Tandberg Seeks to Make Video Conference Calling Easy

Integration with Microsoft's OCS 2007 makes video conference calling a one-click process for Tandberg users.

Video conferencing provider Tandberg is preparing to launch new integration between its desktop video conferencing and the fledgling Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 IP PBX.

Tandberg's integration with the Microsoft Office Communicator client allows users to click to call Tandberg's room-based, high-definition video conferencing and telepresence systems.

"This is our first integration with OCS and it's the first high-definition video conferencing platform that integrates with [OCS]," claimed Andrew Reitter, senior technologist at Tandberg in Pleasanton, Calif. "It provides key functions to make it easy to communicate with the system. As an Office Communicator user, I can see in my contact list those who I communicate with and see the Tandberg list of equipment, and then easily call to Tandberg end points and vice versa," he added.

Tandberg is leading the market with this capability, and such a development is significant for video conferencing users, said Ira Weinstein, partner and senior analyst at Boston-based consulting firm Wainhouse Research.

"This is big news. As far as we know this marks the first actual release of this capability. But you can expect similar things from others [such as] Polycom, Radvision and others," Weinstein said.

The software upgrade allows users of Tandberg MXP Endpoints to register and authenticate directly with OCS 2007. That action automatically displays them in a Microsoft Office Comunicator users contact list.

The integration brings a new level of simplicity to establishing video conferencing sessions between desktop users and group video-conferencing systems, Weinstein believes.

"It takes care of all the translation between different protocols and different types of systems. Tandberg video conferences now show up as contacts in OCS, so you can launch a video call to a Tandberg video system without needing a scheduling system," he described.

It also makes it possible to create meeting rooms on a video bridge and register them with OCS as if they were people. "So users can just say, -I want to call meeting room 28,' or say to five or six people -let's all meet in video meeting room nine,'" said Weinstein.

The integration exploits Tandberg's Codian MCU 4500 Series bridges, which allow multi-point video conferences that mix standard and high definition formats.

The Office Communicator client with a Web camera receives standard definition resolution, while others receive high definition. "We're able to blend those worlds," said Reitter.

The software upgrades is available now to Tandberg customers with service agreements.