VMware, Vidyo, Mitel Partner on Virtualized UC, Video Solution

The new solution integrates Vidyo's video conferencing technology with Mitel's UC offering, and makes them available via VMware's View.

Mitel and Vidyo are teaming up to bring enterprise-level video conferencing capabilities to VMware's View desktop virtualization offering.

The companies announced Aug. 21 that Mitel, already a VMware partner, will integrate Vidyo's VidyoConferencing video collaboration solution into its own virtualized Unified Communicator Advanced (UCA) unified communications (UC) software, all of which will be available as services through VMware's View virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).

With the solution, users will be able to open up VMware View on their device, access Mitel's UCA and, through that, launch Vidyo's VidyoConferencing solution as a service delivered to their device, according to Alan Zurakowski, director of corporate business development and strategic alliances at Mitel.

The solution will bring the same management, security, efficiency and cost savings benefits offered by VMware's View virtual desktop client to businesses looking for an integrated UC and video solution, Zurakowski told eWEEK. They will be able to leverage Mitel's UCA-which offers such UC features as voice, presence, secure instant messaging, audio, email and voice messaging-to gain video capabilities from VidyoConferencing, through their virtualized desktop environments.

And the low costs of a software-based solution will be a particular boon for smaller businesses, which increasingly are looking to use video conferencing and UC technologies but may not have the money or technical expertise for larger, expensive hardware systems from the likes of Cisco Systems or Avaya, he said.

"It's really a good fit for the midmarket," Zurakowski said.

He said Mitel and Vidyo are "riding the coattails of VMware"-which already has a strong desktop and data center presence-in bringing these virtualized UC and video services to the small and midsize business (SMB) market.

VMware, Mitel and Vidyo will demonstrate the joint solution at the VMworld 2012 show in San Francisco starting Aug. 26, and the solution should be available by the end of the year.

Ashish Gupta, chief marketing officer and senior vice president of corporate development for Vidyo, said the new solution fills a need in the video conferencing space. Until recently, most people looking to conduct video conferences had to use more expensive hardware systems from the likes of Cisco Systems and Polycom, Gupta told eWEEK. In addition, one-to-one video calls could be done relatively easily and inexpensively through various services, such as Skype.

However, most video conferences involve four to five participants, and the joint solution from Mitel and Vidyo solves problems of performance and latency, he said. At the VMworld 2011 show last year, Mitel and VMware demonstrated a solution that brought streaming virtualized voice communication to virtual desktops with no issues around performance and latency, and the new offering from Mitel, Vidyo and VMware does the same thing with video. According to the companies, media streaming is enabled by breaking up communications into two pieces-the call-processing piece that is sent through the data center, and the media component is sent directly to the endpoints to ensure enterprise-level performance.

Combining UC and video is growing in importance, Gupta said, noting that 75 percent of instant messaging (IM) sessions escalate to video calls. Users are looking for technologies to make video conferences easier to schedule and launch, and more dynamic.

And both IT departments and end users are looking for UC and video conferencing applications to be as easy to use as other technology they rely on, Mitel's Zurakowski said.

"[Users] are expecting everything to be as easy as the iPhone they pick up at the store and having everything work," he said.

Video conferencing has gained in popularity over the past several years, as businesses have seen the benefits of increased employee productivity, a faster and easier way to communicate with workers, partners and customers, and reduced travel costs. New trends in the enterprise, from virtualization to greater mobility to bring-your-own-device (BYOD), have driven demand from workers for video conferencing technologies that are flexible and scalable, and can be used at any time and from any device.

The focus among vendors-even from established players like Cisco, Polycom and LifeSize Communications-is toward software offerings. Vidyo and other smaller companies are rolling out software-only solutions that offer business-level video collaboration capabilities as a lower cost than the more established vendors. It's worked so far for Vidyo; company officials have said the company saw more than 90 percent revenue growth in the first quarter this year over the same time in 2011. In addition, the company now has more than 1,850 customers and is powering Google's Google+ social network.