CounterPath,Vidtel Extend Cloud Video Conferencing to iPhone

Available through a variety of channels, MeetMe is priced with flat-rate and per-minute plans starting at 15 cents per minute for video participation.

The high upfront cost of video conferencing can be a significant hurdle to small to medium-size businesses (SMBs) looking to invest in video conferencing infrastructure, and so they often have to make do with consumer-grade services such as Google Hangouts or Skype. To help bridge the gap between these services and expensive telepresence solutions, CounterPath and Vidtel announced they are providing an affordable mobile video conferencing alternative via interoperability between their products.

CounterPath's Bria is a carrier-grade application that enables unified voice and video calling, messaging, and presence management across multiple platforms and endpoints. Vidtel's MeetMe is a cloud-based service that enables any-to-any video conferencing between room-based systems, executive desktop video systems, PCs/Macs, smartphones and tablets using any combination of SIP, H.323 and other technologies. With Bria installed on PCs or Apple's iPhone, MeetMe can be accessed over the Internet via a wired Ethernet connection, WiFi or while connected over 3G/4G/LTE or WiMax mobile networks.

Interoperability between CounterPath's Bria softphone for PCs and mobile devices and Vidtel's MeetMe service offers users a cross-platform, multi-standards based alternative to other services, offering multi-endpoint video conferencing that interoperates with the installed base of room-based systems and executive desktop products, as well as with all versions of Bria for Macs and PCs and the recently updated Bria mobile for iPhones, which now includes video. Bria for Macs and PCs can be purchased from the CounterPath online store and the Mac App Store, while Bria mobile is available through the iTunes App Store.

Vidtel also becomes the first IVSP (Internet Video Service Provider) to join the CounterPath Partner Program, enabling users to configure their Bria clients without extensive knowledge of provider-supplied settings. Interoperability between Vidtel and Bria allows SMBs and other organizations to participate in video conferences from hotel rooms, airports, home offices, coffee shops, client facilities and other remote locations with mobile devices or enter a video conference room using the familiar methods of dialing a phone number, PBX extension or SIP address, which eliminates the need to add a contact/buddy or learn the requirements of third-party services. Users can also boost video conference quality by using SIP-based native interoperability rather than transcoding.

"Businesses of every size value the bottom-line benefits of video communications, including on tablet and smartphones," said Todd Carothers, CounterPath senior vice president. "The interoperability with Vidtel enables CounterPath to meet that need by providing device- and network-agnostic video conferencing solutions that are as intuitive as dialing a telephone. Together, we're liberating businesses from the costs, constraints and uncertainties that come with video communication services that are ruled by a single company."

Existing Bria customers can begin using MeetMe this week. Available through a variety of channels, MeetMe is priced with flat-rate and per-minute plans starting at 15 cents per minute for video participation. Even without a subscription, any Bria user can participate in video conferences hosted by other Vidtel subscribers.

"CounterPath's enterprise-grade softphones are a natural complement to Vidtel in a smartphone and tablet environment; both companies are committed to providing SMEs with convenient, cost-effective and high-quality video communications," said Scott Wharton, CEO of Vidtel. "We offer no hidden caveats when it comes to price and interoperability. This interoperability creates an exciting range of opportunities for both our companies and our customers, now and in the near future."