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The Telepresence and Videoconferencing Insight Newsletter Video Network Infrastructure Awards

February 9, 2010 | Howard Lichtman

By The Telepresence and Videoconferencing Insight Newsletter

The new Video Network Infrastructure products launched in 2009 were more powerful, DSP-based MCUs that supported 1080p video for Telepresence and High-Definition videoconferencing

TCU_MCU_MP.png1 February 2010. The main innovations in Video Network Infrastructure products in 2009 were new DSP-based MCUs designed to support multipoint sessions using 1080p video for 1-screen and 3-screen Telepresence suites and HD Videoconferencing at the highest resolution.  These were complex, compute intensive products requiring much greater capacity than ealier generations of MCUs.

We focus on the MCUs (multipoint control units) and Telepresence Sservers that link Telepresence and HD videoconferencing endpoints together. We also include two examples of appliances for recording HD video conferences and streaming them over networks for live or later viewing. We are not including gateways, network traversal devices and video network management systems where most of the innovation occurred before 2009.

There were five trends in the new MCUs and Telepresence Servers launched in 2009.

First, considerable advances were made in linking Cisco Telepresence suites located on different carrier networks.

Second, the enhanced MCUs for Telepresence were used by carriers and managed conferencing service providers to offer Telepresence connections for inter-company meetings.

A third trend was to facilitate multipoint conferences between Telepresence suites of diifferent vendors. TANDBERG's Telepresence Server was given a software upgrade to enable Telepresence meetings with Polycom RPX and TPX Telepresence suites.

A fourth trend was to ensure that most MCUs were ready to enable some users to use Full High Definition video at 1080p rather than business quality 720p video.

Fifth, offered enhanced and more scaleable MCUs  so as to enable enterprise-wide deployment of video to thousands of desktops. These could connect High Definition video availabe on PCs  that use a software-only codec to compress video on its powerful multi-core microprocessor.

*  *  *

Here are the main evnts and new products launches of 2009 in chronolgical order:

In February, Polycom launched the Polycom RMX 2000™ MCU V.4.0 with faster processing

In April, the TANDBERG Telepresence T3 was made interoperable with Polycom RPX and TPX Telepresence suites through a software upgrade to theTANDBERG Telepresence Server 8710.

In April, TANDBERG added a software upgrade for TANDBERG MSE 8000 MCU with MaxSD (tm) and ConferenceMe (tm) features

In June at Cisco Live, AT&T, BT, and Tata Communications demonstrated the technical capability for a Cisco TelePresence user to call others on any carrier network with high levels of security and reliability.  By year end 10 international carriers offered intercompany Cisco TelePresence: AT&T, BT, Magyar Telekom, NTT, Orange, Tata, Telefonica, TELMEX, Telstra, and Telus.

In June, RADVISION launched RADVISION SCOPIA Elite 5000 MCU with V.7.0 software for Telepresence and 1080p HD video with H.264 SVC for network resilience.

In June, TANDBERG released the TANDBERG Telepresence Server TS 7010, an entry-level MCU with the same functionality as TS 8710.

In July, LfeSize released the LifeSize® Multipoint 230 MCU with support for 720p and 1080p video.

In October, the interoperability of standards-based Telepresence systems from Polycom, Tandberg and LifeSize were demonstrated by connecting them on a Polycom Telepresence Experience (TPX) system at the Fall 2009 Internet2 Member Meeting.

In October, Polycom unveiled the very powerful RMX (tm) 4000, scaleable MCU for Telepresence and 1080p Videoconferencing at the Polycom User Group conference

In November, TANDBERG introduced a large-scale provisioning solution that allows enterprises to quickly and efficiently deploy TANDBERG E20 personal video conferencing phones and TANDBERG Movi PC video conferencing to thousands of employees in a matter of minutes. The required software upgrades for the TANDBERG TMS, VCS and E20 were available before 2009 year end.
*  *  *

What will be the key trends in 2010?

In January 2010, Cisco announced the release of the Telepresence Interoperability Protocol to the public domain that allows multiscreen Telepresence systems to interoperate. By licensing the protocol, Cisco offers vendors the opportunity to take advantage of a switched architecture, using the network as a platform, to improve media processing and intercompany security, lower the cost of media resources, and decrease latency.

Also in Janauary 2010, TANDBERG successfully demonstrated Telepresence interoperability between TANDBERG Telepresence and the Cisco CTS 3000. This demonstration, the first of its kind, was enabled by integrating Cisco's new Telepresence Interoperability Protocol (TIP) into the award-winning TANDBERG Telepresence Server. TANDBERG now adds Cisco TelePresence solutions to the list of third-party telepresence solutions it can seamlessly interoperate with while maintaining the three-screen, High-Definition Telepresence experience.

So one trend in 2010 will be strong efforts to extend interoperability.

The main emphasis in 2010 will be on corprorations, organisations, international carriers and managed conferencing service providers putting to good use the new MCUs launched in 2009.

Most vendors of Telepresence suites recommend using a provider of managed services. Cisco, TANDBERG and Polycom require they use those with an approved Video Network Operations Centre (VNOC). The core of these VNOCs will be a high-capacity MCU, probably one of those released in 2009 which we describe in more detail in the following News Bytes.

We will consider more on this subject when we announce our Awards for the Best Providers of Managed Conferencing Servoices of the calendar year 2009 later in February 2010.

1 February 2010. One year ago in January 2009  we decided the TANDBERG Telepresence Server was one of the Best Video Network Infrastructure products launched in 2008 because it was capable of including all traditional VC endpoints in a Telepresence meeting. In April 2009 this interoperability was extended to Telpresence systems of other vendors.

 The TANDBERG Telepresence Server TS 8710 provides full integration with TANDBERG T3 Telepresence systems allowing one, two or three other TelePresence sites to be viewed on a single screen. There is also integration with TANDBERG Experia Telepresence systems.

Continuous Telepresence and Telepresence View  (See picture above) ensure that the Telepresence experience is always maintained. It offers support for One-Table and Room-Switched configurations and Advanced Continuous Telepresence as standard on all ports. Users can initiate multisite calls via the TS8710 from the TANDBERG T3 user interface; the user can dial in or dial out via the Web server. (See picture above)

In April 2009, TANDBERG announced that its Telepresence T3 suite can maintain the multi-screen, High-Definition Telepresence experience when calling out to a third-party Telepresence system of another vendor. This is enabled through a software upgrade to the TANDBERG Telepresence Server 8710.

TANDBERG Telepresence Server TS 8710 was already interoperable with the TANDBERG product portfolio, Microsoft Office Communications Server, and other standards-based video endpoints. From April 2009, it has been interoperable with  standards-based Telepresence systems of other vendors. For example, when connecting with users of a Polycom Telepresence system, there is full interoperability.

The unique TANDBERG Telepresence Server interoperability feature enables:
(1) TANDBERG customers to connect to customers and partners who are using a different manufacturer's Telepresence system
(2) TANDBERG Telepresence T3 customers to call a third party vendor's Telepresence endpoint while preserving the full TANDBERG immersive telepresence functionality, providing the best call experience to every participant
(3) Managed Service providers to offer uniquely differentiated services to their Telepresence customers, opening up previously closed systems to Telepresence calls

 This new functionality of the TANDBERG Telepresence Server TS 8710 has been welcomed by customers who feared that one company's Telepresence solution might become an island cut off from those of other vendors.

Dominic Dodd, Global Program Director, Unified Communications & Collaboration, Frost & Sullivan commented: "By enabling Telepresence systems (of different vendors) to interoperate TANDBERG has upped the ante by creating a standard that all Telepresence providers will have to live up to if they want to be included in future purchasing decisions."

Jeff Prestel, General Manager, BT Conferencing, said: "With this interoperability first and our position as a global Certified Managed Services Provider for TANDBERG Total Service, BT and TANDBERG are poised to provide customers with a cost-effective, high quality immersive experience even when they may have different Telepresence platforms."

TANDBERG Telepresence Server TS 7010 an entry-level MCU with functionality as TS 8710  


1 February 2010. TANDBERG launched the new TANDBERG TS 7010 for entry-level customers and remote offices in June 2009. It is a compact Telepresence bridge that enables high-definition, multi-vendor, multi-screen telepresence calls . TANDBERG Telepresence Server 7010 delivers the same functions and interoperability as the TANDBERG Telepresence Server TS 8710.

Continuous Telepresence and Telepresence View  (See picture for the TS8710) ensure that the Telepresence experience is always maintained. It offers support for One-Table and Room-Switched configurations and Advanced Continuous Telepresence as standard on all ports. Users can initiate multisite calls via the TS8710 from the TANDBERG T3 user interface; the user can dial in or dial out via the Web server.

Haykon Dahle, Chief Technologist, TANDBERG, said "The TS 7010 is one more example of TANDBERG leading the industry in delivering superior Telepresence solutions that support the highest level of interoperability available."

TANDBERG Telepresence Server TS 7010 can combine Telepresence, HD and SD endpoints within the same conference. There is automatic audio/video transcoding and transrating on all calls. Any bandwidth, any resolution, any video or audio codec can be used on any video call within the same conference. Each participant has their own personal encode. Intelligently recognizes the type of system joining a conference. It provides each participant the best possible view for the system they are using.

The TANDBERG Telepresence Server TS 7010 uses Codian ClearVision™ Technology for resolution enhancement. Continuous Telepresence and Telepresence View ensures the Telepresence experience is always maintained.  There is support for OneTable and Room-Switched configurations.

The TANDBERG Telepresence Server TS 7010 uses Codian Packet Safe™ technology to provide intelligent downspeeding, packet pacing and packet loss concealment to ensure optimum video and audio quality. It is compact in size: 2U tall and 19" rack mountable.

TANDBERG's interoperability with competitor products was a deciding factor for implementation at Technopolis, a Finnish company specializing in providing business environments for high tech companies. Technopolis expects to cut its own travel by 40% using telepresence and video conferencing.

Laura Krusius, Business Services Director, Technopolis,  said: "Our clients have global operations, so the chosen solution had to be standardized and able to integrate with other networks, technologies, and vendor solutions. We were completely satisfied that TANDBERG offered us this capability." which also expects to cut its own travel by 40% using telepresence and video conferencing.

TANDBERG also released in June 2009 a software upgrade for its Telepresence T3 that delivers an enhanced user interface and simplifies call setup by allowing participants to easily configure the Telepresence Server from the T3's touch screen.

The TANDBERG Telepresence Server TS 7010 is Integrated with TANDBERG Management Suite (TMS) and the powerful scheduling capabilities of the TMS can be used to schedule conferences.

The detailed specifications can be found at HERE

The TANDBERG Telepresence Server TS 7010 uses a pioneering technology that brings together Telepresence, and standards-based, high-definition video conferencing users in the same conference.

TANDBERG Telepresence Server TS 7010 is one of The Best Video Network Infrastructure Solutions launched in the Year 2009.

TANDBERG MSE 8000 series MCU with MaxSD (tm) and
ConferenceMe (tm) features


1 February 2010.
  The TANDBERG Codian (Media Services Engine) MSE 8000 Chassis is a powerful, fault-tolerant video conferencing MCU designed for large-scale video communications. The carrier-class chassis supports up to 10 blades and 1 Gbit/s of audio/video conferencing. The MSE 8000 series is ideal for service providers, large corporations, and government installations.

TANDBERG announced a new software release version 3.0 for its MSE 8000 Multipoint Control Units (MCUs) in April 2009. There are two enhancements: MaxSD™ increases MSE 8000 capacity to 720 video conferencing ports and ConferenceMeTM extends multipoint video conferencing to any desktop. Now the MSE 8000 MCU makes it even easier for organizations to visually connect employees, customers, and suppliers through video conferencing solutions.

TANDBERG MaxSD (tm) is newly developed for the TANDBERG MSE 8000 series. It doubles the capacity of a single MSE 8000 chassis from 360 to 720 concurrent SD (Standard Definition or 448p) video calls. This enhancement enables larger video conferences, with capacity for up to 80 SD or 20 HD (720p) fully transcoded, continuous presence (CP) connections per blade. The chasis has 9 blades.

TANDBERG MaxSD gives customers the flexibility to expand their video bridging capacity as needed and without having to purchase and install additional hardware.

The new TANDBERG MCU ConferenceMe (tm) feature extends multipoint videoconferencing to the desktop by enabling up to 12 simultaneous users to easily join any conference and collaborate face-to-face from their PC via an email invitation with a URL link. Users simply click the link and join a video conference no matter where they are located, with features such as multiple layouts, continuous presence and content sharing functionality, all without compromising on video quality.

The enhanced MCUs also support TANDBERG's unique Multiwayä capability. Multiway enables multipoint calls to be escalated from an endpoint to the MCU, making it even easier for users to participate in multipoint video conferencing calls.

 Dan Tanel, Chief Technical Officer, of BCS Global, a managed service provider said: "We were one of the first users of TANDBERG Codian MCU products and continue to use them for the superior quality and innovation we've experienced. We know that as our customers' video requirements expand, the TANDBERG line will continue to support our ability to deliver the highest-quality customer experience."

The upgraded TANDBERG MSE 8000 series MCU satisfies the growing demand for high-quality, scalable, and easily managed video network infrastructure to ensure that organizations can experience all of the advantages of enterprise wide video deployment.

TANDBERG MSE 8000 series MCU with MaxSD (tm) and ConferenceMe (tm) features is one of The Best Video Network Infrastructure Solutions launched in the Year 2009.

TANDBERG Content Server - a 720p High-Definition video recording and streaming server

tandberg_content_server.png1 February 2010. The TANDBERG Content Server enables organizations to share knowledge and enhance communication by recording their video conferences and multimedia presentations for live and on-demand access. Whether it's a university lecture, a corporate training session, an executive meeting or any other critical event - the TANDBERG Content Server streamlines the process of capturing content throughout the organization.

The TANDBERG Content Server records calls that are then transcoded into streaming and downloadable file formats, including Windows Media, MPEG4 and Real Media formats. Some enhancements were made in 2009.

The TANDBERG Content Server create business-quality multimedia content easily from any H.323 or SIP videoconferencing endpoint. Calls can be received at up to 2Mbps, up to 720P HD resolution in H.264 for main camera and upto 1024x768 for an H.239 source. One can record presentations or video from live dual stream (H.239 or DuoVideo).

The TANDBERG Content Server supports 5 concurrent video calls, up to 2 of which can be streamed live. One can cluster up to ten TANDBERG Content Servers for scalable environments. One can export and import conferences from one Content Server to another.

The TANDBERG Content Server provides synchronized streaming of video and presentation in live and on-demand modes. It provides Unicast and Multicast streaming support. It offers internal and external storage capabilities. There is support for Active Directory authentication via LDAP and call configuration and access rights management. One can create content from anywhere using TANDBERG Expressway (TM).

Every call is recorded directly to disk for "off-line". Transcoding atakes place fter the call completes. There is a Personal sandbox for safe working on recorded content before publishing.

The TANDBERG Content Server can manage and distribute live or recorded content to any PC and leading portable media devices in Flash (R), Microsoft Windows Media®, QuickTime® compatible MPEG-4 and RealPlayer (R) formats. It can streamline the production and distribution of professional video podcast across your organization. It is compatible with major distribution servers, leading corporate and education web 2.0 portals.

There is Native support for streaming Microsoft Windows Media (TM) via an embedded Windows Media (TM) server. There is support for external streaming servers (Microsoft Windows Media (TM) Server, Apple QuickTime (TM) Streaming Server , Wowza Media Server, and Real Networks Helix) when supplied by the customer.

TANDBERG Content Server has a Searchable content library Web interface. Conferences fall into categories for easy content management. C onference access and metadata can be pre-configured through the use of Recording Aliases.

One can view live and recorded content through the Content Viewer Web interface. The share conference link enables users to easily identify and share recordings.

All recordings can be securely played back on Telepresence and video conferencing systems or via a web browser.

There is an excellent white paper  by TANDBERG of November 2009 called "Your videoconference room as a video capture studio - unlocking the true potential of your videoconferencing investment." Download free HERE

The TANDBERG Content Server is one of The Best Video Network Infrastructure Solutions launched in the Year 2009.

[via The Telepresence and Videoconferencing Insight Newsletter]

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