Tuesday I had an opportunity to try Telesphere’s new VideoConnect service. VideoConnect is a video conference service targeting what’s loosely called the “SMB” sector. That is, businesses smaller than typically use hardware-centric telepresence or video conferencing solutions.
To understand VideoConnect to helps to first frame up Telesphere, who are a Phoenix AZ based provider of hosted Voice/UC services based upon the Broadsoft cloud. Telesphere’s service offering also leverages their private, managed MPLS network. That means that they provide a private connection to end-user sites, ensuring that their services are delivered without issues of QoS/QoE.
Telesphere are a fine example of the fact that not all VoIP is voice over the public internet, ala Vonage et al. That said, they do support roaming users who may be accessing the service via the public internet while out of office.
To facilitate the video briefing Telesphere provided a copy of Counterpath’s Bria For BroadWorks and login credentials. Given a little fiddling with my Logitech 9000 webcam and a Plantronics Savi W430 DECT headset I was all set for to hear (see?) about the service, by way of the service itself.
Clark Petersen, CEO of Telesphere described the strategy of bringing the service to market quickly through partnering with technology leaders Broadsoft and Polycom. VideoConnect is built upon the Polycom UC Intelligent Core. That makes it standards-based, scalable, and of course compatible with Polycom end-points like the HDX series room systems and VVX-1500 Business Media Phone.
Beyond folks from Telesphere the other pariticipants on the call included representatives from Broadsoft and Polycom. I’m told that all were using Polycom HDX series end-points.
VideoConnect supports both SIP and H.323 based connectivity. The service supports mixing various clients and video resolutions up to 1080p. Support for audio includes the suite of Polycom HDVoice codecs. They will eventually support other forms of collaboration like desktop sharing, a common white board, IM and presence.
In supporting the Bria soft client Telesphere ensures that prospective users have a means of leveraging VideoConnect without any capital spending. Yet, being standards compliant user can bring to bear a mix of hardware and software end-points to best address their needs across various locations.
A pricing plan for VideoConnect was not released yet, but I was interested to hear that all in-network calls would be free. That would include calls between offices and calls to/from other Telesphere users.
During the briefing the video quality that I experienced was adequate, but not outstanding. I don’t attribute this to the service itself as my Windows XP-based desktop PC is starting to show it’s age. The audio quality was good, and audio sync was not a problem. I look forward to trying VideoConnect with a couple of different client devices to get a better impression of what the service can do with a bone fine HD-capable end-point.
The companies official press release about VideoConnect can be found here.