Software-Based Video Conferencing

video conferencingZTE is rolling out a software-based video conferencing solution that is aimed at addressing the changing demands brought about by such trends as an increasingly mobile workforce and the consumerization of IT.

The giant Chinese tech vendor on Feb. 11 unveiled its cloud offering, which includes software-based multipoint control units (MCUs) for bridging video conferencing connections, mobile applications and desktop clients, according to company officials. It also includes new video conferencing endpoints, including the ET501 smart terminal.

The offering is aimed at enterprises and service providers, according to ZTE.

The software-based MCU is the Cloud Conferencing Manager (CCM 1000), which enables users to install the system and start video conferences within 10 minutes. It offers high-definition video conferencing and can support large numbers of participants. The CCM 1000 also supports virtualized conferencing platforms.

The ET501 smart terminal supports WiFi and access point functions, which will help small and midsize enterprises, and offers a compact design that drives cost efficiencies and fast deployment. The vendor's VT100 mobile and desktop client products support devices that run Google's Android, Apple's iOS and Microsoft's Windows operating systems. Such wide platform support is increasingly important given the rise of bring-your-own-device (BYOD), where employees increasingly decide which device they use.

ZTE's new offering enters a market that is growing and is undergoing a significant transformation as large, complex and expensive immersive conference-room systems from the likes of Cisco Systems, Polycom and LifeSize Communications are giving way to software- and cloud-based solutions. Those established players are aggressively building out their cloud and software collaboration portfolios, while a growing number of smaller vendors—like Vidyo, Zoom Communications and Blue Jeans Network—are gaining a foothold in the space due to their cloud- and software-based offerings.

Industry analysts have said the demand for video conferencing is continuing to grow, as businesses look for ways to improve collaboration and worker productivity. Transparency Market Research analysts last month said they expect the global market for video conferencing equipment and services to grow from $3.31 billion in 2013 to $6.4 billion by 2020. In addition, while on-premises offerings accounted for about 80 percent of revenues in 2013, newer deployment types like managed video conferencing servers and cloud-based solutions will grow rapidly, fueled by businesses' need to reduce capital expenditures and the mobility and BYOD trends, the analysts said.

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