Matchmaking pays off – Visual Networks, Compunetix

Matchmaking pays off – Visual Networks, Compunetix – Company Business and Marketing

Integrators and solutions providers wed clients to packaged videoconferencing services.

Managed services are the next-generation step for integrators and solution providers. By installing the MCU (multipoint control unit) at the customer site, the solution provider is able to offer a complete package of videoconferencing services while allowing the end user to have control over ISDN line costs. Such an arrangement gives the client the opportunity to negotiate optimal line rates with its ISDN provider based on its existing phone services. As videoconferencing expands, solution providers increasingly will want to provide a high level of service to their clients in the most cost-effective manner available. The partnership between Visual Networks Ltd. of Australia and Compunetix, Inc. in Monroeville, Pa., provides an example of such an arrangement.

COURTING THE RIGHT PRODUCT

A Visual Networks Ltd.’s client–active in the financial-services market–recently recognized the need to increase the functionality of its video network and add more flexibility to its conference-call management. The client was very knowledgeable about its needs and what would be its selection criteria and expectations for replacing an existing videoconferencing system. Placing a great deal of importance on the features offered by the videoconferencing MCU, the client also had a desire to build a long-term relationship with a responsive MCU manufacturer.

Visual Networks used its knowledge of the videoconferencing market and its experience with various MCUs to suggest a solution to its client. Between the two, the selection was the Virtuoso by Compunetix, a company that develops multimedia, multipoint telecommunications systems for commercial and government markets. Its small-scale H.320-compliant multipoint control unit (MCU) provides up to eight ports of multimedia conferencing and replaced the client’s existing system with a reliable, flexible, and comprehensive one. Currently available in audiovisual or fully multimedia system configurations, this turnkey product is designed for corporate and interoffice applications and is shipped with plug-and-play capabilities to simplify the installation process.

ENGAGING FEATURES

Visual Networks provided the value-added solution to its client by utilizing the multimedia version, which includes continuous presence and transcoding capabilities. Transcoding allows all participants to see and hear each other and may be initiated at any time. The system is connected to the PSTN using two E1 PRI (primarly rate interface) lines provided by the client’s local telephone company. Connecting the system to the public network allows Visual Networks to provide the most flexible solution for its clients who have offices located across the country. This configuration also allows the client to communicate via video with any H.320-based video rooms outside of its organization. The room systems are linked to the telephone network through BRI (basic rate interface) connections.

In this particular implementation, Visual Networks chose to configure its client’s system for complete remote operation, installing it at the customer premises but operating from a remote-user interface. Configured with modem links for the Windows-based graphical user/ control interface, the system allows a conference coordinator to remotely configure and handle conference operation. Having multiple modem links permits Visual Networks to control multiple conferences simultaneously or to have multiple conference coordinators control a single conference.

A LONG AND HAPPY LIFE

With its new system installed, Visual Networks’ client increased the effectiveness of its video meetings, finding added flexibility in conference management. By using the dynamic video-mode switching feature unique to this system, the client is no longer required to perform any advance setup. The staff can quickly and easily change the configuration of the company’s in-progress conferences without disconnecting conference participants. For example, the client can change the conference from voice-activated to continuous presence, and back again, without disrupting the conference, an improvement over the old system.

The client now tailors its meetings to the participants’ needs to more closely simulate face-to-face encounters. The client has also found it beneficial to select various video displays while in continuous-presence mode (dual for two images, quad for four, single view for one, and mixed for six), improving the flow of conferences and enhancing the experience of the conference participants. The improved conference control offered by the videoconferencing system has lead to increased usage of the video network for executive meetings, strategic planning sessions, and video correspondence with outside parties. With the marriage of specialists in me video marketplace and leading network and telecommunications companies, clients from every professional walk of life will be beneficiaries of completely packaged videoconferencing services.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Circle 271 for more information from Compunetix, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 1999 Nelson Publishing

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group