of the heretofore untold secrets of Deloitteâ€™s success is one of the most sophisticated visual collaboration programs in the world that connects its practitioners, literally and figuratively, to each other and to clients at the speed of light. The program includes immersive telepresence environments, traditional videoconferencing, specialized distance-learning classrooms (that Deloitte designed itself), and video from desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. BY HOWARD S. LICHTMAN
ucking the out-sourcing trend, the company built its own Video Network Operations Center (VNOC) capability with 24x7x365 coverage from facilities in Hermitage, Tennessee and Hyderabad, India. The company has invested heavily in a capability that it views as a strategic competitive advantage, and its VNOC operation rivals many video-managed service providers and is the only enterprise program that has received accreditation from its primary video vendor under a program designed for service providers.
The Deloitte VNOCs employ 25 architects, engineers, customer service agents, meeting producers and an incident management team that triages and manages failed calls and poorly performing equipment and circuits. The team manages 60 to 120 meetings a day during the business week and is available nights, weekends and holidays to support global operations and emergency meetings. Since the VNOC went live in April 2010, the company’s video usage has soared to more than 12,500 hours a month. This astonishing 856 percent growth rate has produced significant hard-dollar cost savings in corporate travel and softdollar ROI in improved business efficiency, productivity and responsiveness. BULLET-PROOF QUALITY Deloitte’s VNOC and network have achieved a level of quality and uptime that rivals many telecommunications carriers. The redundant video network infrastructure is sourced from multiple providers and has been 100 percent available for over a year. Deloitte’s meeting success rate is 99 percent and when a piece of equipment does fail the reason is immediately triaged, conferencing alternatives are provided to participants, and an
incident response team dispatches a replacement or a vendor’s technical resource to fix the issue immediately. Deloitte’s core network is a dual-carrier, fully meshed, activeactive MPLS network with zero percent packet-loss across the core and to each video end-point. MPLS prioritization gives both video and voice the highest priority to ensure flawless quality. The company subscribes to multiple business-to-business video exchange networks run by carriers and video-managed service providers with dedicated circuits to provide QoS connectivity and inter-company calling capabilities with the greatest number of partners, vendors, and clients. Having an internal VNOC lets Deloitte provide a level of service that wouldn’t be possible with a managed service provider. Aaron Roe, Deloitte’s Multimedia Services Leader explains: “To achieve the quality and meeting success rate that makes our senior leadership comfortable in using video in lieu of travel and to connect with clients we offer a concierge-class service that goes above and beyond what is available from many video managed service providers. We start by publishing the schedule to digital signs outside each room before every meeting so endusers know they are in the right place and how long the room is available. If the room isn’t being used then people can see the availability, which improves the ability to hold ad-hoc meetings. When our customers walk in the room the meeting’s ready to go, there’s nothing they have to do. The only thing they really need to know is where the mute button is. Everything else we manage for them.
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Welcome to a service that works like you do. Welcome to Aerus. Freedom to Work: Together: Now Learn more about Aerus at: www.magorcorp.com Summer 2013
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Deloitte deploys 57 multi-camera, multi-codec telepresence environments to ensure the highest quality experience when connecting with clients So if it’s a 28-seat multi-camera, multi-screen immersive room or a single screen room with a PTZ camera, the VNOC will selfframe that room. They will zoom in on the person and capture a two-thirds view so that it’s equal proportions to all the other sites. Service providers often do not do that part, and some that do charge you an astronomical fee. So it’s how we work in the support model. We know who the hosts of the meetings are. In every one of our meetings we IM our hosts as they’re sitting down to let them know which operators are assigned to their meeting to ensure they have the best experience possible. A service provider is not necessarily going to know that the person running the meeting is the global CFO. For us, we know the customer and their needs, and that level of intimate service is the highest thing we focus on. So we’re really looking to see if the host has arrived and IMing him/her: “I’m Bob, your operator today. If you have any problems, you can contact me and I’ll make it right for you.” We manage the customer experience to a finite level.
CONNECTING WITH CLIENTS AND GENERATING REVENUE The company has been at the forefront of inter-company telepresence and videoconferencing, connecting the firm to partners, vendors and, most importantly, clients allowing them to make subject matter experts available around the world. Currently the company has 850 client sites profiled in the VNOC and regularly connects to about 185 clients per month. Deloitte views its investment in video as a strategic competitive advantage over the competition because it makes its practitioners and consultants available to clients via high-quality video around the world at a moment’s notice in meetings that would be impossible in any other format. The company can bring together diverse skill sets from multiple geographic locations to address client problems and opportunities almost instantaneously. That’s a win for the client, who gets access to consultants without
DELOITTE By the Numbers 650 Offices 157 Countries 483 Traditional videoconferencing rooms 57 Multi-camera, multi-codec immersive telepresence environments 60-120 meetings per day (80 average) 12,512 Hours of video February 2013 856% Growth rate since building their own VNOC April 2010 (March 2010:1309 hours)
The final thing we focus on is the need for every meeting to start on time without incident. Our customers want to walk into the room, sit down, and focus on their agenda, which is frequently a revenue producing opportunity for the company. The last thing that one of our internal customers wants to do is to walk into the room worried about the technology. That is why the industry has failed for so long and adoption is low overall—failed meetings cause lost productivity, wasted time and hard money.” Summer 2013
29 Tele-classrooms 100% Video infrastructure availability 100% Network availability 0% Network packet-loss 99% Meeting success rate 4000 users per month in telepresence or videoconferencing rooms
83% of meetings are US-based rooms 12% of meetings are done by international member firms 5% of video traffic from mobile devices 9
having to pay for travel, and a win for Deloitte, which gets greater client satisfaction and retention. DELOITTE UNIVERSITY Deloitte University, the training facility for Deloitte Consulting, is as a one-stop training destination for the company’s workforce. Deloitte does 40 percent of its training here, or one million of its four million annual learning hours, and 50,000 of its 190,000 “practitioners” are expected to pass through in its first year of operation. By chucking the conference centers and hotels it used to book for training around the world, the company has reaped millions of dollars in savings and instilled in its employees something just as valuable—a sense of community.
JEROME OGLESBY, Global Chief Technology Officer Jerome Oglesby is the firm’s global chief technology officer and the visionary behind the visual collaboration program at Deloitte. He’s been described as one of the most strategic thinking CTOs in the industry, his video program often cited as a perfect strategic use of technology to achieve business objectives. Oglesby has been honored by CIO Magazine as a “Ones to Watch” honoree and by Computerworld’s “100 Premier IT Leaders” list. We sat down with Oglesby and Roe for an interview. The entirety is at www.TelepresenceOptions. com/DeloitteInterview. Here are some highlights: “I think one of the advantages is that we are able to look at what we do and what we do as a firm and be able to customize the delivery for Deloitte. So we look at how our practitioners work. We look at how our practitioners connect with our clients. We look at all the new technologies that are happening in terms of the mobile device space, the social media space with video, learning systems, our room-based systems. So we’re able to just integrate all of that in a way that we think needs meets our needs. We’re able to really push the envelope around the technologies that we want to use. How we want to use those technologies. What are the new things that we can look at in terms of technologies? Different ways of using the technology that you wouldn’t think of in a traditional managed service? So we’re really looking at how we enable our practitioners, but we want to enable them in a way that is like no other service that they can get through a traditional managed service provider.” On the value of being able to connect with clients and partners using telepresence: “The intimate communication that it creates for Deloitte and for our clients. Being able to have that presence—which is almost a life-like presence—with our clients and real time. We think that’s extremely valuable. We think that creates a huge value proposition. It really sets us apart from having that impersonal interaction with clients but having that really life-like presence and collaboration with clients.” 10
“We were separated by region in the past, so now it’s a more unifying experience,” says Jerome Oglesby, Deloitte’s global chief technology officer. “We’re giving our practitioners a sense of belonging.”
In bringing the learning to one central location, Deloitte University reaches far more employees than those who come to Texas. But consolidation on this scale wouldn’t have been possible without visual collaboration. Deloitte is installing its TeleClassrooms (see sidebar) in all its major offices, soon to reach 90 percent of the staff with the role-playing simulations and other training they need. That makes Deloitte University the hub of a growing network. The TeleClassrooms are a natural outgrowth of Deloitte’s sizable investment in videoconferencing. The company’s VNOC oversees hundreds of meetings at a time, offering a white-glove experience that places a premium on customer service (a personal operator just an IM away) as much as technological efficiency (no meetingimpacting infrastructure outages in over a year). The system the VNOC oversees is versatile enough to accommodate the seamless virtual meetings on the 4 ft. by 16 ft. video wall of a 28 seat immersive telepresence environment to the video cam on a laptop or smart phone running Skype. It’s a system built to achieve Oglesby’s mandate for “any time, anywhere, on any device.” “We wanted to take the system to next level,” Oglesby says. “We built what we wanted and not what the rest of the industry was doing. And now we’re already where I thought we’d be and quite a bit further.” www.TelepresenceOptions.com
Visual Collaboration Expertise On-Tap
• RFP Management & Oversight • Video Programmes, Playbooks & Training • Building Enterprise VNOCs
• UC Enterprise Architecture • RFP Management & Oversight • Keynote Speeches on Emerging Technologies
• Videoconferencing • SaaS • Visual Collaboration
• Mobile Telepresence • Remote Presence • Telepresence Robotics
• Telepresence & Videoconferencing Product Design • R&D/Prototyping • Computer Aided Design
he Human Productivity Lab has added some of the world’s leading experts in videoconferencing, telepresence, and visual collaboration. Solutions for the Enterprise
• Enterprise Webcasting and Video Streaming • Video Conferencing • Unified Communications
• RFP Creation, Bid Management and Oversight • Unified Communications • Video Network Operation Center – Design, Build, Staff, and Train • Visual Collaboration Network Design • Infrastructure and Environments • Video Recording, Archiving, and Streaming
• Security, Business Continuity and Governance • Visual Collaboration Strategy Creation and Execution • M&A, Business Integration
Solutions for Vendors
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Human Productivity Lab LONDON • WASHINGTON, DC David Maldow
• Visual Collaboration Project Management • Interoperability and Testing • Technical Writing
• Unified Communications Strategy • Solution Selection and Procurement • Implementation Mgmt.
512.828.7317• info@HumanProductivityLab.com www.HumanProductivityLab.com 11
MEDIA MANAGEMENT AND
DISTRIBUTION Todayâ€™s complex world of varying technology platforms and network bandwidth challenges can create nightmares for administrators trying deliver streaming media to global audiences. What device do they use? Are they inside or outside of the firewall? How are we going to authenticate them? Does the media need to be delivered live or on-demand? These questions can sometimes make the most simple of activities into complex undertakings. VBrick has over fifteen years of experience providing scalable solutions for the management and distribution of streaming media to global enterprises, government agencies, and educational institutions. VBrick provides unique solutions to capture, encode, manage, distribute and display media on any device from the cloud and across any network. Whether you are looking for live webcasting, digital signage, corporate learning, sales enablement, customer engagement, surveillance or other visual communication capability, VBrick has a solution for you.
for information go to www.vbrick.com MEDIA MANAGEMENT AND DISTRIBUTION VBrick Systems, Inc. I 2121 Cooperative Way, Suite 100, Herndon, VA 20171 I Email: email@example.com I Phone: 203.265.0044 I Web: www.vbrick.com 12
That same level of care and precision went into the physical design of Deloitte University. The place has the feel of a college campus and a five-star resort rolled into one. Located on 105 acres of quintessential cow-studded ranchland in Westlake, Texas, the Fortune 500 company’s $300 million training facility features 800 rooms, the 12,000 square-foot DFit center with more than 100 pieces of equipment and various fitness classes, and grounds featuring a large pond, volleyball and basketball courts, soccer greens, 2.5 miles of jogging and mountain biking trails, fire pits, and an herb garden. A gourmet restaurant serves free breakfast, lunch and dinner, and cafes and snack bars dispense refreshment at key points along the hallways. Though it straddles the earth at a whopping 700,000-square feet, the building has earned Gold LEED certification, with a rain collection system, drought-tolerant native grasses, and UV-coated windows that bathe 90 percent of the facility in natural light. The builders cut down less than a dozen trees, used 20 percent recycled construction materials and 20 percent locally-sourced building supplies, re-purposed concrete from a nearby source, and recycled 50 percent of construction waste. They also built The Barn, the main venue for social events on the property, out of re-purposed wood. “It’s a comfortable environment,” says Steve Collichio, technology director at the university. “We’re relentless with getting feedback, and our satisfaction scores are through the roof.” Ambience is only the beginning of what Deloitte set out to achieve when they made the center, an environment deliberately constructed to connect visitors and strengthen relationships. Though comfortable, the guest rooms are intentionally small and without room service to encourage visitors to get out and find one of the 16 “city places,” snack-and-people-filled lounge areas honoring the architecture and food of the cities where Deloitte has major offices. Likewise, most tables in the restaurant seat only four people to encourage more intimate conversations in the allotted hour and a half everyone has to eat together. Many of the building’s meeting spaces, such as the boardroom and 20,000-square-foot ballroom, easily divide into smaller spaces
with acoustic “air walls” that rise from the floor to create smaller, more personal spaces. The 35 classrooms all have “team rooms” nearby, smaller rooms encased in glass that can hold up to 16 people for quick work sessions to compliment the learning in the Summer 2013
AARON ROE, Multimedia Services Leader Roe’s title is multimedia services leader, but he likes to think of himself as Deloitte’s chief productivity officer, with a goal of improving the productivity of every employee at Deloitte by accelerating them around the world at the speed of light. Roe has led the transformation of Deloitte’s visual collaboration capabilities with a team of 30 employees in the United States and India and is responsible for Deloitte’s investment in collaborative and multimedia technologies. His last project for Deloitte was designing and implementing an enterprise-wide, live-broadcasting solution that lets senior executive leadership and service-line leaders reach every employee, their clients and the media on any device. “My goal is to accelerate the velocity that information is created, shared, understood, evaluated and acted upon globally for Deloitte,” he says. Roe built his reputation creating the VNOC for one of the pioneers in telepresence conferencing, TeleSuite/ Destiny Conferencing. By helping the company roll out the first fully immersive videoconferencing product ever released, he become one of the first VNOC experts before VNOCs even had a name. And then he went on to build two additional VNOCs, including one for a video-managed services provider with multiple global locations. He’s established a cost recovery model at Deloitte for member firms to subscribe to visual collaboration services and also advises them on how to adopt visual collaboration technologies of their own, as well as consult with Deloitte’s clients on creating their own visual collaboration programs. He’s created a true white glove service that takes customer care to a new level. “For us it comes to being able to manage the experience to our customers’ expectations,” says Roe. “We’re perfecting a strategy at Deloitte in which making a video call will be ubiquitous, enabling our practitioners to personally relay their confidence to our client directly without concerns over technological restraints or availability issues.” 13
larger rooms. These breakout rooms come equipped with small touch screens outside the door that light-up green when available and red when reserved (users can make a reservations directly on the touchscreen or through a web portal). The reservation screens are part of a system of technology woven seamlessly into Deloitte University. Guests don’t even check-in per se, the scheduling system simply updates the staff on impending arrivals so they have room key cards and packets ready for guests when they walk through the door. Digital
signage along the walls shows a steady display of upcoming classes and events and how to get there, as well as videos relating to these topics. As the weekend approaches, the walls display flight information. Members of the large support staff stand ready to optimize the tech in the classrooms from a monitor room with a large glass wall, “Just so everyone knows there’s a person behind the curtain,” says Oglesby. The scheduling system keeps classes moving smoothly, right down to the cleaning staff who check in wirelessly to report when a room is ready for use. They have their work cut out for them when cleaning the 176-seat
amphitheater, which looks like an improvement on the United Nations, complete with mics at every ergonomic seat and a series of 3D projectors that make for dazzling presentations by day and mind-blowing movie screenings at night. The overall effect builds community at Deloitte, creating the sense that “a top leader at the firm can drop in on a class, which can have a big impact on someone who’s just started here,” says Roe.
DESIGNED BY DELOITTE TeleClassrooms When off-the-shelf doesn’t meet Deloitte’s needs, Roe’s shop will design a solution that does. Example #1: the specialized TeleClassrooms connecting Deloitte University to offices around the world. The classrooms have been designed as both an effective space for distance learning and local meetings. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.
Multiple projection screens eliminate the “front of the room” and create a 360° learning experience Central technology control with A/V help button for responsive tech support Nearby team rooms and printers support your creative learning format Movable whiteboards for portable and paperless idea sharing Copycams enable you to photograph, print, save, and share content Power and projection connections at each table enable simultaneous presentations Natural light to enhance alertness and learning reception Instant removable walls and mobile furniture enables flexible room configurations Teleclassroom video conference capabilities connect remote learners to DU
Deloitte University is already expanding beyond classes and into events and partnerships that will utilize more of the physical and virtual space it’s carved for itself. The building holds regular Deloitte conferences and lecture series and will soon host top educational institutions who want to partner with the company for their learning needs. So, given Deloitte’s global reach, why centralize this part of the operation in a small Texas town? “Because it has more agreeable winters than New York,” says Collichio. TPO
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Howard S. Lichtman is the founder and president of the Human Productivity Lab, a consulting firm that helps organizations design visual collaboration strategies, build Video Network Operation Centers (VNOCs), and helps with RFP creation, bid management, and oversight. He is the publisher of Telepresence Options, the leading publication covering visual collaboration where he and his team share the lessons learned from real world deployments and cover the industry’s latest advancements.
DESIGNED BY DELOITTE The Media Wall
hen visitors come to Deloitte University, first they marvel at the cows on the ranchland leading to the facility. Then the breathtaking lobby, with a waterfall sculpture and very helpful check-in staff. And then they see the media wall, and they forget about everything else for a while.
and shows in a branching tree of bubbles who else they know at the university and how they’re connected.
The largest touch-screen in North America, the media wall is a 24 ft. by 8 ft. tablet computer with multi-touch capability, meaning that several people can play around with it at once. And there’s a lot to play with. Comprised of 24 screens and special glass weighing 3,000 lbs., the wall contains key apps that reinforce one of the key missions of Deloitte University—to build and reinforce a sense of friendship and family among its employees.
The wall is open platform, and the technology team at Deloitte plans to add more apps in the future to make it an even more effective tool, showpiece and community builder for the facility. As a life-size virtual animation of Deloitte CEO Joe Echevarria tells the media wall user when they select his icon, “Welcome to your house.”
“Beyond the wow factor, it’s a useful app because people want to know who’s here from their office and what company leaders may be present,” says Roe.
A multi-media timeline details the company’s history, while its present is covered in detail by a searchable database of employees and a spinnable 3D globe of Deloitte office locations. However, the hottest media wall app of the moment is Connections, which identifies the user Summer 2013
Connected to: • • • • •
Outside Counsel Public Accountancy Investment Bank Instititutional Investors Advertising Agency
CONNECTING WITH PARTNERS, VENDORS, AND CUSTOMERS
(or business-to-business) videocon– ferencing has been a vexing challenge ever since the first two companies owning video equipment realized they couldn’t easily call each other. Intra-Company videoconferencing is now well established, with millions around the globe enjoying and experiencing the benefits daily. Users are learning that videoconferencing really isn’t just about saving travel costs anymore, it’s about productivity, efficiency, and gaining an edge over your competitors. With these inherent benefits of visual collaboration now proven beyond doubt by the first-hand experience of the users themselves, the demand for inter-business visual collaboration is expectedly surging and the rewards are great. Improving the ability to collaborate with partners, vendors, and customers improves both the utility and ROI of the existing base.
Why is inter-company videoconferencing even a problem? We figured out how to make all the telephones in the world connect easily, so we should be able to do the same thing for videoconferencing, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. The technology, and perhaps the industry itself, has been subject to particularly challenging hurdles. The B2B VC story contains a list of successes and failures, but in the end, it comes down to addressing four major problem areas.
Four Traditional Barriers To B2B Video Federal Division & • Interoperability: The existing VC solutions on the market do
Government Affa Connected to:
not all connect, or connect well with each other. The situation has greatly improved in the last few years as a combined result of various approaches to the problem. • Dialing Plan: How do we actually make the call? Telephones have universal numbers, video systems do not. • Experience/QoS: Network issues can destroy a video call. Your IT team can protect calls inside your private network, but for B2B you need reliable, quality calls over the public Internet and/or capable private network exchanges to connect. • Security: Creating massive traffic between a private business network and the public Internet is bound to create both real and imagined concerns.
• Public Relations • Lobbyists
VIDEOCONFERENCING INTEROPERABILITY ISSUES In general, a solution that primarily talks to itself is an extremely tough sell. Exceptions do exist, but they have unique and compelling benefits to overcome this weakness. For example, Skype mainly talks to Skype, but its massive (600+ million) user base reduces this concern. Similarly, Facetime is an island technology, but its deep integration with the basic phone app on the iPhone allows it to be successful regardless. However, this model does not translate to the business world. There is no www.TelepresenceOptions.com
B2B Video: Connecting with Partners, Vendors, and C
Most companies have a vast array of stake-holders that would benefit from inter-company video co demand-chain partners, vendors, and customers. Here is a visualization of a small fraction of the po
Rentable Publicly-Available Videoconferen Rooms, Cloud-based Video Interoperability Downloadable Software Clients
Research & Development Lab Connected to:
• R&D Partners • R&D Suppliers • Consultants
Your Comp Collaborati
Asian Pac Headquarters
Video Network Ope
• Asia Pacific Public Relations • Offshore Software Development • Offshore Manufacturing
Visualizing Your B2B Video Ecosystem 18
onnections. These include both supply and otential connections.
New York City
ncing and Telepresence y Platforms, and
Connected to: • • • • •
Outside Counsel Public Accountancy Investment Bank Instititutional Investors & Analysts Advertising Agency
pany’s Visual ion Network Customer-Facing Video Call Center
erations Center (VNOC
Federal Division & Government Affairs Connected to: • Public Relations • Lobbyists
Manufacturing and Warehouse
Connected to: • • • • Summer 2013
Manufacturing Suppliers Partners Remote Field Maintenance Logistics Vendors 19
business class VC product/service with the market dominance that Skype or Apple have in the consumer world. That means we need a higher level of interoperability between the existing (and competing) videoconferencing solutions.
Advances in inter-business QoS networks, the resiliency of videoconferencing protocols, and the public Internet itself have improved the situation greatly. However, it remains a concern for heavy B2B videoconference users.
As recently as five years ago, the interoperability situation in the business class videoconferencing industry was an embarrassment. Even solutions from different vendors that supposedly were using “standard protocols” would have trouble connecting with full functionality. Things have vastly improved in recent years, and you can reasonably expect a quality call between today’s “standards-based” systems from the top vendors. But with that interoperability problem going away, new ones are arising. We no longer just want to call from one standard meeting room to another, we want to connect with an ever-increasing variety of options. For example, there is growing demand for connectivity between the high-end, multi-screen, multi-codec telepresence rooms and basic meeting rooms. Between multi-screen and multi-codec systems there are issues with interoperability to maintain eye-line and spatial audio. Or between meeting rooms and desktop PC clients, tablets and smart phones. Not only must all of these disparate devices connect, they must do so in a way that lends itself to a comfortable, productive, meeting experience. A compelling B2B program can’t simply connect our meeting rooms to each other; it should be able to connect all of our workers to each other, on the device of their choosing.
VIDEOCONFERENCING SECURITY CONCERNS Security is a primary concern for any aspect of a modern IP-based data or communications network. After all, computer networks are generally connected in one way or another to the public Internet, which has no shortage of unsavory characters. In some ways, videoconferencing does have powerful, inherent security. For example, VC traffic is generally encrypted with the 128-bit AES security protocol. Although anything is technically possible, there is no current, practical method for hacking this encryption in real time (although we still wouldn’t put it past the intelligence agencies of multiple sovereign governments). Therefore, there is little reason to be concerned that an outside party will intercept your signal and be able to actually listen to your audio feed and see your video. The real vulnerabilities to your meeting security are likely to result from human failures than VC technology failures. For example, leaving your meeting room system set to autoanswer, with sensitive materials left in view of the camera, would be an obviously bad practice.
VIDEOCONFERENCING’S LACK OF GLOBAL DIALING PLAN Organizations often set up an internal videoconferencing network for their environment. This generally consists of VC endpoints in meeting rooms, mobile/desktop VC licenses for individuals, and the infrastructure required to support it all. Whether they use an outside managed service provider, or purchase their own infrastructure and hire internal support, the result is a full-service VC deployment. This provides enormous benefits, such as creating a private dialing plan (dial coworkers by name from a directory), as well as dealing with security and quality issues. However, the internal video network becomes a communication island. In many ways, these internal VC networks are a lot like the internal phone network at many organizations, as they allow us to dial by directory, name or short extension. However, there is one key difference: the internal phone systems generally allow you to dial 9 to get an outside line. In the videoconferencing world, there is no standard equivalent to dialing 9. More importantly, there is no universal, global addressing system. Even if you could dial 9 on a VC system to “get out,” it wouldn’t solve the problem because there is no universal global dialing system to rely on. In other words, after hitting 9, what happens next? VIDEOCONFERENCING'S NEED FOR QOS Traditional videoconferencing signals were not just bandwidth hogs, but bandwidth snobs. In other words, they didn’t just use a lot of bandwidth, they required a protected, QoS network. As little as one percent packet loss could ruin a videocall. Calls over the public Internet were a nightmare. Businesses had the ability to design, configure and protect their internal networks to allow for quality videoconferencing traffic, but B2B was a problem. 20
The real security concern here isn't the videoconferencing session itself; it’s the rest of your network. At the risk of oversimplifying, we have “firewalls” that protect our internal networks. There are a few “ports” in the firewall that let trusted information to pass between our private network and the public Internet. In general, the firewalls allow connections generated from inside the firewall (a worker checking his email, or browsing the Internet) but will not allow people on the outside to start the connection (a hacker trying to break into your files). Traditional videoconferencing solutions worked well internally, but struggled to connect through firewalls, forcing network IT to either open extra ports, or even place the VC systems outside of the Firewall in the DMZ (demilitarized zone). Both of these solutions have obvious drawbacks. A modern B2B solution should include a drawback-free way to traverse the firewall while maintaining security.
Today’s B2B Options
There are a large number of vendors and organizations working to crack the B2B puzzle. While the techniques used vary greatly, they basically fall under two major categories. Perhaps not unexpectedly, the two basic approaches somewhat follow the audio world. AUDIO: B2B MULTIPOINT CALLS Dial-in, or meet-me rooms, are the default solution for business audio conferencing. Users are comfortable and familiar with the workflow of simply calling into a virtual room. Meeting hosts also enjoy the administrative controls that generally accompany these solutions allowing them to lock the room, manage participants, etc. AUDIO: B2B POINT-TO-POINT CALLS The global, universal, phone numbering system that we all take for granted is amazingly powerful. While some users do make pointwww.TelepresenceOptions.com
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to-point calls using meet-me rooms (to take advantage of features like scheduling and recording), the majority of point-to-point business calls are directly dialed. VIDEO: B2B MULTIPOINT CALLS In general, multipoint video meetings rely on some piece of infrastructure (hardware or virtualized) to host the meeting and/ or appropriately route the video and audio feeds between the meeting participants. From a user perspective, multipoint video generally functions much like an audio meet-me room. Users call into the room (or the room can be set to call out to participants), and hosts may have access to a number of moderation features. Unfortunately, if hosted on site, the meet-me room infrastructure becomes difficult to reach from outside callers due to the four barriers discussed above. The market has responded by offering off-site infrastructure, hosted “in the cloud.” The evolving “cloud” term is commonly used to refer to any solution involving infrastructure (virtualized or hardware-based) hosted outside of your organization yet easily reachable through a typical business firewall. As long as this criteria is met, anyone connected to the public Internet—whether internal or external to your organization—can directly connect to the meet-me room. Cloud-video services are a rapidly expanding market, with a number of options from established VC vendors as well as an everincreasing list of emerging, potentially disruptive upstarts. There is nothing close to a consensus on how video services should be designed for the small to medium enterprise. Packages, pricing, level of service and feature sets vary greatly from vendor to vendor. The expectation is that over the next few years, the market will make its preferences clear and smart vendors will quickly adapt. Cloud services address the four barriers to B2B adoption as follows: Security: Rather than having to potentially open a number of
firewall ports, or accept connection requests from a large number of disparate locations, an organization using a cloud service simply has to verify that the connection to the service itself is secure. Most cloud service providers are well aware of the importance of security and are prepared to offer details regarding the security they have in place. Interoperability: This is actually a power feature of the top cloud services, which are designed to specifically support a variety of connection types. Systems that can’t directly call each other (i.e. a SIP based system and an H.323 based system) would normally have to use some sort of gateway to make the connection. Gateways can be expensive and tend to require a bit of IT support. Cloud solutions with inherent interoperability can allow various VC solutions—and even traditionally consumer video solutions like Skype and Google technologies—to all join the same meet-me room. In fact, this feature works so well and is so powerful that meet-me rooms are often used in point-topoint meetings to provide interoperability between solutions that otherwise could not connect. Dialing Plan: One could argue that cloud solutions does not Summer 2013
technically resolve the dialing plan issue, but they do provide an effective work-around. A cloud service user may not be able to directly dial a B2B connection to an outside party, but in the end, all participants can easily connect to the meet-me room and collaborate. While direct dialing may be a more intuitive and familiar workflow for quick ad-hoc calls, today’s cloud service users are quickly becoming comfortable using video meet-me invites for ad hoc, as well as scheduled meetings. Experience/QoS: Experience/QoS: Many organizations simply purchase QoS bandwidth for internal traffic and even get QoS connections directly to their service provider to ensure the quality of on-site video. This approach assures high quality, reliable, video traffic for anyone wishing to make a B2B connection to another customer of the same service provider who also has QoS in place. However, many B2B services result in at least some connections going through the public Internet, where a quality connection is not guaranteed. To address this, many video conferencing providers are implementing everadvancing videoconferencing software designed to provide a resilient, quality call in the face of public Internet weaknesses. VIDEO: B2B POINT-TO-POINT CALLS People are often surprised to learn that there isn’t a usable, universal dialing exchange for video as there is for the telephone. It seems so obvious, but the videoconferencing industry grew under very different circumstances from the phone industry. In the early days the competition between vendors prevented them from working together on universal video standards, so there was little likelihood of working together on a dialing plan. As video service providers entered the game in more recent years they discovered a world where each customer was essentially its own videoconferencing island, behind a firewall, with its own private directory. Today efforts are being made in the direction of a universal dialing plan through video network exchanges. In the simplest of terms, any organization that joins the exchange connects each of its video systems to the exchange. Each system gets a unique dialing code and has the opportunity to be listed in the exchange’s interbusiness directory. Any video system listed with the exchange can directly dial any other system within the exchange and companies can choose to only make their listings known to specific partners vendors and customers. Exchanges are growing and finding adoption, but their value continues to be limited to the number of other customers of the same exchange. Video exchange services address the four barriers to B2B adoption as follows: Security: As with cloud services, exchange providers are well
aware of the importance of security. At a minimum expect rules from them that only allow traffic to flow between pre-approved companies to pre-approved devices. Interoperability: Some exchange services also offer gateway functionality. However, in general, exchanges are primarily marketed towards connecting standards-based business class videoconferencing systems. Cont’d on page 58 > 23
IMPLEMENTING VIDEO THAT WORKS
Want to improve your B2B videoconferencing?
BY REBEKAH ALLENDEVAUX
he ballerina – the danseuse, the prima ballerina. To the audience, she is grace itself, flowing with seemingly effortless poise and practiced refinement. But behind each minute of flowing charm and striking beauty are hours of choreography, tedious planning, sweltering recitals, and plain hard work. Developing a B2B service is a bit like that. Teaching ballet is now 12+ years behind me, but as I help businesses design overall video programmes for best practises, the goal is the same: to create a superlative service that delights the eye through careful disciplines and process controls. When you select a tried technology, you bring a sound solution to your enterprise users, right? Wrong. You can purchase a good technology and totally fail with your offering if you do not implement best practice controls. More about this shortly. But first, consider this list of areas that comprise many enterprise video offerings today: • • • • • • •
network and security architecture; UC infrastructure and endpoints; mobility and groupware integration; control and monitoring systems; conference management & remediation processes; device on-boarding practices; scheduling and ad hoc, etc...
For each area, there are best industry practices, and these practices are called Playbooks. For example, there’s a scheduling playbook, a meeting management & remediation playbook, a control and monitoring playbook, etc. The collection of these playbooks together comprise the over-arching video service programme. It is the video services programme (sometimes called the vnoc services programme) that looks so innocent. But beware – the video services programme quickly becomes the deciding factor as to whether or not your service will be a smashing hit, or an échec – a failure. Why? Your network can be clean, the infrastructure configured correctly, the groupware integrated properly; but without a video services programme, your service delivery will be unpredictable. It will disappoint users. Guaranteed. Toward this end, let’s discuss the video services programme a little deeper, and then we can examine the playbook specifically for B2B and B2C activities. The Video Services Programme What does a video services programme do? It predefines the rules of engagement in any given circumstance, bringing predictability, continuity, and repeatability to your offering. Summer 2013
Without it, the only consistency will be inconsistency – your customers will receive superb service on one day and disappointing service on another. I’ve seen this happen again and again with both service providers and enterprises alike. So what items are predefined? It depends on the area (network playbook, scheduling playbook, B2B playbook, etc.). But here are a few topics dealt with from a list of many hundred spanning multiple playbooks. • call flows and prioritizations for answering the phone at the service desk; • remediation flows between service desk levels and the information to record in help desks; • predefined actions – what to do when certain things occur; • predefined thresholds of acceptable and unacceptable quality; • customized notification lists for escalations; • backup plans for outages; • contact information for third parties and ticketing; • confirmation or ticket formats for message bodies; and • VIP meeting framing when it involves telepresence vs. other configurations. These are just a few examples. Essentially, the video service programme determines what should occur given any circumstance, and it should attempt to automate as much as possible depending on the technology being used. Once each playbook is shaped, each becomes part of the overall video service programme; also the playbook make an excellent curricula for training new hires. Focusing on B2B and B2C Below is an excerpt of helpful tips from a B2B and B2C playbook. Feel free to use these tips to improve your service offering.
Build a Staging Room for VIP Meetings. For high profile meetings, one of the biggest disruptors of a professional meeting is the annoyance that participants create themselves. This can reflect badly on the managed services organization, even though the problem is created by the meeting participants. For example, it’s astounding that some users dial into meetings as audio participants from their vehicles with radios playing loudly, sending disruptive noise into every telepresence and group system alike. It is recommended that the service organization create a meeting room attended by a concierge to validate the qualities of the connection. In doing this, participants may be greeted and qualified; the attendant may recommend that the user mute one’s mobile phone unless speaking into the meeting. Once the user is reminded of muting etiquette, the attendant should move the participant into the meeting seamlessly, minimizing any disruption that may have otherwise occurred. 25
Use Multiplicity in Invites for Connection Details. Different endpoints use different dialling patterns. When sending the invite, considering including several dialling structures per the example below: Meeting Invite Connection Details Depending on your endpoint and configuration, use one of the dialing patterns to connect to your meeting: Video Dialing Instructions: email@example.com; or firstname.lastname@example.org; or 126.96.36.199##85001 Audio-only Dialing Instructions: US +1 212 555 8179 PIN 432343# UK +44 (0)77343 384 243 PIN 432343# By providing multiple dialling strings, a service organization has likely avoided a technical support call that would have occurred, saving time and money. But more importantly, the organization has avoided frustration to a user, saving reputational currency.
Include an International Technical Support Number. Often missed by North American service organizations is an international phone number for users to call.
For example, a user in Korea might see this technical support number listed: 512-555-1212. Little do they know that this number is actually +1-512-555-1212. The +1 routes the call to North America by ITU PSTN format. Otherwise, the number used in this example could be misunderstood for the country code of Peru. Always format help desk numbers with an international string. 28
Give Attention to the Call Speed. One organization may be accustomed to launching calls at 2 Mbps and another at 0.5 Mbps. Agree in advance to the call speed along with a lower call speed should packet loss occur. Test the call speeds, especially if the connection is carried over the common Internet. Remember that a successful test at 8:00am may not yield the same results at 4:00pm. Have a backup plan should packet loss degrade the image. Down-speeding is often the first choice, and newer systems may do this automatically, but many algorithms slowly increase the bit rate until packet loss occurs again, creating oscillations throughout the meeting of good video, lossy video, and back to good video again – over and over. So sometimes manually setting the call speed at each end based on testing is the better approach. Be prepared to move the call to another room in the same building should a problem occur with equipment or the connection. And always have a “last resort” plan (audio-only) to offer the user should an unavoidable problem surface.
Establish Primary & Secondary Endpoint Contacts. What happens when there’s no response from the far end? It is important to have at least two contacts associated with each group room system should a problem arise. If there’s a database, populate the database with a primary contact and a secondary contact, including both office and mobile phone numbers. Always collect email addresses and presence information for real-time communication. You’ll be glad you did when an endpoint or a monitor is mistakenly “off ” and the meeting is in the setup window.
Create a Call Setup Window Based on Endpoint Quantity. Some meetings may not be able to have any call setup window, and the 2:00pm meeting gets www.TelepresenceOptions.com
launched exactly at 2:00pm. In this dynamic, when a problem occurs, it’s often visible because people are already “in the meeting” and troubleshooting starts with everyone watching. But when possible (especially for VIP B2B meetings), it is recommended that a setup window be included to minimise distraction and ensure a meeting is setup on-time for the meeting’s start time.
Remove MCU and Endpoint Timers. Often an endpoint or MCU has a maxCallTime setting that limits the length of a call. If an endpoint reaches this limit, the site will disconnect itself usually by logging a normal call clearing procedure or unspecified Q931, giving the impression that someone intended to disconnect the call. Worse yet is when a bridge has this setting in place at the conference level or the bridge level, and the entire meeting is unexpectedly torn down. Ensure the endpoints are not set to maxCallTime=90 or some other setting that will not survive the meeting length (normally part of the on-boarding playbook). Similarly ensure the video bridge does not have a conference room or meeting room that expires prior to the length of the conference.
Will Mobile Video Users Be Participating? The base of mobile video users is rapidly growing with increasingly equipped smartphones and tablets. These devices appear convenient and seemingly innocent, but beware! An iPad or Android can be powerful if managed well, but humbling if not. Here’s why: Packet loss and audio challenges may pervade these wireless devices more so than other video systems depending on the user’s fluctuating environment. If numerous users join meetings in this manner, are they participants or observers? If observers, consider creating a secondary meeting room just for mobile users, and cascade the mobile meet-me room into the primary meeting. By doing this, it is easy to block audio from the mobile users from entering the primary meeting. As a disclaimer, I am not saying that mobile users should be treated as second class video citizens, but the mobile user may inherently exit and return to the same meeting far more frequently than traditional video users depending on wireless packet loss. This can be extremely distracting. These policies are set to help the meeting maintain order. If a mobile user is a primary participant, make an exception for that participant to call into the primary meeting.
Profile and Certify B2B Endpoints. Profiling is the act of building a database record for a video user or an endpoint, containing all relevant information to successfully connect to the user/endpoint. Certifying is the act of connecting to a user or endpoint and validating the qualities of the service both qualitatively and quantitatively. There’s a few chapters of information relevant to doing this correctly, but be certain to do it. If you need help, let me know. Whatever database one use, be certain to have full access to that information, and be certain to profile and certify B2B endpoints, especially those used by a VIP. Summer 2013
Coordinate Service Desk Coverage. The nature of B2B conferencing can mean that more than one service desk may be involved with a single conference. Company X may have its service desk in place, providing coverage to their users; likewise Company Y may do the same. Be certain both service desks are aware of a conference that employs resources from each.
Deem One Organization as Primary. When B2B conferences are launched, there may be two vnoc managed service entities involved; deem one organization as primary (if possible) with the responsibility to manage most aspects of the conference. Usually the entity with the most endpoints should take that role, or perhaps the entity managing the bridge should be that primary organization. Avoid cascading bridges if possible, especially between organizations, unless it is purposefully done as in the case of building a mobile meet-me room. If this cannot be done, follow some simple rules that both organizations agree to test and follow in advance. TPO Summary Once you determine the B2B playbook (the rules of engagement) that your service organization will systematically follow, ensure everyone has read the playbook and is trained in these processes. Defining these processes up front will provide elegance and predictability to your service, and it will give users confidence in your service offering. I hope this section helps you improve the B2B & B2C offering of your visual collaboration service. If you haven’t created an overall video service programme for your entire UC offering, that is a must that should get full attention. Call or write if you need help with any part of it. I wish you the best with your B2B programme. Like we say before the live ballet performance is underway – mérde! TPO
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rebekah AllendeVaux is a consultant with the Human Productivity Lab specializing in helping organizations to build Video Network Operations Centers (VNOCs), develop their VNOC personnel, generate specific playbook workflow processes, manage RFP generation and bid management, and provide VNOC service curriculum and training. Ms. AllendeVaux was founder and president of Iformata Communications, a leading VNOC managed service provider that was acquired by Silver Lake Sumeru’s AVI-SPL in 2012. Ms AllendeVaux has built scalable VNOC offerings for both mainline service providers as well as many Fortune 1000
enterprises, memorializing these into video service programmes for process control, automation and measurement. Ms AllendeVaux works in London and can be reached at Rebekah@ HumanProductivityLab.com
The Sky is No Longer the Limit: Video Conferencing at 40,000 Feet Eclipse provisions in-flight video conferencing in some of the world’s most advanced aircraft. To help their passengers remain productive while airborne, Eclipse turned to Vidyo for a solution that would overcome unpredictable satellite networks and deliver crystal-clear video collaboration. Vidyo came through with flying colors. Today, over 2,000 companies worldwide use Vidyo to take their video conferencing and collaboration to new heights... The 2013 winner of the Frost & Sullivan Global Video Conferencing Technology Leadership Award, Vidyo delivers telepresence-quality multiparty video collaboration at audio conferencing price points. We support a diverse set of devices used by businesses every day on networks they already have in place. Increase workforce productivity without compromises — whether you’re working in the office or in the clouds.
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Business to Consumer Videoconferencing (B2C)
THE FINAL FRONTIER Video is a humanizing experience, one that engages customers much more than a disembodied voice on the telephone. But a video call on a PC, tablet or smartphone isnâ€™t just a deeper connection, itâ€™s a multi-media connection, one that a sales rep, customer service agent, or technical support rep can use to improve retention and comprehension by sharing data. 32
riction Surf Shop, in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, has outfitted its staff with iPads equipped with Apple's FaceTime (a video-calling software application for supported mobile devices) to connect online shoppers with in-store reps. Decker Dreyer, the company’s managing director, summed up the benefits in an article on RetailCustomerExperience.com: “We could beat them [competitors] on our home court with experienced sales reps that know our products and live the brand,” he said. “When you dial into Friction you don’t just get a customer service call center, you get guys who represent, in every way, what our products are about. We’ve found a way to expand the hip little indie shop feel into online retail.”
professional, business-class videoconferencing equipment in their homes. However, most consumers have a computer that can at least support an acceptable videoconferencing experience along the lines of Skype and FaceTime. Businesses can connect to the customer's computer in two ways: The Guest Client: Most of the current software-based, businessclass videoconferencing solutions include some form of guest desktop client. Typically a user within the company can send an email invite to a customer that includes a link to install the guest client and join the meeting. The power, flexibility and ease of use of the guest client make the difference between a good B2C and a great B2C solution.
For many years the limitations of the public Internet made videoconferencing a mostly internal communications tool. And even then, getting a quality connection between two locations within the same company could be a problem. But recent advances in VC technology, camera and computing hardware, as well as the reliability of the public Internet have eliminated many of these hurdles.
Interop with Commercial VC: Very few typical consumers have
access to professional business VC, but everyone can easily access Gtalk and Skype, and soon, WebRTC (please see our article on WebRTC in this magazine for more details). In fact, hundreds of millions of people already have these clients installed. New B2C services offer cloud-based
TELEPRESENCE TECH’S KIOSK OFFERS EYE-CONTACT FOR A COMFORTABLE CALL WITH THE REMOTE AGENT.
STEPPING OUTSIDE Business first enjoyed the increased impact, productivity, trust building and connectedness of visual communications with internal colleagues through B2B communications. (For more detail on B2B, please read the companion piece to this article.) Companies have since realized these same benefits when using B2B VC with partners. But when it comes to their most important relationships—those with their clients—most businesses still rely on the telephone. Even if all the issues facing B2B (security, interop, firewalls, dial plans, experience) were completely solved today, it wouldn't begin to address the number one problem blocking B2C videoconferencing: the fact that most consumers don't have Summer 2013
meeting rooms, which can connect to these consumer solutions, as well as traditional business solutions. These new services are built around the concept of connecting anyone, anywhere, anytime.
Business Models and Applications
EXPERT CONNECTIONS Friction Surf Shop isn’t the only business out there doing B2C. Several high-profile Wall Street banks are running pilots with B2C services, including installing telepresence displays in banks to connect customers in the local branch to product specialists. These initial programs generally provide “high-touch” service to big clients, but they’re expected to serve a greater set of banking customers as they grow. The real power benefit here is the ability 33
TELEPRESENCE OPTIONS Telepresence Options: Cloud Vide Cloud Videoconferencing Interop Services EncoreB2B
Cloud or Hardware Based
Cloud Based Only
Cloud Based Only
Cloud Based Only
Cloud or Hardware Based
Basic Features Deployment Options
Virtualized Platform Meet Me Rooms Permanent "Standing" Rooms
Virtual Room Size Support
Up to 25 participa exceed peak loa
Up to 25 participants in a single conference
Currently the hard cap that Up to 28 participants on we set on the service is 25 screen. participants.
AGT offers a variety of options including virtual meeting rooms and virtual MCU ports.
Monthly Unlimited Use Free wit Plans subscrip $199 - 6 person room Blue Jeans Networks has a Flat monthly, based on Flat hourly. Starts at $9. $799 - Unlimited room size variety of offerings room size. Contact Pay as y Flat daily. Starts at $29. monthly designed to fit the qualified resellers for exact Flat monthly. Starts at $49. Monthy Per Minute Plans customers needs. quotes. $2.75/ho $149 - 500 minutes connect $399 - 1500 minutes video) $1150 - 5000 minutes
Up to 25 participants. Can be increased.
Up to 25 participants in a single conference.
Meeting Moderation Device Registration (Easy Dialing) White-Glove / Concierge Data Sharing Group Text Chat iPad / Mobile Support Telephone Dial-In
Integration / Interop H.323 / H.264 SIP ISDN / H.320 Microsoft Lync Consumer VC (Skype / Google)
Guest Invite Proprietary Client / Web App Browser Based (WebRTC, etc)
Description of Pricing Models
ÂŠ 2013 Telepresence Options
eoconferencing Interop Services
or Hardware Based
5 interactive ants. (Possible to allocation during ads)
MeetMe Cloud VC Service
Cloud or Hardware Based
Cloud or Hardware Based
Cloud or Hardware Based
Cloud Based only
Cloud or Hardware Based
Cloud Based only
50 participant video streams plus 50 screen Varies based on customer shares plus an audience of subscription level. 1,000
Teliris endpoint users: Monthly subscription per virtual room.
th all MIVNET ptions.
you go rates with no Annual unlimited y fee start at community license $10k. our(with 2 tions at 640x480
Point-to-point, 4, 6, 9, 16, and 25 way rooms.
Standard room sizes are 5, 8 and 20 participants. Up to 25 participants in a Larger sizes are available single conference. upon request.
Monthly Unlimited Use Rates start at: $149 - 5 participant room
VidyoWay B2B interVideoCentric offers tailored Final pricing from channel connectivity service is solutions so pricing greatly partners may vary. Full FREE. varies. pricing details are at: http://www.vidtel.com/servi ces/vidtel-meetme/meetmePricing details available on pricing/ request. Non-Teliris users: Monthly subscription per set of ports.
Varies based on customer needs.
Yorktel has multiple offerings to fit different customer's needs.
to provide a face-to-face experience with the right expert for a customer’s needs at any given moment. VIDEO KIOSKS AT&T has installed video kiosks at a number of its retail stores, enabling video talks with specialists on a variety of topics in a growing number of geographies. Texas energy company First Choice Power is trialing Telepresence Tech kiosks in malls to provide an eye-contact experience between potential customers and the company’s agents. VIDEO-EQUIPPED FIELD SERVICE TECHNICIANS Cloud Office Manager, covered recently by TelepresenceOptions.com, gives field service technicians the tools to connect customers to a video call center … and to a company salesperson. When techs show up at customers’ doors and get to fixing the problem at hand, the laptops they bring along establish video connections with sales pros who consult with the client about additional services. TELEMEDICINE Andy Howard, a consultant with the Human Productivity Lab, is working on a video call center for a health maintenance organization to roll out later this year that will field video calls from their insured and route them to the proper specialist. Howard says it’s only a matter of time before telemedicine ramps up to widespread usage in the United States. “Driving to a doctor’s office for one of these visits end up being useless anyway, the patient could be diagnosed over video without the time and expense of the drive and waiting time in the office,” he says. “They can get their issue resolved more quickly. The
doctor gets to be more productive. And the insurance company doesn’t have to pay for that visit, so it can even turn a profit by facilitating the video call.”
How to Connect
Here are a few of the ways to connect with your customers. 1. INTEROP CLOUD SERVICE PROVIDERS This class of service provider only came into existence in recent years, and is now one of the hottest segments of the videoconferencing marketplace. The chart on the following page includes several providers of note. (Check TelepresenceOptions. com for updates). While a deep discussion of all providers is beyond the scope of this article, we can briefly discuss two pioneers in the field: Blue Jeans Network and Vidtel. BLUE JEANS This company lets users host meetings that contain both traditional endpoints and Skype clients. With a particularly clever (and often controversial) marketing approach, the company has enjoyed constant buzz about its groundbreaking service. Buzz aside, Blue Jeans continues to push development hard, seeming to come out every few months with something completely new, such as Lync integration, advanced collaboration features and mobile capabilities, as well as some new layout controls providing a better experience for users watching both video and shared content. Blue Jeans is a startup, but it provides the quality look and feel you expect from a company with some resources. The result is a professional and “ready-for-prime-time” user experience.
WHAT DOES YOUR VIDEO CALL CENTER COMMUNICATE ABOUT YOUR BRAND?
VIDTEL Despite the inevitable comparisons, this small startup with impressive interop technology takes a very different approach from Blue Jeans. For one: its cloud gateway service. Organizations with existing MCUs may want to add interop without having to shift to a new cloud meeting room service. The company lets clients use their existing MCUs to host the meetings and the Vidtel cloud for the interop piece. Vidtel also doesn’t employ the same level of consumer-facing marketing, focused instead on building and supporting partner relationships with diverse companies representing both go-to-market and technology partners. Some notable partnerships include: • Solutionz: Video integrator/solutions provider • ACT: Conferencing service provider • Intelepeer: Telephony service with SIP trunking and video • AVer: Equipment manufacturer • Compunetix: MCU provider • Burstpoint: Streaming and recording Solution
Don't mistake Vidtel’s lower key approach for a lack of activity. The company is moving quickly in both the development and improvement of its platform, with almost 100 partners worldwide selling the service. The company is extremely technology focused and working to lead in a number of directions, so many in fact that CEO Scott Wharton has become synonymous with WebRTC.
GOOGLE HANGOUTS When Google created its new social network, Google+, many were (rightfully) doubtful that it could challenge Facebook. However, few foresaw the runaway success of its killer feature, the Google Hangout. Powered by Vidyo (set to consumer-quality so as not to compete with its business version), Google Hangouts provides a highly reliable, accessible experience that has inspired some of the most creative and innovative applications of B2C video to date: fan meetups, live performances, cooking classes, interviews, informal webcasts, book launches, contests, Q&A sessions, coaching, consulting, and more. At the very least, Google Hangouts is a proof-of-concept laboratory of many groups experimenting with new and different ways to conduct B2C video communications.
We’re still at the early stages of B2C, where just making a basic connection between business and customer is an exciting development. But as videoconferencing technology becomes more and more accessible and the barriers continue to dissolve, we’ll see more novel uses proliferate. Several Companies in this article are creating novel uses for VC and blazing the trail for what will follow. The bottom line is that as the video industry solves the interop, connectivity and other technology issues, the rest of the business world will develop uses for B2C that we cannot even begin to foresee. TPO
2. GUEST CLIENTS Videoconferencing endpoint vendors may not see these cloud interop services as a threat, but as a positive force encouraging adoption, which in turn will help them sell their own products. However, that doesn't mean these vendors will just give up the B2C market without making some play of their own. While some VC players are coming up with interop B2C cloud services of their own (Polycom's CloudAXIS being a notable example), others are simply encouraging their users to invite consumers via guest client to their B2B cloud services. VIDYOWAY VidyoWay was originally created to disrupt the B2B market by providing free cloud interop that supported both traditional hardware video systems and Vidyo’s software-based solution. But anyone with a Vidyo account can invite guests to join a VidyoWay meeting room via the VidyoDesktop guest client. Therefore, for Vidyo account owners, the VidyoWay B2B solution can easily be used as a B2C solution. ZOOM First offered as a free, consumer VC app, Zoom stood out from the rest of the consumer crowd with a cutting-edge UI and business-quality video. Recently, Zoom has added a laundry list of business features and capabilities, including recording and advanced document sharing. The service is still free for 1-to-1 meetings (and limited-duration multipoint meetings), and only costs $9.99 a month for unlimited use of a 25-seat virtual room. With H.323 interop pending, this may be the first real B2C contender coming from the consumer side of the industry. Summer 2013
ABOUT THE AUTHOR David Maldow, Esq. is a visual collaboration technologist and analyst with the Human Productivity Lab and an associate editor at Telepresence Options. David has extensive expertise in testing, evaluating, and explaining telepresence and other visual collaboration/ rich-media solutions. David focuses on providing third-party independent analysis and opinion of these technologies and helping end users better understand their visual collaboration options including video call centers, video network operations centers, and B2C strategies. You can follow David on Twitter.com/LetsDoVideo.
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WebRTC A REALITY CHECK BY TIM KRIDEL
WebRTC today is like
WebRTC LeBron James in 2004:
Saddled with unrealistic expectations about
becoming the next big thing overnight, James took years to mature into a champion. Now WebRTC is struggling
to overcome the premature hype and prove that it can be a videoconferencing game-changer.
hort for “real-time communications,” WebRTC enables browsers to support videoconferences without the need for a plug-in. Users simply click on a link – such as in a Outlook invitation or on a Web page – to launch a video call or to join a videoconference. That design is a particularly good fit for B2C applications because the first part of the call doesn’t have to be wasted on installation and troubleshooting.
“What’s exciting about WebRTC is that it has the promise to solve the installation issue,” said Ofer Shapiro, CEO of Vidyo, which plans to add WebRTC to its product line-up. WebRTC’s click-to-conference ability has enormous implications – positive and negative – for the videoconferencing vendors and integrators. For example, WebRTC is a way for enterprises to extend videoconferencing to more employees by leveraging the desktop PCs, laptops and mobile devices that they already own instead of shelling out several hundred dollars apiece for dedicated endpoints. As a result, WebRTC could cannibalize sales of desktop videoconferencing hardware, as well as those that use software clients on PCs.
But WebRTC also could spur sales of room-based and executive-desktop systems by giving those products more people to connect to. “Traditional videoconferencing has been kind of like a fancy country club,” said Alex Doyle, Vidtel vice president of marketing. “It has remarkable capability, but only a very select few have been able to enjoy its benefits. The costs of entry – equipment, installation, and maintenance – have crowded out most of the potential market. And as the installed base of consumers with WebRTC grows, it could encourage contact centers to invest heavily in video solutions that require at least some professional services and enterprise-grade infrastructure. Those are all examples of how browser-based video has far-reaching implications. “That’s just the very teeniest, tiniest tip of this huge, gigantic iceberg, which is about video becoming pervasive and becoming integrated natively and seamlessly into every application,” said Karl Dahlin, Aver vice president of business development.
2000 1500 1000 500
’1 Q1 2 ’1 Q2 3 ’1 Q3 3 ’1 Q4 3 ’ Q1 13 ’1 Q2 4 ’1 Q3 4 ’1 Q4 4 ’1 Q1 4 ’ Q2 15 ’1 Q3 5 ’1 Q4 5 ’1 Q1 5 ’1 Q2 6 ’1 Q3 6 ’1 Q4 6 ’1 6
FIG 1: WebRTC support will grow quickly, led by PCs initially Summer 2013
For enterprises that want videoconferences that include a mix of WebRTC devices and traditional videoconferencing endpoints, another potential hurdle is the cost of bridging those two worlds. WebRTC is available in Chrome’s stable version
WebRTC is available in Firefox’s “Nightly” version
“Nothing in WebRTC natively provides interoperability with these existing systems, so people thinking that WebRTC will magically replace existing systems are incorrect,” Doyle said. “Instead, customers will need a service that can gracefully work with existing solutions and extend them to support WebRTC.” Over the past few months, several vendors have launched cloudbased services that enable interoperability between WebRTC and endpoints that use SIP or H.323. Magor and Vidtel are two examples.
FIG 2: Chrome and firefox can now “talk.” “It changes so many things. It could be the catalyst that brings videoconferencing and collaboration to the mainstream.” A NICHE PLAY FOR NOW Chrome and Firefox are the only major browsers that currently support WebRTC. Until Internet Explorer, Safari or both add it, WebRTC isn’t a viable option for mass-scale B2B and B2C communications. “WebRTC has been driven by the browser vendors,” said Ken Davison, Magor Communications CMO. “I’m of the opinion that it will be ubiquitous across all browsers in the next year.” If that turns out to be the case, WebRTC still faces a few other challenges. For example, it doesn’t address quality of service and some security issues, which are factors that CIOs and IT managers consider with any video communications service. “WebRTC would solve one of the reasons why people can’t get into a call: they ‘can’t install’, ” Shapiro said. “But you still may have network, firewalls and transcoding issues. It solves a chunk of the problems but not all of them on it’s own The way to think about WebRTC is like http – a powerful way to access cloud based services.”
FIG 4: At Enterprise Connect, Ten Hands (www.tenhands.net) highlighted the flexibility of WebRTC by demonstrating a working Facebook videoconferencing app, powered by WebRTC, which they created in under a day
“I believe that to date, we’re the only vendor in the market to support natively the VP8 codec used by WebRTC browsers,” Davison said. “This enables us to do direct connection between an enterprise-grade environment – Magor’s Aerus – with the consumer, browser-based endpoint.” Besides cloud-based services, another potential option is gateways. Either way, it’s important to identify those costs because it’s easy to get caught up in the hype that WebRTC has minimal or zero upfront costs. “If using WebRTC requires transcoding gateways to talk to legacy, how much do they cost?” Shapiro said. “People should think about the complete price.” Whether it’s with cloud-based services or infrastructure, it’s a safe bet that more vendors will target WebRTC.
FIG 3: Magor and Vidtel are among the providers of cloud-based services that enable inter-operability between WebRTC and video–conferencing endpoints that use SIP or H.323
“As billions of users are enabled via WebRTC, traditional systems will need to accommodate and build the capability for WebRTC themselves,” said Jack Blaeser, TenHands CCO and founder. But to notch billions, WebRTC will have to get into Internet Explorer. Microsoft originally advocated a competing technology but now appears willing to implement WebRTC. When that www.TelepresenceOptions.com
At Enterpise Connect, Twilio demoed an innovative WebRTC application. A web application was associated with a local phone number. Audience members called the local number with their cell phones, and were added to a call queue, and another slice was added to the pie wheel. When the wheel stopped spinning, the winner was bridged into the browser using WebRTC and heard on the auditorium’s loudspeakers.
happens, it could trigger a flood WebRTC adoption , but the question still remains if Microsoft (and Apple) will agree to use the same codec that Google is advocating -VP8- or continue to push for an H.264 based solution, further complicating the interoperability challenge between WebRTC solutions. And it’s not just because of Internet Explorer’s market share. It’s also because Internet Explorer is preinstalled on Windows machines and a known entity to enterprise IT departments. By comparison, Chrome and Firefox are downloads, something that many enterprises forbid for security reasons. Global Browser UsageUsage Global Browser
Workplace Browser Usage Workplace Browser Usage
FIG 6: WebRTC could spur sales of traditional videoconferencing appliances by connecting these products to more people. “It’s hard for people to understand how big the opportunity really is,” Dahlin said. “WebRTC could be the catalyst that changes the video landscape forever.” TPO
FIG 5: Browser usage “While I am seeing a lot of buzz and promising applications from the venture and UC vendor communities, in my opinion the realworld implementation of applications that can leverage WebRTC is still to come,” said Cary Bran, Plantronics senior director of software and innovation. “The reasoning behind this is the need for ubiquitous – or at the very least Firefox and Chrome and either Safari or Internet Explorer – to have interoperable WebRTC implementations.” But for all its hurdles and uncertainties, WebRTC has amassed a vendor following that means it’s likely to become more than just a flash in the pan.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR TIM KRIDEL has been covering the pro AV industry since 2003 for publications such as AV Technology, InAVate, Pro AV, Sound & Video Contractor and Telepresence Options, as well as InfoComm’s Special Reports series. Since 1998, he also has been covering the telecom industry for a variety of publications and analyst firms. For more information, visit www.timkridel.com.
Visual Collaboration for Agile Software Development and Scrum BY STEVE WILSON
VBrick’s Scrum room combines videoconferencing and data collaboration delivered to a large interactive whiteboard. A collaborative PC either hosts or is connected to all of VBrick’s productivity applications, including Microsoft Lync, Microsoft Office, VersionOne and internal tools. A Crestron panel simplifies calling and data display. The room has been designed to be effective for both video and local meetings.
THE PROBLEM: SCRUM DISPERSAL hat’s a ScrumMaster to do? When media management and distribution provider VBrick Systems opened a second development office in January, it needed a way to continue holding its daily Scrum sessions, Scrum of Scrums, and Release Planning Sessions—the key components of the Agile software development methodology it relies on for work organization. The 15-minute Scrum at the start of every morning gets the company’s developers on track and covers the time they report their progress on projects to the ScrumMaster, who tracks the project workflow on a Scrum “Big Visible Chart” and makes changes to identify blockages. This process literally gives everyone a picture of what they need to do for the day.
“The Scrum idea seems simple, but it’s a hard discipline,” says Bryan Watts, one of VBrick’s ScrumMasters. “People want to say ‘Here’s what I did yesterday and here’s why,’ but all the ScrumMaster needs to hear is what you’re doing today and if you’re blocked or not—to keep it short, sweet and on track.” With the office expansion, these invaluable Scrum sessions had the potential to become a logistical nightmare. How to gather the developers in Connecticut and the new office in Herndon, Virginia (as well as employees working from home) for individual progress updates, sprint planning sessions and reviews? How to get everyone’s eyeballs on the same Big Visible Chart and its ever-moving Post-It Notes? How to gauge body language over conference calls? How to keep on giving VBrick’s customers the quality of service they’d come to expect? “With the expansion we suddenly had developers all over the www.TelepresenceOptions.com
place—in Connecticut, Virginia and at home,” says Henry Zektser, VBrick’s chief software architect. “We had to get everyone on the same page, literally and figuratively. We needed to find a way that they’d be able to see and interact with each other as if they were all in the same room. Ultimately, we had to find a seamless solution that would bring everyone together so that they all had a shared, solid understanding of what was going on.” THE CONSULTATION: SCRUM MEETS HUMAN PRODUCTIVITY LAB he project came to fruition through serendipity. Over lunch with VBrick’s CEO, HPL President Howard Lichtman discussed a recent project designing an Agile-Scrum solution for a 2,000-person telecommunications company. Lichtman recounts the CEO’s reaction: “He said, ‘that’s funny. We just opened a new office in Virginia, we just hired a new CTO and chief software architect working out of that office that will be managing teams in Connecticut and remotely, and we just put our developers through Agile-Scrum training.’” They discussed how VBrick already had in place some of the necessary components: LifeSize videoconferencing endpoints, Microsoft Lync, and VBrick’s own Distributed Media Engine, a platform designed to record, store, archive, and stream videoconferencing sessions, among other applications. The challenge was tying it all together into a system that would make it easy to use and optimize the less-than-ideal conference room space. And then there were the small but essential touches needed to make the company’s visual collaboration as effective as possible—camera angles, lighting, control system, and user interface; and all of the various elements that make visual collaboration run more smoothly.
THE NEXT STEP: BEYOND THE SCRUM n the first few months of operation, the system required a few minutes of backend work to make sure everyone could log in successfully and the HPL made changes to the Crestron menu that improved the ease-of-use. But now that the companies have streamlined the signon process into a one-button experience, the company plans to use the new system for more than Scrum. VBrick’s Vice
AGILE SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT & SCRUM: A Primer Agile software development, for the uninitiated, is an iterative and incremental software development methodology with a few simple key precepts: working software is delivered frequently with continuous feedback from customers and stakeholders, while the software development cycle is time-boxed and locked-down into “sprints” where no changes are permitted until the current planned functionality is finished. Agile teams are small (the average size is seven members plus or minus two) and cross-functional, including people dedicated to planning, designing, coding, and testing. Team members ideally work together in a collaborative workspace where they frequently brain storm, problem solve and participate in a short, fifteen minute daily meeting called a Scrum. During Scrums, team members report on what they did yesterday, what they’re doing today and what roadblocks stand in their way. The ScrumMaster manages the process, keeping the team focused on the current sprint goal and deliverables with help from an all-encompassing “Big Visible Chart” similar to a Kanban board.
VBrick Software Architect and ScrumMaster Bryan Watts makes a change to his team’s Task Board in VersionOne in Herndon where it is mirrored on a large-format display in Connecticut. The set-up also reaches remote team members over web conferencing, and the meeting is recorded for those who can’t make it.
President of Product Rick Rumbarger says he plans to roll out the room for other areas of the company in coming months, including executive-level meetings, project management, and IT. “The HPL’s design supercharged our Scrum sessions but also provided tools to improve every meeting held in that room,” he says. “Now we plan to use it for everything.” THE SOLUTION IN ACTION: SCRUMMING ALONG nce in place, the Agile-Scrum room worked better than the company had hoped. Now, at the daily Scrum, sprint planning sessions, and other developmentrelated meetings, the ScrumMaster has the power to share the company’s VersionOne Agile-Scrum project management tools to large-format screens at each location or over web conference to the laptops of remote participants. The participants can work effectively with data, whiteboarding interactively with remote sites, annotating over diagrams and saving those annotations and whiteboard drawings to files that can be worked on at later times or emailed to all participants directly from the room.
“Being able to have that whiteboard up in both rooms during the Scrum makes a huge difference,” says Watts. “The Scrum Master can be touching tiles and say ‘OK we’ll throw this down until later, but we’ll bump this up instead.’ I can make changes in front of the group and remote participants and capture their feedback in VersionOne as the discussions are happening.” The SMARTBoard’s ability to share other images has also proven a boon for the team. “The solution has made the process of explaining and working through problems much more efficient. For example, not long ago we were using a particular diagram that was very dense and would have been a pain to explain to everyone over the phone. But with this solution we were able to call it up on the whiteboard and work it through it in five minutes,” says Zektser. “This is significant, because not only does it save precious time, it also makes comprehending the process so much easier for everyone involved. It makes meetings go faster, but it also saves a lot of effort and confusion on the backend, because there’s no 47
WHAT’S IN THE RACK? VBrick’s Rick Rumbarger and Henry Zektser
VBrick’s DME makes it easy to record the Daily Scrum, Scrum of Scrums, and Sprint Planning Sessions for team members that are absent or working on the other side of the planet. Sessions are securely recorded and stored to each team’s private “YouTube channel” using VBrick’s own DME Videoconferencing Streaming Gateway and its Mystro Video Management Platform.
need to try and pass along and explain information. It’s all there for everyone to see, no matter where they are. Zektser adds that the room’s versatility for collaborative work or simple local meetings came as a pleasant surprise. The SMARTBoard doubles as a large-format display the team can use for PowerPoint, web browsing and sharing Scrum status
boards when not connected to anyone. The SMARTBoard also serves as a large-format display for a collaborative PC loaded with VBrick’s productivity applications (Microsoft Office, VersionOne, Adobe, browsers, etc.) and Microsoft Lync.
In the first few months of operation, the system required a few minutes of backend work to make sure everyone could log in successfully and the HPL made changes to the Crestron menu that • Biamp Tesira Server improved the ease-of-use. But now that • Crestron Digital Media Receiver and the companies have streamlined the signRoom Controller on process into a one-button experience, • Crestron Digital Media Switcher with the company plans to use the new system RPS for more than Scrum. VBrick’s Vice • Dell R5500 Workstation running President of Product Rick Rumbarger says Smart Technologies Bridgit® he plans to roll out the room for other conferencing software areas of the company in coming months, • LifeSize Team 220 Codec including executive-level meetings, • SMARTBoard 8000 Series Interactive project management, and IT. “The HPL’s Flat Panel design supercharged our Scrum sessions • Vaddio A/V Bridge but also provided tools to improve every • VBrick Distributed Media Engine meeting held in that room,” he says. “Now • VBrick VEMS Mystro™ Server we plan to use it for everything.” TPO
A Human Productivity Lab design for a software and hardware development “War Room” with the ability to manage more than a dozen development projects around the world. The room is designed to display multiple individual team charts simultaneously and communicate effectively with Agile-Scrum team rooms around the world. The room is designed to simultaneously seat four development teams locally and one virtually during sprint planning sessions.
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ÂŠ2012 Polycom, Inc.
State of the Industry 2013 Telepresence robotics, remote presence, virtual presence - these terms describe technologies that allow a remote operator to control a robotic platform from afar and interact with remote participants using video.
n the past few years, the telepresence robotics market has exploded with a number of new offerings that range from simple solutions allowing participants to remotely pan and tilt video-enabled tablets or camera-equipped arms to an increasing number of full-sized devices complete with remote navigation capabilities, multiple cameras for navigation and conversation, multiple Wi-Fi radios for uninterrupted connectivity and various other advanced features.
interactions that lead to serendipitous brainstorming instead of scheduled videoconferences that limit the dialogue to the meeting agenda. People tend to accept remote workers so readily as “present” that they can identify coworkers by the way they pilot the device around the office, even if you can’t see their face on the screen.
Many companies and individuals love the concept and get the value of robotic telepresence. With traditional videoconferencing, the remote person’s viewpoint is limited to wherever the camera happens to be located in the room (wall mount, cabinet top, etc.) and the local participants find themselves interacting with a large screen that may or may not be collocated with the camera. In robotic telepresence, the remote person is able to engage with local participants as if they are physically located at the point of the device. Since the point-of-view of both parties converge on the same device, a better engagement results. And since the device can move around, the remote people are able to move themselves to better locations or situations, creating a much better engagement with other locals outside the teleconference space. In the simplest terms, the fact that you can look or even move around the room increases the feeling of “being there.”
The robot market has proven to be trickier than expected. Despite the obvious benefits and appeal, a few pockets of market resistance must be overcome before we can see significant adoption. These pockets of resistance include both market perception issues and actual design challenges.
The technology includes a number of other non-intuitive benefits, such as allowing for random co-worker
MARKET BURDENS AND TECHNOLOGY HURDLES
It takes a leap of faith to be an early adopter of new technology. Market perception issues are expected with many new technologies, and despite our familiarity with Hollywood robots, it’s still unusual to see one in the workplace. Despite the incredibly positive feedback from existing device owners, we are still primarily in that early adopter phase. Also, Hollywood has created extremely unfair expectations, resulting in possible disappointment when viewing the actual options. As cool as they are, today’s telepresence systems still don’t compare to C3P0 or the mechanisms from Surrogates. It’s extremely difficult to design a visually appealing and fully functional device while keeping its costs within an acceptable range for a small business collaboration tool.
The Double Robot uses an iPad as the display and video codec.
The Revolve Robotics Kubi holds a video-enabled tablet or smartphone that can be controlled by a remote participant for a more fluid and natural video call.
We also have actual technical and design challenges to overcome. The most obvious example is the elevator problem. How can you navigate your device from one floor to the next if it loses Wi-Fi and disconnects from the remote user in the elevator? Another challenge is the fact that driving the device eventually stops being fun and becomes a bit of a chore. While driving it around a classroom to get a good view of the teacher isn’t a problem, guiding it through multiple hallways while dodging people and obstacles is another story. Eventually, selfnavigating systems should make this a non-issue. Other adoption blockers include potential network requirements. With any new video enabled deployment, the potential for increased, bandwidth-intensive video traffic must be provisioned for and network security must be maintained. Additionally, a different type of security concern must be addressed for a device with electronic eyes and ears that can roam the building. The market will have to work hard to assure consumers that these devices can be deployed securely with proper authentication and controls. On a positive note, we expect robotic telepresence to get some boost from the fact that videoconferencing, in general, is finally achieving the massive growth we have long anticipated. At its core, robotic telepresence is simply another use case for videoconferencing. As VC becomes more and more ubiquitous, the benefits of VC applications such as robotic telepresence should become more understandable and marketable. Summer 2013
TELEPRESENCE ROBOTICS: ELEMENTS AND FEATURES
Those interested in implementing robotic telepresence as a part of their collaboration environment should carefully consider which feature sets match your priorities, and choose a vendor accordingly. While no two devices in this field are the same, all share several common elements. Presence: There are two aspects of presence to address here. First, it’s important to provide a quality camera so that the remote user can truly see and engage with the local participants. It’s equally important to represent the remote user with as much fidelity as possible. This requirement drives a need for a display that faithfully represents the user’s visage to remote participants. In fact, some people may be uncomfortable with the idea of a monitor-less robot, considering it to be quite intrusive and spy-like. The monitor immediately identifies the remote user and fosters a true faceto-face experience. Monitor sizes and configurations vary greatly, so choose based on your needs and preferences. Height: Like people, robots come in all shapes and sizes. Some are suited for a sit down, across-the-table meeting, others are approximately standing height, while some have variable heights that may be adjustable locally or by the remote user. Again, your needs may vary. Navigation: Navigating a device can be tricky. While most systems come with a fairly intuitive app for remote users, the real issue is the remote user’s point-of-view. Without 51
Price and Per-Month Charges (if any)
$9,700 $79 to $269/mo
$2,499 ($1,999 pre-order). No monthly charge.
Starting at 8900€. No monthly charge.
$1,650 No monthly charges
$3,700 No monthly charges
$5995 plus $100/month (includes 5 services)
34 to 74 inches
Adjustable: 47” - 59”
1meter / 40 inches
48” or 60”
9Kg / 19 lb
25” x 18”
10” x 9”
41cm X 35cm
16” by 12”
16” by 16”
13” wide x 15” deep
5 feet / sec
Slow-moderate walking speed
Limited to 1m/s
Over 2.5 fps
6 to 8 hours
8 hours of use
8-10 hours per charge
8 hours with standard battery; extended battery available
4 hours with standard battery, extended battery available
Over 12 hrs with extended battery, 6 hrs with standard battery
“Hands-free” Dock with unique ID
Yes (automatic reconnection)
Included. VGo auto docks itself.
6 MWM unidirectional mics (1 facing rear)
Long range high quality sound
Uses Tablet’s microphone (iPad or Android)
Digital USB Microphone
4 Omni directional mics. 8Khz HD audio.
AUDIO PERFORMANCE Microphone(s) Type; Quality and Specs
Tale of the Tape: 2013
Speaker(s) Type; Quality and Specs
Misco 15 Watt
On-Bot Video Display
Powerfull loudspeakers for very noisy environments. Headphone accessory for more confidentiality
Uses Tablet’s speakers
Two 1.2W speakers
HD Tweeter / Woofer Combo speakers in base and head
Full-sized iPad 2 or later
Depends on user’s choice of tablet (e.g. 10.1” Display in iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1)
16” wide-screen monitor
Display Resolution / FPS
320x280, up to 30 fps
iPad’s resolution / FPS
Up to VGA/20fps
Depends on user’s choice of tablet
1366 by 768 pixels Up to 720P/30FPS
VGA up to 30 fps
640x480, up to 30 fps
iPad or iPhone’s resolution / FPS. Can also be controlled from a web browser
Up to 720p / 25 fps (standard VGA at 20 fps)
Uses Tablet display and camera
Uses main camera / 720P – 30 FPS
VGA up to 30 fps
Turn head/camera independently No, turns on center from body
Yes with automatic body alignment
Yes tilt/pan Tablet independent of base
No by design. Easier operation, higher reliability, friendlier interaction
Second camera for navigation
No – not required. Has Auto-tilting driving mode.
PILOT VIEW/CONTROLS Display Resolution / FPS
Yes, 1 down camera
Navigation assistance (auto pilot Yes / obstacle avoidance)
Obstacle detection, automatic camera orientation
Infrared sensors for obstacle detection with feedback integrated with control application
Infrared sensors for obstacle detection with feedback integrated with control application
Stair prevention. Obstacle avoidance assistance. No auto pilot except docking.
Navigation integrated with video display, or a separate app.
Integrated and fully web-based (no software to instal)
Separate Controller App for PC or Mac allows use of any video application that is compatible with the selected Tablet
Separate Controller App for PC or Mac
Networks Supported; Number of Radios
2 802.11abgn radios Verizon & ATT 4G
Wifi or 4G / LTE
Wifi a,b,g,n with roaming
Wifi or Cellular, 1 Radio
Wifi or Cellular, 1 Radio
Up to 3 radios Verizon 4G LTE 1 or 2 WiFi: each supporting 2.4 and 5.0 Ghz and complete support for advanced 802.1X security protocols
Bandwidth Required (min and recommended)
0.5 mb symmetric minimum, 1 mb recommended
250Kbps min, recommend 1 Mbps up, 2 Mbps down
25KB/s for LD, 200KB/s for HD
Min 200kbps, 1 Mbps recommended
Video protocols supported (interop abilities)
Proprietary video protocols
WebRTC. iOS SDK will be available
Fully web based. Interoperability not applicable
Any A/V application supported by user’s choice of tablet (Skype, Google Hangout, Polycom, Vidyo, WebEx, Gotomeeting etc.)
Skype, Microsoft Lynx, others coming
H.264 codec, XMPP communications
• Laser Pointer • Robust 2 wheel self balancing, safe in crowded environments • High wheel clearance • Can attach instruments, with network & power served by QB • Drive via browser
Custom 2 radio Wifi connectivity, predictive path visualization, audio array with echo and noise cancellation, powerful speaker for noisy environment, capable of climbing ADA ramps, pilot screen sharing, LED headlights, 2 HD cameras with super wide angle, capable of moving small objects like chairs, doors out of the way
• Self-balancing robot will remain upright even if bumped into by people or things • Very light. Carry by hand & transport in your car • Safe. 15 lbs can’t cause much damage to property or hurt pets • Downward facing camera built-in • Camera height adjustable remotely • Control from web browser from any OS • Easy software upgrades: 1 normal app from Apple’s App Store • Easy hardware upgrades: Replace iPad with latest one from Apple • 3rd-party hardware add-ons supported • 3rd-party software integration supported (via software API) • Regular wifi - no extra setup needed • Free compatibility test app available before purchase
Fully web-based (no software to instal), double camera for navigation (170deg wide angle) and specific tasks (5MP screenshot with short range autofocus). Orientable head for fast point of view change and a better interaction.
• Optional Laser pointer aimed with Pan/Tilt control of Tablet; • Compatible with most networks including 802.1X networks that require security certificate; Available API for user customization
• Optional Laser pointer aimed with Pan/ Tilt control of camera; • Motorized telescoping mast adjusts height; play videos remotely, available security guard app; • Available API for user customization
• Aesthetically pleasing design (voted “Coolest Product”) • “Click and Drag” Simple Driving w/ infinitely variable speed and direction • Auto-transferred snapshots • User controlled camera and “raise hand” lights • 5X no loss Zoom • Text to Speech • Audio Muting • Audio & Video Muting • Network downloadable images • Head lights • Status lights • 2MP HD Camera • AES & TLS Encryption • Firewall port tester • “Presence” indicators • VGoNet Manager web administration of VGos and users • Scheduled user access • 100% remote controlled • Can pivot in its own tiny footprint
The most targeted, cost-effective way of reaching the largest audience in the world interested in videoconferencing, telepresence, and visual collaboration.
Telepresence Options is an integrated program that combines on-line, print and social media to hit a targeted audience with measureable results.
The Telepresence Options website reaches 34,000+ unique visitors a month from 190+ countries! The Telepresence and Videoconferencing Catalog is the Internetâ€™s most comprehensive sourcebook for visual co collaboration solutions, and the monthly Telepresence Options Telegraph newsletter reaches over 6,200 email subscribers.
Publications include Telepresence Options Magazine and the print version of the Telepresence and Videoconferencing Catalog and reach over 5,000+ subscribers and industry influential in over 100 countries via post, 10,000 copies for industry tradeshows and conferences, and an estimated 20,000+ through the iPad-friendly digital edition and syndicated articles. Our Social Media Outreach 3,500+ followers twitter.com/TelepresenceVTC
3,800+ members tinyurl.com/7bp3amx
178,000+ impressions issuu.com/TelepresenceOptions
Interested in cost-effectively reaching the largest and highest quality audience in the world following visual collaboration? info@TelepresenceOptions.com | www.TelepresenceOptions.com/Sponsorship | +1 (512) 828-7317 Summer 2013 55
the ability to look down and see the robot’s base, it’s often difficult to avoid bumping into things, though some systems do include obstacle detection sensors. Other devices allow the remote user to point the main camera downward while navigating, while others include a second, lower, camera for navigation. Finally, at least one device (the Double Robot) has been programmed to follow people around when gently pulled, much as an obedient dog when led by a leash.
The user interface for the MantaroBot offers point and click navigation
Videoconferencing: A number of these devices use Skype or other free consumer VC apps, while others use proprietary video software. Be sure the device you choose can provide the video quality you need, and ideally some integration with your existing communications environment. Other Consideration: Please review our “Tale of The Tape 2013” Robotic Telepresence chart (in this issue) for pricing, as well as additional features and comparison points. New Product Subcategory: “Neck and Head” Robots There’s a reason that standard videoconferencing room systems generally offer Pan / Tilt / Zoom cameras with far end control. The ability for the remote user to turn the device’s head and look around naturally during a meeting is often seen as the strongest feature of a telepresence robot. A new product category tries to have the best of both worlds, tablet/phone stands that allow users to look around during a meeting and are small enough to be carried from location to location, eliminating the need for remote navigation. From vendors like Revolve Robotics and Swivl, these solutions provide remote pan / tilt functionality to a mobile device hosting a video call. New Product Subcategory: Video Enabled Remote Arms IBM recently announced a camera equipped robotic arm called MRO for Mobile Maintenance, Repair and Operations. The device is designed to be carried by a field service technician to a factory floor, set up next to the malfunctioning widget, and controlled remotely by a more senior technician or product expert. The field technician can use both hands and the remote expert can be working with multiple techs in multiple locations simultaneously.
Telepresence Robotics has always been a “when, not if ” technology. Unfortunately, until recently the answer has been “not yet.” However, advances in remotely controllable devices continue to progress alongside advances in videoconferencing technology, both benefiting the Telepresence Robotics field. 56
IBM’s MRO examining an engine block. The remote supervising expert can use a laser designator to call out specific parts to the field tech.
While some technophiles were onboard from day one, the rest of the world is coming along slowly. As the telepresence platforms continue to improve and potential customers get past their preconceptions, the value case should become clearer to all. At some point in the near future, working in multiple global locations via remotely pilotable surrogates may become a regular part of the day. TPO
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Sanford Dickert is a consultant with the Human Productivity Lab, a catalyzing technologist, product expeditor and a remitting/relapsing roboticist. Involved in the intersection of engineering, collaboration, and design, Sanford has been at the forefront of a number of breaking social and robotic technologies. Most relevant was being the VP of IP Product and Services for Interoute Telecommunications and Product Director for the Texai Remote Presence system, one of the first commercial remote presence systems (seen on The Big Bang Theory as the ‘Shel-bot’). Sanford is a prolific writer and his enthusiasm for remote presence systems can be found at Pilot Presence (www.pilotpresence.com). David Maldow, Esq., is a visual collaboration technologist and analyst with the Human Productivity Lab and an associate editor at Telepresence Options. David has extensive expertise in testing, evaluating, and explaining telepresence and other visual collaboration / rich media solutions. David is focused on providing third-party independent analysis and opinion of these technologies and helping end users better secure their visual collaboration environments. You can follow David on Twitter and Google+.
State of the Art: Suitable Technologies Beam
o what is the state of the art in robotic telepresence? Meet Beam. A $16,000, 62-inch, 95-pound remotely pilotable telepresence robot that serves as your digital surrogate in places far, far, away. Boasting the largest display of its class, the Beam displays your virtual visage at 1080P resolution, 60 frames per second at a life-size proportion. It has a five-element microphone array with an adaptive algorithm that ensures proper pickup of the local person’s voice even in a crowded conference environment. It also shows on screen where you intend to go. Suitable Technologies is a spinoff of the famed robotics laboratory Willow Garage, which initially developed the device as a prototype for an electrical engineer in Indiana who wanted a better solution than Skype on a laptop. The original version, called Texai, was a collection of off-the-shelf components designed to test product/market fit. After some initial customer feedback, including the famed Shel-bot episode from The Big Bang Theory, the Willow Garage team decided to back off the market opportunity with a cobbled-together prototype and focus on the issues the Texai highlighted. The Beam is the result of two-plus years of research into how to enable a pilot to establish presence in another location without detracting from the pilot’s conversation. Presence aspects include: • The 17” screen seated about 5”6’ off the ground - which is approximately normal height for standing face-to-face interactions. • The head contains a state-of-the-art microphone array which performs noise canceling and excellent sound localization for the pilot wherever the head is pointing - even in an extremely noisy environment like a CES conference hall • The base is low and heavy to the ground such that it is almost impossible for the device to be knocked over, unless intentionally forced. • The video between pilot and locals is so fast; the latency so small that it feels like the pilot is behind a window talking directly with the locals - using a proprietary video protocol (assumed to be based off of Google’s WebM protocol) • A dual wifi radio solution allows for one radio to be connected to a network while a second radio is seeking all other networks to determine the optimal network to use for a continual seamless experience. Rather than light-weight plastic, the Beam is made with carbon-fiber reinforced plastic identical to the plastic that Lenovo uses to build its Thinkpads, giving the Beam a comfortable solidity without the unnecessary weight of metal. Currently the Beam is controlled by an operator using a PC, high-end webcam and microphone solution running Suitable’s proprietary navigation application. Rumor has it that Suitable is building a full-on pilot station, leveraging the RPD technologies to provide a separate physical interface rather than leveraging a pilot’s laptop and webcam.
> Cont’d from page 23 Dialing Plan: This is an important aspect of a video exchange. Every system has a unique number and/or directory entry that works for both internal and external calls. Experience/QoS: Exchanges often connect disparate networks using disparate QoS tags to match tags and ensure quality connection between different organizations. The exchange has listings for support personnel and both sides of the call to fix any problems that may occur.
The Right Approach For Your Environment
The success of both video exchanges and cloud-based services is testament to the fact that there is not yet a “one-size-fits-all” approach. To gain some clarity about what to consider when creating a videoconferencing environment, we spoke to a number of players in the space. The following organizations were chosen as examples of various approaches to B2B, not as a comprehensive review of all the companies in this growing space.
The AT&T business exchange includes over 130 organizations globally, representing thousands of videoconferencing systems. Recent agreements with Polycom, Tata, T-Systems, the OVCC and other industry parties serve both to expand the scope and to increase the value of AT&T’s business exchange. IPV GATEWAYS Pat Montani, CEO of IPV Gateways, is hosting millions of minutes of videoconferencing traffic and is perhaps one of the most important companies you have never heard of. According to Pat, IPV moves half of the video traffic in North America, but it is all through partnerships with service providers and carriers. IPV is a “neutral party” that does not sell VC equipment or services directly to end users. This allows the company to sit in middle and offer an inter-exchange point for anyone looking to move video traffic. Most importantly, IPV not only hubs the signaling of the calls (i.e. establishing the initial connection) but also provides an exchange point for QoS, security, address translations and interoperability gateways. In other words, IPV partners can address all four of the barriers to B2B.
Montani strongly believes that service providers like Intercall, Providea and IVCi have a successful model for videoconferencing support and will continue to grow. Your connec/on to the world of video collabora/on possibili/es Customers of these types of managed service providers AT&T Business Managed generally enjoy strong adoption Guest Access Exchange Service Bundle and ROI and report high levels of user satisfaction. These Internet, Wi-‐Fi, 4G/LTE, VPN companies and dozens of other service providers and carrier Single-‐screen and Subscriber Model Mobile Endpoints AT&T Owned networks are all connected Equipment behind the scenes via IPV. It is Cisco® or Polycom® AT&T Global Inter-‐provider all hidden from the end users, MPLS Network Customer-‐owned Inter-‐provider who simply take it for granted Endpoints that they can easily call other customers of these service Cisco endpoints providers. AT&T or Customer
AT&T Telepresence Solu/on®
Managed Cisco®, Polycom,® LifeSize ®
Alestra, Globe Telecom
Value-‐Added Network Providers
Global Provider’s Video Exchange
Globe Telecom, Telmex
© 2012 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. AT&T, the AT&T logo and all other AT&T marks contained herein are trademarks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T aﬃliated companies. All other marks contained herein are the property of their respecCve owners. This document is not an oﬀer, commitment, representaCon or warranty by AT&T and is subject to change.
AT&T When we get our phone service from AT&T, we get a unique phone number allowing anyone to call us. It makes sense that AT&T would want to offer the same power to its video customers. However, this isn’t the same situation as the early days of telephony when Ma Bell was able to create a global telephone dial plan and assure the entire world would be a part of it. Recognizing this, AT&T is addressing the issue through a combination of offering its own video exchange and partnering with other exchange providers.
TELIRIS LENTARIS Teliris is a telepresence Polycom environment vendor and highendpoints touch video managed service provider known for its support of multi-screen, multi-codec telepresence and meeting room environments. We spoke with Steve Gage, CTO of Teliris, who explained the company’s approach to B2B. The Lentaris solution is, at its core, a cloud-based, meet-me interop room. Teliris saw early on that the “meet-me” approach solves many of the B2B barriers, as described above. It was also quick to catch on to the scalability and cost benefits of a virtualized solution. As a result, it created Lentaris, which Gage claims was the world’s first cloud-based virtualized interoperability platform. Unlike commercial meet-me rooms, Lentaris is wrapped with Teliris’s acclaimed managed services and is one of only a handful of providers capable of providing connectivity to higher end telepresence rooms using the TIP protocol.
real time in real space connectivity
Innovators of Real Telepresence Before you make your telepresence decision, consider the solutions of the world’s leading innovator. For over a decade DVE has designed and built the most amazing telepresence experiences in the world. Hollywood studios, Wall street financial firms, government agencies, corporations and educational institutions have all relied on the expertise of DVE. Discover why most telepresence from other companies is just ol’ time videoconferencing, and why real telepresence from DVE makes all the difference. Call today for a free consultation.
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keeping u in touch With or without wires, it’s what we do at AT&T. Whether you connect to immersive, desktop or mobile devices, AT&T Telepresence Solution can help you interview an IT director in India, brainstorm with the brand team in Brazil, confer with a consultant in Croatia, or settle with a supplier in Shanghai. AT&T Telepresence Solution gives customers a unique as- a-service approach and a range of flexible options – all delivered as part of an effortless video experience, and the opportunity to get the most value for their investment. Our vision is for our customers to connect whenever they want, to whomever they want, from whatever device they want. It’s a network of possibilities – helping you do what you do even better. See what’s possible for your business.
For more information, please visit www.att.com/telepresence
© 2012 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved.
VIDYOWAY Vidyo recently made a potentially disruptive play in the space by announcing that its new VidyoWay B2B service will be free. Vidyo’s groundbreaking work with H.264 SVC protocol made it arguably the first company to provide business-quality videoconferencing over the public Internet. While most industry insiders and users agreed that the Vidyo technology provided an excellent experience, and the company has enjoyed growth far beyond the industry average, it was perceived as having one weakness: Vidyo solutions can’t make direct calls to traditional “standard’s based” (or “legacy,” as they would say) videoconferencing systems without the use of a gateway. Vidyo developed VidyoWay to address this issue. Both legacy, and Vidyo systems can call into VidyoWay rooms. Since VidyoWay is free, this in effect means that every all Vidyo users now have inherent interoperability with traditional systems, and similarly, all traditional systems now have inherent interop with Vidyo. However, Vidyo is not merely offering VidyoWay as a means to connect Vidyo to traditional systems; it’s offering it as a free B2B solution for ANY environment. For example, a business with SIP based video systems could use VidyoWay to hold B2B meetings with company using H.323 endpoints. The strategy is pretty clear: by giving it away for free, Vidyo hopes to capture a good share of B2B traffic, whether the traffic consists of their customers or not. When these new VidyoWay users wish to expand their environments to include more software-based, desktop and mobile clients, Vidyo expects to be the natural choice. “In the audio conferencing world as people moved to mobile devices, reservation-less meetings drove scheduling hardware ports into oblivion. Video conferencing is going the same way, and capacity needs to be available when you need it. With VidyoWay, people with mobile devices can now connect with those who are using legacy hardware-based room systems, and do it on a reservationless system and best of all do it for free!” — Marty Hollander, SVP market development at Vidyo.
involving two separate B2B strategies. Rather than choose between video exchanges or cloud services (meet-me rooms), the OVCC is going full bore with both approaches. A truly universal video exchange is the ultimate dream. Every videoconferencing system will someday have a universal number that can be dialed from any other videoconferencing system, just the way phone systems work today. OVCC members are working towards that goal and developing on policies to connect the existing exchange islands. A “video dial tone” will happen, but it will take a bit more time. Meanwhile, OVCC has been able to move much faster on the “meet-me” front. A recent press release noted that six OVCC members (AT&T, BCS Global, Airtel, BT, Glowpoint, and Orange) developed an OVCC interconnect network to support new OVCC compliant services. John confirmed that these new services are already being offered by some OVCC members. Previous failed attempts at ubiquitous B2B may temper our enthusiasm for actually solving the problem in the foreseeable future. However, in the last few years the OVCC has made progress on the B2B front and as a result, the fruits of its efforts are actually being implemented today by some of the world’s largest service providers.
The examples above are but a few of the options available to those wanting to connect with partners, vendors and customers. While the options may seem daunting, the fact is that B2B is lot less complicated, expensive and confusing than it was a mere few years ago. Bottom line: Today’s solutions work, and they work well. We no longer have to cross our fingers and hope for the best when attempting to call outside the firewall. There is no more excuse for settling for audio-only B2B communications. You have video collaboration at your disposal, and so do your potential business partners. Get full ROI out of these systems and use them to increase the impact and productivity business communications. TPO
THE OPEN VISUAL COMMUNICATIONS CONSORTIUM The Open Visual Communications Consortium is an organization with a unique approach to the B2B problem. As a non-profit, the OVCC’s goal is to allow the key telecommunication carriers, video managed service providers and vendors to work together on solving the B2B problem once and for all. The mission is bold, but its membership includes some big names necessary for an initiative of this level to work. The OVCC is often mistaken as a technology standards organization, similar to the JCT-VC, which is currently working on the H.265 protocol. This is an understandable mistake, but a mistake nonetheless. The OVCC will not be publishing any protocols; its work is more about policy agreements than technology advances. These agreements are focused on making B2B videoconferencing as simple as B2B telephony. We spoke with OVCC Vice President John Poole to get a little background on the OVCC, its current status and future roadmap. John explained that the OVCC is laying out a two-phase process Summer 2013
ABOUT THE AUTHOR David Maldow, Esq. is a visual collaboration technologist and analyst with the Human Productivity Lab and an associate editor at Telepresence Options. David has extensive expertise in testing, evaluating, and explaining telepresence and other visual collaboration/ rich-media solutions. David focuses on providing third-party independent analysis and opinion of these technologies and helping end users better understand their visual collaboration options including video call centers, video network operations centers, and B2C strategies. You can follow David on Twitter.com/LetsDoVideo.
igraines are caused by many triggers, and for some people (in reality, many) video has been a clear root cause. If you’re on the hook for a highprofile video conference or streaming event, your nervous system is preconditioned for a heightened sense of awareness and stress the day of the event. Your nervous system is likely to go through four stages of change on the route to a migraine: prodrome, aura, attack and postdrome. Here’s how it plays out:
Migraine SECURITY, GOVERNANCE, AND BUSINESS CONTINUITY—ONE STEP AT A TIME BY DOUG HOWARD
PRODROME The early symptom is the stress that pulsates through your body as
you mentally review all the things you and your team did to prepare for anything you could have missed or that might go wrong. So many things outside of your control. So many points of failure. Will the network holdup? Did the firewall get changed? Did anything change since you did the test an hour ago?
AURA The inability to focus comes
quickly as things don’t work as expected. The call dropped … how hard is it to just reconnect? Why am I the only one that knows how to do this? The remote users can’t join the stream and continue to hit the connection over, and over, and over, and over again, exacerbating the problem. Is the room spinning? Why is this taking so long? Why is everyone looking at me?
ATTACK The pain is in full effect now. POSTDROME OK, breathe, let’s How could this have happened? How could we have missed that? Everything was working before. They say it’s not the network. How long will the pain last. You’re the last stop for the blame train. Your head is pounding and you can’t think straight. What will happen now?
Even if everything goes perfectly, your body assumes the worst and forces your nervous system into believing the worst will occur just as it has so many times before. The net result … the VIDEO MIGRAINE. Introducing or expanding video across an enterprise provides significant business value … but not without risk. Video within an enterprise, like any application, introduces new considerations that have wide-reaching impacts on the business and IT alike. The positive benefits to a business that use video are boundless, but video can also be very dangerous if not properly planned and managed. Video, unlike most applications, introduces both requirements and impacts associated with latency and bandwidth to an extreme degree, as well as security and Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR) demands. Also, because video is part of your Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC) suite, it often falls under one or more compliance and regulatory requirements. In all cases it falls under U.S. state and international privacy and Personal Identifiable Information (PII) laws. Video is also a broad term that encompasses Video Teleconferencing Conferencing (VTC), Streaming Video, and Video on Demand (VOD). Endless business applications fall under video as well, including desktop, room and telepresence for VTC, webcasting, executive and financial/product broadcast, IPTV, process monitoring and surveillance for live and hybrid streaming, ondemand training, enterprise YouTube, compliance archiving, and publishing fall under VOD. Summer 2012
figure out what happened and make sure it doesn’t happen ever again … assuming I still have a job. How will I recover from this? Man I have a headache. Where are the aspirin and how soon can I get a drink or three? I think I’ve aged 50 years.
Video should be considered a key element to support your overall corporate BCDR plan, providing a rich communications conduit during critical times. This doesn’t count all the other supporting categories such as lecture capture, editing, content management/storage, and video intelligence. One last complication is video delivery, which includes variables such as frequency of use, inside/outside the firewall routing and transversal, transmuxing/transcoding, automatic network condition detection and adjusting, and integration with other business applications that may reside on premise or In the Cloud (ITC). As with all things revolving around IT, it’s often overwhelming to know where and when to start. We recommend starting before the next purchase or add-on order. After all, if your network, the Internet, conference rooms and studios, audio systems, viewer platforms and standards were static and you never introduced new and add-on devices and applications, you’d never get a video migraine! VENDOR AUDIT AND MANAGEMENT WITHIN THE IT SECURITY DISCIPLINE Many companies are required by law or their own business needs to perform vendor oversight, ensuring the vendor has adequate information security and data protection incorporated into its products and services. In truth, every organization must secure its environments in the face of changing technologies, people and 63
processes. Before adding an IT vendor’s product or service to your organization’s operational profile, you must first set your own standards for IT security, governance and business continuity. You may choose from a few primary routes for such a policy: 1) Adopt the international series of standards, presently the ISO 27000 series 2) Adopt the free written policies used by your country’s government, such as the US NIST standards 3) Adopt a uniquely created standard. ISO/IEC 27001 formally specifies a management system to bring information security under explicit management control. A formal specification means that it mandates specific requirements so organizations can be formally audited and certified compliant. While ISO has expenses for purchasing the standards, it’s globally recognized and provides a well-developed base outline for an organization to build unique standards around. The ISO 2700 series are primarily designed around securing and enterprise, but with a little creativity they can be used for auditing and evaluating your vendors. The ISO standard contains 12 main sections that can be mapped specifically to the evaluation of any vendor. They include: 1. Risk Assessment—What is the general risk of doing business with the vendor (i.e. financial viability, technical solution, deployment options and requirements, etc.) 2. Security policy—What is the vendor’s written security policy 3. Organization of information security—Governance of information security 4. Asset management—Inventory, classification and prioritization of information assets and services 5. Human resources security—Security aspects for employees joining, moving within and leaving an organization 6. Physical and environmental security—Protection of the physical users’ computers and devices and the datacenter facilities 7. Communications and operations management— Management of technical security controls in systems and networks 8. Access control—Restriction of access rights to networks, systems, applications, functions and data 9. Information systems acquisition, development and maintenance—Building security into applications 10. Information security incident management—
Anticipating and responding appropriately to information security breaches 11. Business continuity management—Protecting, maintaining and recovering business-critical processes and systems 12. Compliance—Ensuring conformance with information security policies, standards, laws and regulations Now the real complication is making sure that all your standards meet the following criteria: 1) actually make you more secure 2) can be supported by your organization and properly 64
managed to the standards you document 3) fulfill your governance requirements so you can provide proper reporting on all the regulatory and compliance standards your organization is subject to 4) continue to be applicable even when the inevitable adversity strikes and your infrastructure, people, and processes continue to operate at a minimal level to sustain the business needs.
In order to properly evaluate a vendor, we recommend a simple three-staged process in auditing and managing the vendor relationship ongoing. Ultimately, you can use this snapshot to demonstrate regulatory compliance, contractual compliance and adherence to best practices for information security practices: 1. Collect information—Issue a detailed questionnaire to your vendors. This should be a contractual commitment in your Master Service Agreement, and the replies should be contractually binding. 2. Verify—Conduct telephone and on-site visits to verify the responses to the questionnaire and to identify other gap areas not mentioned by the vendors. 3. Analyze and Report—Draft and deliver a final report that identifies areas of strengths and weaknesses as measured against your organization’s defined standards. We suggest allowing your vendor to review and provide comments to the report. 4. Determine Acceptance—You must now judge if the introduction of the vendor into your operations lets you to maintain your acceptable risk level for the business. 5. Manager—Assuming you’re comfortable with the vendor, your report provides a point-in-time analysis of the vendor and a risk profile. It should also fulfill the following: www.TelepresenceOptions.com
a. Provide a list of remediation items and agreed-upon vendor actions and timeframe to correct the most critical open-risk items. b. Have a defined schedule for auditing and reevaluating the vendor (typically every 12-18 months or when a major change occurs.) These were just a small sample of key points you must take into consideration when evaluating a vendor and the vendor’s introduction into your environment does not increase your risk profile. This is the magic of properly creating, testing, and updating a security, governance, and business continuity Program. A well-defined vendor audit and management program supports your business and ensures that the information security controls are operating effectively to protect customer and employee personal information and company trade secrets while creating a measurable assessment of how your outsourcing vendors protect your data. CONCLUSION So, as you digest all the things that could go wrong, take a pause. The “aha moment” will hit you and you’ll know why so many VTC calls and streamed events fail to deliver positive results most of the time. Each of these topics could justify a full-length book. Rather, we’ve committed to writing several “to the point” articles over the next year. In the next article, “Removing the Video Gremlins: Knowing What’s Wrong Before the Big Event,” we’ll discuss best practices to ensure your video infrastructure is ready for use. We plan on outlining a clear case that—when properly planned and tested regularly—video can be provided consistently, at a high quality … without a migraine. TPO
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Doug Howard consults with the Human Productivity Lab specializing in helping organizations to ensure video solutions, and other business applications, meet the customers’ business value expectation and are deployed in a manner that properly fit into their governance, security, and BCDR programs. Howard is the founder and CEO of Savanture, where he draws upon his experience in governance, security and BCDR from his prior roles including vice president of Security and Business Continuity at AT&T, COO of BT Counterpane, the security division of BT, chief strategy officer of SilverCloud (previously Perimeter e-Security), and his video and UCC expertise from his role as president of USA.NET and prior position as CEO of VBrick Systems. Howard resides just outside of Washington, DC and can be reached at Doug@HumanProductivityLab.com.
Telepresence Options Magazine is the only magazine focused on videoconferencing, telepresence, and visual collaboration. The Summer 2013 i...
Published on Jun 9, 2013
Telepresence Options Magazine is the only magazine focused on videoconferencing, telepresence, and visual collaboration. The Summer 2013 i...