Two more communications companies are joining the increasingly crowded cloud-based video conferencing space.
Masergy Communications, which provides a range of offerings in such areas as hybrid networks, managed security and cloud communications, on Nov. 4 unveiled its Virtual Meeting Room (VMR) cloud video conferencing service. It's a WebRTC-enabled service that is integrated with Masergy's unified communications (UC) offering and private network solutions, according to company officials.
Masergy's announcement came a day after MediaPlatform, which offers an on-demand video and live streaming platform for enterprises, unveiled SmartBridge, a cloud-based video conferencing gateway that works with other MediaPlatform products to enable customers to Webcast, auto-archive and replay video conferences.
The offerings from the two vendors come at a time of transition in the global video conferencing market. Organizations continue to migrate away from expensive room-based systems as they deal with increasingly mobile employees that want to be able to visually collaborate anytime, anywhere and on any device, from laptops to smartphones to tablets. They also are meeting in smaller groups, driving the need for more flexible, mobile offerings.
"IDC survey adoption data indicates that video is still a key component of collaboration and continues to place high on the list of priorities for many organizations," Petr Jirovsky, research manager for the market research firm's Worldwide Networking Trackers unit, said in a statement in September when IDC issued its quarterly report on the market. "And customers continue to work through determining how best to provision their video deployments, as more software-centric and cloud-based service offerings become part of the enterprise video market landscape."
Established video conferencing vendors, such as Cisco Systems, Polycom and Logitech's Lifesize Communications, are rapidly building out their cloud-based portfolios to meet the growing demand. A growing number of smaller vendors—from Vidyo to Blue Jeans Network to Zoom Communications—are looking to gain inroads into the market with their own cloud-based offerings.
Masergy officials are looking to address the demand for easy-to-use cloud based solutions that enable businesses to expand video conferencing capabilities among their workers.
"Businesses need to improve collaboration and accelerate decision-making among employees, customers and partners," Dean Manzoori, vice president of product management at Masergy, said in a statement. "Our latest cloud-based innovation enables enterprises to democratize workgroup collaboration by making video communications simple, affordable and now—truly ubiquitous."
VMR enables customers to use any device for their video conferences, and allows participants to use multiple devices on the same call and to move between them without disrupting communications. It also leverages WebRTC, which is designed to enable browser-to-browser video collaboration without having to install software.
The cloud service can support up to 25 sites, people or locations, includes such UC features as presence, instant messaging and content sharing, and also comes with an active talk feature that enlarges the image of the person speaking and the ability to customize the layout of the screen.
It's available now for a monthly rate of $22.
MediaPlatform's SmartBridge is a session initiation protocol (SIP) gateway that works with the company's WebCaster technology to enable the webcasting of video conferences and its PrimeTime product for auto-archiving and replaying. It enables businesses to deliver video conferences to groups of unlimited sizes, and can work with dedicated room systems from the likes of Cisco and Polycom and software from Vidyo, Lifesize, Blue Jeans and others.
Users can participate on desktop PCs, notebooks, tablets or smartphones, according to company officials.
"We believe SmartBridge's value will come in two major forms for customers," MediaPlatform CTO Dennis Khoo said in a statement. "Enterprises will be able to leverage their existing video conferencing units as a convenient video source for webcasts, and secondly, connecting SmartBridge to an MCU [multi-control unit] will allow organizations to take advantage of the features, functionality, and pre-existing deployment of their video conferencing system for webcasting purposes."