Analysis: video collaboration in the cloud12 October 2015
Cloud-based services are helping companies to make the transition to browser-based video communications.
Managing the transition from traditional meeting room and desktop solutions to next-generation cloud services is one of the most important issues in video collaboration today. Andy Nolan, vice president UK, Ireland and Northern Europe at Lifesize, commented: “Increasing skills gaps, lack of local workforce and expensive office spaces mean that businesses are turning to flexible working tools like video and collaboration apps to unify the workforce.”
Additionally, companies have for some time been relocating video network infrastructure to the cloud to reduce the maintenance burden on the IT department. This also reduces the number of applications each employee needs to run on their machine, encouraging uniformity across the business.
Nolan commented: “These days we are seeing a shift of power in companies from the CIO to business leaders, which means that technologies that enable them to make decisions without the IT department are increasingly preferred, and on the rise.”
The Lifesize Cloud Web App enables organisations to extend the use of cloud-based apps to their video collaboration tools. It’s a WebRTC-powered web conferencing platform on Google Chrome that provides access to the Lifesize Cloud. Organisations pay an annual subscription fee per employee for Lifesize Cloud access, with the Cloud Web App included in the package.
The app allows users to organise meetings of up to 40 participants through the browser, without extra infrastructure or maintenance requirements. The Lifesize Cloud offers a voice and content only web conferencing mode to enable companies to save money by eliminating the need for subscriptions to web conferencing services.
The next generation of cloud-based apps have been tailored to suit informal meeting spaces and encourage remote participation and BYOD. The Cloud Web App has been launched on Chrome, as the browser can be installed on a range of devices from desktops to smartphones. Availability on Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers is expected to follow.
“The browser is rapidly becoming the hub of all web-based activity,” commented Nolan. “Almost every service previously provided by an app can now be accessed through a browser, making heavy PC apps almost redundant.”
WebRTC technology brings videoconferencing capabilities to the web through browser-to-browser applications; it is shaking up the videoconferencing environment. “The implications of WebRTC are profound. By 2019, there will be more than six billion devices supporting WebRTC, and Frost & Sullivan recently predicted that it will be one of the most disruptive trends in the enterprise telecommunications industry,” said Craig Malloy, Lifesize founder and CEO.