Integrating video with instant messaging and presence is not new. All of the major PBX manufacturers, including Avaya Inc., Nortel Networks Ltd., Cisco Systems Inc., Mitel Networks Corp., Siemens Information and Communication Networks Inc. and Alcatel Internetworking Inc. demonstrate easily launched video calling on their platforms, with the addition of adjunct media and MCU servers. Siemens OpenScape product has its own integration with Microsofts LCS server, and hence with the Windows desktop and Office applications. Read more here about the OpenScape collaboration portal.Radvision, for its part, is certainly happy to sell its MCUs and gateways into any videoconferencing scenario. And Benedict is careful to note that hardware versions of the Radvision platform still will be required for intensive tasks such as transcoding between ISDN and IP or H.323 and SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) endpoints, for conferencing in audio-only PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) or cellular participants, or between endpoints of variable bandwidths. He said he foresees large videoconference-enabled networks as using some combination of software MCUs, and hardware MCUs and gateways. The software-based iVIEW MCU is expected to be available for customer development by years end and generally available in the first quarter of 2005, supporting the GA of Microsofts LCS client. Check out eWEEK.coms VOIP & Telephony Center at http://voip.eweek.com for the latest news, views and analysis on voice over IP and telephony.
Videoconferencing is also a feature of consumer instant messaging services, while typically small-screen and choppy. Benedict is careful to distinguish Yahoos or MSNs video optionor even the enterprise Windows Messengerfrom what LCS Istanbul client and Radvision will support: audio and 30 frame-per-second, full-motion video at CIF, full-screen resolution.