RingCentral Brings Its UCaaS Technology to Conference Rooms

The company says RingCentral Rooms will be a welcome alternative to more complex and expensive on-premises offerings from Cisco, Polycom and others.


RingCentral officials are turning their attention to the conference room.

The company, which previously focused its cloud-based communications solutions on endpoints such as mobile devices and desktops, now is making the move into the conference room via an application to deploy and manage room-based collaboration sessions.

The vendor this week released RingCentral Rooms, a visual app that runs on an Apple iPad and enables enterprises to bring high-definition (HD) video into a conference room at a lower cost than delivering HD video through legacy on-premises systems. The complexity and expense of older systems are stifling adoption of room video conferencing, RingCentral officials said, pointing to a report from market research firm Frost & Sullivan that found enterprise room video conferencing has less than 10 percent penetration.

RingCentral Rooms is designed to offer an easier and less expensive option. The app can be used with any off-the-shelf room cameras, speakers and microphones, and can support up to two monitors or TV screens, giving participants a view of both the speaker and the documents being presented. RingCentral Rooms is an alternative to the more costly and complex H.323/Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)-based conference-room systems that need expensive legacy hardware and an IT staff to get it up and running, said Niel Levonius, director of product marketing at RingCentral.

For those companies that already have a legacy conference room system, RingCentral is offering RingCentral Room Connector, "enabling them to connect and collaborate with RingCentral Meetings participants who are joining the conference from their mobile devices, desktop machines and telephones or other RingCentral Rooms," Levonius wrote in a post on the company blog. "RingCentral Room Connector is a cloud-based gateway that requires no additional software or hardware to work."

RingCentral and the RingCentral Room Connector, which is slated to be available next month,work with any legacy room-conferencing system from vendors including Cisco Systems, Polycom and Lifesize.

"We're extending our impact beyond mobiles and desktops, and now taking our solution into conference rooms," Kira Makagon, executive vice president of innovation at RingCentral, said in a statement. "There's no longer the need for expensive legacy conference systems as cloud applications open up new opportunities to bring video conferencing into the corporate mainstream."

Other RingCentral offerings include RingCentral Meetings and RingCentral Office, which enable users to share their screen, Website and documents using any PC or Apple Mac, iPad or Android tablet or iPhone or Android smartphone.

The cloud communications space is expected to grow rapidly over the next several years. Officials with BroadSoft, which sells unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) offerings, earlier this year offered the results of its survey that indicated the penetration of cloud communications in the larger UC space will grow to 41 percent of the overall UC market by 2020 from about 7 percent today.

"Enterprise UCaaS is proving disruptive due to its superior value proposition—reduced complexity, lower total cost of ownership and greater productivity and mobility for the increasingly millennial and distributed workforce," Taher Behbehani, chief marketing officer at BroadSoft, said in a statement at the time.

IHS analysts found in their own survey that while UC and video conferencing increasingly are important to enterprises, most organizations are not going completely to the cloud, choosing instead to put some applications in the cloud while keeping others on-premises. Twenty-seven percent of respondents said they are implementing their UC solutions in a private cloud, while 23 percent said they are going with UCaaS. The rest are keeping their UC services on-premises.

Along with RingCentral Rooms, RingCentral also announced it is expanding its Global Office UCaaS offering unveiled in February into 12 new countries, including Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Portugal and Taiwan.