Videocall’s ICE Cloud Service: Flexible, Scalable, Interoperable… But How So, and Where’s The Value?

Some phrases come up a lot when you read about the benefits of a cloud strategy, and quite rightly too, they’re key features of a truly innovative service. But what exactly do the cloud buzz words mean to an enterprise and what value trickles down to the user communities?
In the second part of this blog series talking to Videocall’s industry experts we look to our Head of Solutions Engineering to ascertain how our Intelligent Cloud Experience (ICE) can add real value to both your business objectives and end users. 

Q: In brief – what is ICE?

ICE is a cloud based video as a service platform, made simple with the ability to arrive via any video-enabled device, anywhere in the world. You can unify all of your video conferencing estate in one easy-to-manage, and easy-to-access solution, meaning your users have access to stress-free no hassle connection anywhere, anytime. This kind of agility is both appealing to the users and the enterprise – it creates the highly desired flexible offering that is expected by employees and it gives the workforce the agility to execute it successfully.

Q: What options do customers have to create a bespoke cloud service within ICE?

Well, firstly, the only way to create a truly bespoke and fit for purpose solution is by understanding our customers’ strategy. So I guess the industry experts at Videocall are the biggest enabler of a bespoke offering. But, if we are talking about providing options to customise the users experience within the business setting, we can offer multiple choices to enable maximum engagement across the enterprise: web access via WebRTC, web only access, Skype for Business native integration, interoperability with Microsoft Outlook, streaming, recording, concierge style managed conference calls for the select group of users who need to be hands-off…
As well as this we can leverage existing hardware rather than taking a blanket ‘replace all’ attitude to end points, which will remove cost and update your capabilities simultaneously.

Q: How do we know our solution will be fit for purpose to the end user?

Because before we go to design and deployment we make sure we discover the customers’ business objectives, short and long term goals, plus the varying requirements of the user communities across the enterprise.
We base our service entirely on customer needs, then as our journey as the service provider progresses we evaluate adoption, engagement and usage. If we see the service is adding value to the collaboration strategy, we know that it is fit for purpose – but we won’t rest there. We review our service constantly to ensure you are always equiped with the tools to drive success in your business. We will bring reporting to you that will enable you to make informed decisions on the products and services we can offer to drive ROI further.

Q: What makes ICE scalable?

ICE is provided on a concurrent connection basis. Simply put – the amount of concurrent connections that your business requires can be up scaled as your business evolves.
We provide monthly visibility reporting for all ICE customers so we regularly assess your needs and can make recommendations to ensure you always have the service optimised amount of concurrent connections available – keeping you proactive in the face of your changing business needs.

Q: How do Videocall maintain a reliable and robust service?

By harnessing the power of a world class technology platform that is complimented with our own tool kit of products and services - which are designed and deployed at service provider grade. The end result is a product that suits your needs in a way that truly enhances the quality of your users experience whilst giving ultimate availability, and unquestionable reliability. You can boast that your enterprise is ‘always available’ with the peace of mind that is actually is.

Q: What options can ICE offer to utilise Skype for Business or everybody’s go-to application: Microsoft Outlook?

There are three ways we can create interoperability with these pieces of software: EAGLE, ICE Connect and ICE Join.

EAGLE is Videocall’s service management platform, designed to give users a single interface from which to manage all of their conferencing and meeting space reservation needs. Within EAGLE we deploy a proxy that will create an EAGLE function button in the Outlook environment. Users can utilise EAGLE without ever leaving their Outlook invitation– reducing training costs and keeping the workflow simple. EAGLE is free of charge to ICE users and you can opt to add in the Outlook interoperability at any time.

ICE Connect brings Skype for Business (SfB) and ICE onto the same page – and not just to maintain native workflow environments. ICE Connect leverages the existing SfB functionality in Outlook and bridges the SfB infrastructure – this ensures SfB traffic utilises SfB licences while ICE traffic utilises ICE ports. This prevents overloading of either while further realising ROI for both. As well as this, ICE Connect allows you to schedule single click to join video conferences via your Outlook invitation system, making your user experience unbelievably simple.

ICE Join also creates single click to join functionality from Outlook to room systems (with or without the presence of SfB). By amending users email signatures to include their Virtual Meeting Room (VMR) number you can create a one-touch ‘join’ button on your conference room screens, so users never need to use a dial string again. An on premise proxy is deployed remotely by Videocall to facilitate all of your meeting rooms with this function so this can be added into your service with no user disruption whatsoever.

Q: What’s the biggest benefit ICE can bring to the users?

ICE absorbs the strain associated with video conferencing. It simplifies the connection process. ICE doesn’t care what device you’re using, where you are in the world or how you plan on arriving – it makes your connection method and location irrelevant. The process is the same regardless of how and where you are – and that process is clear, simple, easy and intuitive.
User adoption consistently exceeds expectation when ICE is deployed, and true value lays in the users engagement. 

For a deep dive look at ICE, and how VaaS has revolutionised workplace collaboration, download the ICE eBook today and start your journey to a better communication strategy.