Global Carriers, Polycom Form Video Exchange

By Khali Henderson Comments
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Fourteen global service providers have come together to form a visual communications exchange to take the compatibility and networking challenges out of business-to-business video conferencing in an effort to make it more ubiquitous.

The Open Visual Communications Consortium (OVCC), sponsored by Polycom Inc., is a global standards-based, multivendor and multinetwork exchange for visual communications. OVCC members plan to support a range video systems, including telepresence and room-based systems, high-definition and standard-definition systems, as well as desktop clients and mobile devices.

OVCC’s founding members include Airtel, AT&T, BCS Global, BT Conferencing, Cable&Wireless Worldwide, Global Crossing, Glowpoint, iFormata Communications, Masergy, Orange Business Services, PCCW Global, Telefonica, Telstra and Verizon. The group will open to new members beginning in the second half of 2011. The initial OVCC capabilities are expected to launch mid-year 2012.

As a proof of concept, OVCC members in January demonstrated the first multi-endor high-definition (HD) telepresence call to join 18 standards-based systems across 12 service provider networks. Polycom UC Intelligent Core infrastructure served as the foundation for this multisite call.

“The need for an inter-company UC federation, of which video and telepresence are critical components, has grown tremendously," said Rich Costello, a senior research analyst at IDC in a press statement. “Progress around system interoperability is being made through industry forums and alliances, but true B2B interoperability will also require exactly this type of service provider interconnectivity."

The solution is not without precedence. In 2008, Glowpoint launched the Telepresence Exchange Network. Colo and interconnection provider Telx Inc. launched a neutral video exchange for service providers back in Jun 2009. Late last year, OVCC members AT&T and BT announced an interprovider telepresence exchange.

Polycom CEO Andy Miller said in a global webcast Wednesday that the OVCC is “not a small proprietary exchange" because it includes leading global service providers. He said the goal is the enable businesses to connect via video in the same way they connect over mobile phones today. “That is a game changer," he said.

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