BT has announced the launch of a cloud-hosted version of its videoconferencing platform that offers interoperable support with almost all end-points on the market, including tablets and smartphones, to meet the growing demand for video calling.
The Video Bridging 3.0 tool allows organisations to make calls over the system, which is managed by BT, between all types of devices, ranging from high definition room-based systems to devices such as the iPad, or Android and iPhone smartphones.
John Short, BT Conferencing's head of video services product management, told V3 that by hosting the service in the cloud and utilising the Telepresence Interoperability Protocol (TIP), firms could use a raft of different equipment for their calls.
"Firms were increasingly ending up with islands of technology that didn't work together as they used different protocols but since the introduction of TIP we have been able to make the system work across almost all devices," he said.
"By offering the service in the cloud we can manage the infrastructure and bridging requirements and let firms dial in to the call from whichever end points they have and use our management services to help organise the call if necessary."
Short said users wanting to connect mobile devices to the system would need to download an application from a videoconferencing provider that supports either the H.323 or SIP standard in addition to the H.264 standard video protocol.
Firms can register their interest from Monday, with pricing based on customers' individual requirements. Basic prices start at around 16 pence per minute for standard definition calls, while a flat fee of £2,500 is charged for a year's management of a room-based system.
Currently, six multinationals are trialing the technology, although BT said it could not name any of them, while BT itself has also been using the system internally, Short said.
Demand for videoconferencing systems on mobile devices is growing rapidly, with Polycom launching an application for the iPad 2, Motorola Xoom and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 that allows high-quality videoconferencing between the devices.
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