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Emerging Markets Communications (EMC) announces HD Connect: On Demand Videoconferencing over Satellite connected to AT&T Business Exchange

October 14, 2011 | David S. Maldow, Esq.
Global satellite and terrestrial communications provider Emerging Markets Communications (EMC) has announced the release of HD Connect, its new on demand, video over satellite service.  EMC, established in 1999, provides MPLS over satellite data link services, focusing on hard to reach areas in Africa, Middle East, Latin America and Asia. With over 2,000 installations in 140 countries, and boasting an impressive list of Fortune 500 clients and a connection to AT&T's business exchange of telepresence and videoconferencing endpoints, EMC is poised to be the industry leader in providing telepresence and videoconferencing (VC) over satellite. 

The demand for videoconferencing in remote areas is increasing in groups ranging from humanitarian organizations to resource developers.  Unfortunately, the infrastructure traditionally used to support VC is not available in many of these locations. Internet access can be sporadic and unreliable or simply non-existent. EMC has been providing data links to remote areas for almost a decade, making it particularly well suited to offer a VC over satellite service. EMC first developed a methodology for providing reliable videoconferencing over satellite for specific clients in direct response to customer requests. After seeing how well it was received, EMC is now making it available to all of its customers as the HD Connect service. The service is currently available in Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. Connections to China, Central and South America will be available soon. 
A key element of HD Connect's secret sauce, according to EMC, is the unique way the service connects with videoconferencing endpoints. The service keeps a very small link active between the satellites and endpoints and a full connection is established when a call is made. This is much more efficient and cost effective than a traditional dedicated link.

Unlike typical dedicated satellite data circuit customers, HD Connect users only pay for actual usage. The always-live link described above does not count towards usage of the HD Connect service. HD Connect's price model is similar to a standard mobile phone service.  Users purchase a bundle of hours based on expected usage and pay additional, pre-negotiated rates for any overage.  This makes HD videoconferencing over satellite available to organizations that otherwise could not afford a dedicated satellite link.

In the end, a videoconferencing service must be judged by the quality of the videoconferencing experience it can provide.  In terms of network, key factors that can affect VC quality are jitter, packet loss, and latency. According to EMC, the latency of a video call over HD Connect is stable at about 475 ms, while jitter and packet loss are near zero. 

EMC offers several levels of HD Connect service depending upon the client's needs, including:

1. Complete "VaaS" (video as a service)
Customers pay one monthly price and get the physical endpoints, installation and integration services, managed services, as well as the satellite bandwidth with bundled hours of usage.

2. Bandwidth and Integration
Customers pay a onetime fee for EMC to provide the equipment and handle the installation necessary to integrate HD Connect into the customer's existing videoconferencing environment. Customers also get the satellite bandwidth with bundled hours of usage.

3. Bandwidth Only
Customers receive satellite bandwidth with bundled hours of usage.

EMC's ability to provide installation and integration services in remote areas is the result of years of experience. In today's world, the logistics of getting equipment and personnel into some of the trickier areas of the world (i.e. Middle East countries) can be daunting. However, for EMC it is part of their day to day business. EMC does not outsource the work to local contractors. They handle it from start to finish, from testing the equipment, to packaging and shipping it with appropriate registration and licensing, to final deployment.

"Until now, HD videoconferencing in the most remote regions of the world has been costly, unreliable and of poor quality," said Thomas Luketich, VP of Videoconferencing and Application Services for EMC. "Our easy to use HD Connect service enables organizations around the globe to conduct affordable, on demand, lifelike face-to-face communications and collaboration with colleagues, partners, suppliers and customers in regions that have traditionally been hard-to-reach.

EMC is also leveraging its strong relationship with AT&T to further increase the value of its HD Connect service. By connecting to AT&T's Business Exchange, EMC has vastly increased the reach of the HD Connect service. EMC has also recently announced a pending interconnection with Masergy and its IP/MPLS network, which will further increase the reach and value of its HD Connect service.

For more information about EMC and its HD Connect service, please watch the following YouTube Video.

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