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Avaya's UC Platform Keeps Improving: Now Offering the World's Only 1080p60 MCU

January 29, 2013 | David S. Maldow, Esq.

We have had a close eye on Avaya, ever since they acquired Radvision a little less than a year ago. As we said then, Avaya's Aura UC Platform really needed some videoconferencing muscle, and Radvision's excellent "Scopia" videoconferencing portfolio needed the support of a major market player like Avaya. Since that time, we have been extremely pleased to see Avaya and Radvision truly working together to leverage the strengths of their complementary technologies. In December they announced a wave of new and upgraded Scopia video products, but the real story was the growing integration between the Avaya UC Platform and Scopia video line.

Today's announcement follows a similar theme, the subject may be the new Scopia bridge, but what really matters is confirmation of Avaya's continued commitment to fully support, incorporate, and leverage their Radvision technology, as well as their vision to seamlessly integrate the Scopia video experience into Avaya Aura Platform. Those who have used these solutions will immediately understand the appeal of a Scopia powered video meeting supported by the incredibly slick Avaya Flare interface.

Let's take a look at today's announcement. The new bridge is called the Scopia Elite MCU 6000. This is a very unique and novel "hybrid" approach to the MCU design. Traditional MCUs required specialized hardware to handle the burden of processing lots of video traffic. Today, businesses prefer to use software solutions on standard servers, as they provide more flexibility, scalability and affordability. As a result, there has been a recent wave of software based, virtualized, MCUs designed to run on standard servers. However, these solutions are generally less powerful than the old specialized hardware solutions because standard servers have less video processing power.

Avaya is having it both ways with the new Scopia Elite 6000. It is technically a software solution, but they are shipping it on standard servers with extra video processing cards. The result is the scalability and flexibility of a software bridge, with the power of a specialized appliance. In fact, it is arguably the most powerful MCU, at least in terms of resolution support and capacity. Keep in mind, that 1080p60 support applies to both the main video feed, and shared content. Those interested in the "speeds and feeds" will be pleased to hear about Avaya's continuing support and development of bandwidth saving and experience improving technologies such as H.264 High Profile and SVC (putting aside for now the discussion regarding the various flavors and levels of SVC support).

Avaya is really covering all the bases, with both a top down and bottom up approach to creating a videoconferencing platform. From the top down, they believe a fully switched, SIP, environment is the most efficient and effective way to engineer a collaboration environment. This is the eventual goal that they are workings towards. However, from the bottom down, they need to be able to fully support today's environments, which means they must be able to fully support standard processed H.323 video. Service and support is important to Avaya, they don't just sell products. In fact, over half of their revenue is from professional and managed services, supporting both Avaya and competitor based videoconferencing deployments. Avaya understands as well as anyone that when it comes to the adoption of collaboration technology, support can be as important as the product itself.

Avaya actually has two announcements today. In addition to the Scopia Elite 6000, they are releasing the new eVident network monitoring package. There is a good chance your network will be experiencing a massive increase in video traffic in the next few years. The eVident software will pre-assess your network readiness, monitor video traffic as it progresses, and provide audio / video quality analysis. This type of offering shows that Avaya really gets it and is not just in the business of selling solutions, they are in the business of enabling and supporting your visual collaboration environment.

About the Author
David_Maldow, Esq.David Maldow, Esq. is a visual collaboration technologist and analyst with the Human Productivity Lab and an associate editor at Telepresence Options. David has extensive expertise in testing, evaluating, and explaining telepresence and other visual collaboration / rich media solutions. David is focused on providing third-party independent analysis and opinion of these technologies and helping end users better secure their telepresence, videoconferencing, and visual collaboration environments. You can follow David on Twitter and Google+.

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