Unifying desktop apps as part of a UC strategy

* Avistar CMO Stephen Epstein suggests that integration of desktop computers and laptops with desktop phones and mobile devices is critical to business operations

We recently had a chance to talk with Avistar's CMO, Stephen Epstein, about how video conferencing fits into a unified communications strategy and portfolio. Avistar was founded in 1994 and has since been focused on making business-class "visual communications" as commonplace and easy to use as the telephone. The company's commercial-grade desktop video conferencing deployments range from small/midsize businesses with hundreds of users, to larger clients with thousands of desktops. Avistar sells through technology licensing (with companies such as IBM, LifeSize and Logitech) with a direct retail sales team for larger customers, and via distributors.

Epstein believes that UC is about unifying desktop applications, noting that this approach is where his company is focused. He suggests that integration of desktop computer and laptops with desktop phones and mobile devices is critical to business operations, and making desktop applications work well without adding more hardware to provide interoperability is the best approach to integration.

When we asked Epstein about the importance of mobile video, he endorsed our notion about the need for video to be part of a mobility service, noting that his company already provides applications to netbooks. He also suggested that video application support using Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is also important as business progress to a virtual or thin client architecture. And he predicts that "perhaps as early" as 2011, we'll see mobile devices with sufficient processor power and with video cameras on the "screen side" to enable video conferencing -- both features needed to enable a reasonably good video conferencing connection.

Our observations: We agree with Epstein on the need to include mobility for video, and we might even be willing to echo his predictions on handset capabilities for video conferencing by 2011. But what we're not sure of is the ability of mobile networks (at least in the United States) to accommodate the capacity needed for real time bi-directional video demands. Mobile operators predict continued demand for mobile data services -- we wonder how they'll handle mobile high definition video at 20 to 30 frames per second.

Our thanks to Epstein for his insights.

Learn more about this topic

Avistar looks to bring desktop videoconferencing to the masses 

Expanding videoconferencing to the desktop

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