As organizations continue to deploy video conferencing units in a wider variety of conference rooms there is a desire to install systems that are standalone endpoints, which don’t require the need to invest and deploy a cumbersome in-house infrastructure. Additionally these server independent units provide flexibility, immediacy and portability.
Even though there is a growing trend to desktop and mobile video conferencing, there is still significant demand to conduct conferences in pre-set rooms or executive offices equipped with dedicated devices with higher quality audio systems and cameras.
Standalone video systems can be used to host small conferences with their embedded MCU (multipoint control unit) and provide recording and basic streaming services. When needed, these systems can use cloud services for better reach and capacity for both B2B (business-to business) and B2C (business- to- consumer) use cases.
The concept of standalone endpoints marries well with the BYOD (bring your own device) trend and can reduce cost and complexity for SMB (small/medium businesses) and secondary sites for larger organizations.
In the earlier days of video conferencing many room systems were large and unwieldy appliances with complex user interfaces. This resulted in video conferencing being cumbersome and not user friendly. The appliance was eliminated from room based systems when video conferencing set top boxes were introduced. These units were easier to install and sat on top of a television monitor. Eventually there was a drive to PC-based systems with self contained codecs that worked with web cams. Software based video conferencing products were bundled with a camera and microphones.
Standalone video endpoints were initially designed to sit on the desktop for personal participation in a video call. Today these standalone video endpoints are useful in any room, on any desktop and as a mobile app. for a variety of B2B and B2C applications.
The technology has evolved from large, cumbersome systems to systems that are stand-alone and portable with all functionality bundled into the system. This evolution now makes it possible to install self-contained, full-featured video conferencing systems wherever they are needed.
Standalone video endpoints are inexpensive and easy to set up. They provide flexibility and allow for instantaneous meetings in the office or away from work (mobile and serverless), since the technology is easy to install and inexpensive enough to allow installation at secondary sites (i.e. home and smaller office sites). Users like the immediacy of the technology and are using these units for a variety of applications. No longer is there worry about cumbersome in-house infrastructure or the need for a multipoint control unit.
Until the advent of self-contained systems, organizations wishing to connect more than two sites together had to use a multipoint control unit (MCU) to make these connections. Standalone systems now have an MCU embedded in them, thus reducing the complexity and cost of using an external MCU and avoiding firewall issues.
Additionally, these units offer the value of recording and basic streaming services so information from meetings can be saved and others, at a distance, can view the meeting either as it happens or afterwards.
We’ll continue our discussion of the value of standalone video endpoints in our blog next week. In the meantime, what are your thoughts about Video endpoints? What value does it add to your clients? We’d love to read your thoughts in our comments section.