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Videoconferencing Pitched as OTT Killer

August 2, 2012 | William Zimmerman

By Fierce Broadband Networks

Mobile operators' ongoing battle against over-the-top service providers has a new battleground in the enterprise videoconferencing realm, where vendors are working to prove that not only are reliability and quality of service the domains of mobile network operators, but that operators can leverage those advantages to rake in revenues.

It's no secret that the early beneficiaries of advanced data functionality on mobile networks and devices are OTT services and content providers, said Ray Adensamer, senior product marketing manager at Radisys. Mobile operators need to be able to sell more than just data plans, and they can win back high-margin services business by offering services such as videoconferencing, video ringbacks, video advertising, video streaming, videomail, and interactive voice and video response, he said.

As third-party VoIP and SMS providers cut into operators' core communications services business, operators are recognizing that they need to copy their OTT rivals. Key to this effort is the integration of technologies such as IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP).

"If carriers want to compete with (OTT providers), they need to step up to a similar delivery method," meaning IP communications, which enables operators to deliver richer, real-time communications to their customers via multiple platforms and incongruent devices, said Bud Walder, product marketing director at Dialogic.

Bud Walder

Walder contends mobile operators can gain the upper-hand when it comes to critical business communications because they can offer a higher class of service by managing the data center, application servers and media servers as well as delivering the client apps.

OTT "is always going to be best effort. You're competing with any other data that's being streamed either way," he said. "Once carriers take control and say, 'This is our application running on our network,' they can prioritize the traffic and they can treat it as a real-time communications service as opposed to a best-effort, over-the-top service competing with every other piece of data."

Popular OTT communications services such as Skype, Google (NASDAQ:AAPL) Talk, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Link or even Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) FaceTime "are different islands of connectivity," said Adensamer, noting they require compatible clients on each end. "That's where the operator has an advantage. The vision of IMS is to bring all of these different islands together--force that compatibility so that a video call 10 years from now is as ubiquitous as voice call today."

Showing how it's done

Both Radisys and Dialogic conducted IP-based videoconferencing demos at CTIA's Wireless 2012 convention in May.

Radisys' demo employed its MPX-12000 broadband media processing solution for LTE IMS. Radisys announced just before CTIA that it would integrate the CounterPath Bria desktop and mobile SIP-based softphone applications with the MPX-12000 broadband Multimedia Resource Function (MRF) for mobile video services. The demo was "about delivering video conferencing, video services and how it's going to help mobile operators make more money," said Adensamer.

Radisys' demo included H.264 switched video conferencing with an iPhone, iPad 2 and laptop joined in a single conference; H.264 IVVR iPad 2 dialing into a video call center; H.263 continuous presence with a four-way videoconference with announcements; and H.264 video ringback.

Slide courtesy of Radisys

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