Ready for Video?


After all the years of hype that video conferencing would become the “next big thing,” that moment seems to have finally arrived. More than 80% of companies are using it, and breadth of usage is growing among the majority of our research participants, especially at the desktop, where nearly the same percentage of firms are evaluating or planning a future deployment.

But video isn’t just about conferencing. Spurred by the growth of public services such as YouTube, IT and business leaders increasingly are exploring ways to leverage user-generated video to improve collaboration. Video streaming, storage, and signage platforms are becoming commonplace: 34% of companies have deployed a video streaming solution, and 37% are evaluating or planning to deploy streaming video. Video streaming is evolving beyond corporate-wide messages from the CEO or other senior executives. Employees wish to create their own video for demonstrating new products, training, or providing project updates. What’s more, as video conferencing use grows, many IT architects see a rising demand to record video conferences for those unable to attend.

As video becomes pervasive, users expect the ability to conference with anyone, from anywhere, via any-type of end-point without regard for whether other participants are on the road, at their PCs, or in an immersive suite. This evolving demand raises significant challenges for converged network architects and managers. Users expect video to perform well, regardless of whether they are on a wired or wireless network. Emerging cell-phone-based capabilities such as Apple’s Facetime or Sprint’s Qik will continue to drive demand for mobile video, as well as integration between consumer services and enterprise video systems.

Meeting these challenges starts with an architecture addressing video device interoperability, the underlying data network and performance optimization.

IT architects must address the need of the underlying data network (both wired and wireless) to support growing video traffic. From a network capacity engineering perspective, network managers must:

  • Model video traffic flows to ensure appropriate bandwidth.
  • Deliver an underlying network infrastructure that minimizes latency and jitter.
  • Deploy application optimization technologies such as caching, compression, rate shaping, and IP multicast to minimize server and network loads during peak times and ensure consistent application performance.
  • Deploy management tools or services to proactively monitor video performance across the network.

Bottom line: Addressing these areas will improve the likelihood of success of your video initiatives. Addressing both wired and wireless networks will enable you to deliver a consistent solution across the converged network.

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.