Addressing Mobile Issues
ShoreTel, Vidyo, Radvision Bring UC, Video Apps to Apple, Android Devices
Unified communications and video collaboration technology vendors are bringing their products to smartphones and tablets as enterprises increase their demand for high-end communications capabilities while dealing with employees looking to bring their mobile device into the corporate environment.
ShoreTel on Oct. 10 is expanding the reach of its ShoreTel Mobility solution-which enables the integration of mobile devices with IP PBX systems-to smartphones and tablets running Google's Android operating systems and Research In Motions BlackBerry OS 6 platform. ShoreTel will continue its ongoing support for devices running Apple's iOS operating system, including iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches.
ShoreTel made its announcement less than a week after video collaboration software vendors Vidyo and Radvision separately unveiled plans to bring apps for their technologies to the iOS and Android platforms. At the same time, as part of a larger WAN optimization announcement, Cisco Systems officials said that later this month they are making their Show and Share solution for searching, watching, recording and uploading videos available to iPad and iPhone users through a free app in the Apple App Store.
The moves come amid the dual trends of greater enterprise demand for communications tools-including for remote workers-to improve employee productivity and reduce corporate costs and address the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) push, with workers looking to access corporate data and applications through their personal mobile products.
ShoreTel's mobile technology comes from its acquisition of Agito Networks last year. Agito's RoamAnywhere Mobility Router enables users to use their mobile devices as they would their PBX phones. Pejman Roshan was an executive with Agito when it was bought by ShoreTel. Now ShoreTel's vice president of mobility, Roshan said in an interview with eWEEK that until a couple of years ago, Agito sold its technology primarily for RIM's BlackBerry devices, which were the mobile phones that businesses typically issued their customers.
That changed when Apple introduced its iPhone smartphone, he said.
"When the iPhone came out, there was a surge of customers who wanted to migrate to that smartphone, and then later [customers started migrating] to Android," Roshan said.
Radvision officials noted a recent study by Nemertes Research that said 86 percent of enterprises are seeing an increase in the number of employees who are telecommuting, and that 43 percent say their mobility budgets are growing by double digits.
Addressing Mobile Issues
Now ShoreTel, Vidyo, Radvision and other communication technology vendors are bringing their solutions to mobile platforms to address those issues.
ShoreTel's updated ShoreTel Mobility solution enables employees to access corporate communications applications on their own smartphones and tablets while making it easier on IT staffs by reducing support costs and securing the corporate network by separating the personal and professional environments on the mobile device. The solution is available on devices running Android 2.1 and above, including offerings from Motorola, HTC, Samsung and Cisco's Cius business tablet. There also now is support for such BlackBerry devices as the Torch 9800, Bold 9700 and Bold 9780.
For their part, Vidyo officials on Oct. 6 announced that their VidyoMobile for iOS 4.x is available on iPads, iPhones and iPod Touches through an app in the Apple App Store. With the app, enterprises can enable their mobile workers to participate in corporate video conferences from their iOS devices. Vidyo's software solutions already enable video collaboration on laptops, desktops, telepresence and high-definition room system, and are interoperable with endpoints from such competitors likes Polycom and Cisco-including endpoints that Cisco acquired when it bought Tandberg last year.
Vidyo is aggressively rolling out offerings to challenge such players as Cisco and Polycom in the burgeoning video collaboration space. The company initially targeted its software at desktops and laptops. In June, the vendor unveiled its VidyoPanorama offering, which is designed to compete with immersive telepresence systems from Cisco and Polycom by offering high-quality video collaboration for significantly less money.
VidyoMobile is another solution that enterprises can leverage to increase collaboration among employees and increase worker productivity, according to Asish Gupta, chief marketing officer and senior vice president of corporate development.
"The business applications of VidyoMobile are compelling," Gupta said in an interview with eWEEK.
VidyoMobile enables users to participate in conferences with more than 100 participants, according to Vidyo. The solution on the iPad 2 can display up to four participants at a time, and users can customize their view and select presentation materials. VidyoMobile for iOS 4.x is available now, and will support the latest versions of the iPhone. VidyoMobile for Android smartphones and tablets is in beta and will be available to select devices in November.
Radvision announced Oct. 3 that its Scopia Mobile v3 application is available in the Apple App Store. The app will offer HD video conferencing, data collaboration with review capabilities, conference call control and an intuitive user interface.
"[Enterprises] want people to be able to join the [video conferences] on any device at any time," Robert Romano, vice president of enterprise marketing, said in an interview with eWEEK. "And it's not just video and voice, but data also."
Radvision officials want to make joining and navigating through a video conference easy, with the ability to participate through a single click, full two-way video and the capability of seeing up to 28 participants simultaneously. Users also can easily connect with a wide range of telepresence, standards-based HD video conferencing systems and unified communications applications, including Microsoft Lync.
They can view presentations, documents and images, and review previously shared materials, and can manage aspects of the meeting such as starting and stopping recording or streaming, end a meeting, mute background noises, stop cameras or disconnect people. They also can access video conferences through mobile broadband or WiFi.
The mobile devices become "so much more than just an endpoint," Romano said.
Scopia Mobility v3 is available now from the Apple App Store. Romano said v3.1, which will include support for Android-based devices, will be available during the winter.