Creating Unified Collaboration from Collaboration Islands
Business collaboration for the user is supposed to be easy to do, reliable, and make your daily business life more productive. On top of that, having high quality audio and video should mean conversations and content sharing can be carried out without repetition and serious squinting.
It really should be as straightforward to achieve this as buying some hardware and a service, having it installed and maintained, and everything is great and works. All your employees are happy collaborating. However, as most businesses find out, it’s more complicated than that.
Video conferencing has a renowned history for being difficult, and whilst many of those challenges are being overcome, such as ease of use, the interoperability of different manufacturers continues to cause headaches for service owners due to closed architecture or a protective island approach to the way the businesses were run.
Standards and protocols developed over the past two decades have defined the way video & audio data are captured, converted & transmitted between endpoints, but these idea’s don’t have to be abided by. H.323, developed by ITU-T (ITU Telecommunications Standardization Sector) was the go to protocol that businesses used a few years ago.
Manufacturers have been developing their own new protocols, and as such video standards have evolved. What this has done is create a network of disconnected networks, unable to talk between one another without special integration and gateways.
For example. In the past, Cisco endpoints would not easily allow you to connect with Polycom endpoints and vice versa, as both had modified their protocol in an attempt to make companies ‘lock’ themselves to a particular manufacturer. Thankfully, this has now progressed so that all h.323 devices should now communicate with each other.
Instead, now many companies are looking at deploying either Microsoft Skype for Business or Cisco Spark across their company as the primary unified collaboration tool.
Both Microsoft Skype for Business and Cisco Spark use SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) as the protocol for communication between users. Whilst both SIP and H.322 support voice over IP, when they were created (both in 1996), they were developed differently. The result of this is that SIP and H.323 will not currently directly connect with each other for video conferencing meetings, and as such another island has been created.
Within the next decade we may see that SIP becomes the only protocol, and H.323 fades away, based on current growth and predictions, but for now companies are in the situation whereby they may have traditional H.323 endpoints within meeting rooms and Skype for Business deployed across the desktop, either as an on-premises deployment, or from the O365 cloud, or Spark from the Cisco Collaboration Cloud, and they will not connect directly to each other. What’s the solution, that doesn’t involve binning perfectly good hardware?
Videocall’s ICE (Intelligent Cloud Experience) will act as the gateway service to link the island of H.323 to the island of SIP, connecting users and allowing them to collaborate as normal. ICE works tirelessly in the background so that users will not even notice that anything is different from normal. Their workflows remain the same, their overall experience including connecting, layout and content sharing will remain as they would normally expect in both the SIP and H.323 island. You can even use ICE to connect to clients, partners, suppliers, customers and other third parties that are located outside of the four walls of your office environment.
ICE truly is in a league of its own when it comes to being the solution of connecting your island collaboration technology and making it truly unified. A thirty-day free trial is all you will need to be convinced that ICE is the best solution to the current challenge for enterprise businesses working on a national or global scale.