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Channel urged to ramp up video deployment

Alex Scroxton
Network quality is finally reaching the point where video applications can be sold successfully as part of a unified communications solution set, according to the buzz on the floor at today's UC Expo trade show at London Olympia.

Carphone Warehouse's business comms unit Opal, which is exhibiting at the show, has invested heavily in unbundling BT exchanges - it hopes to have 2,000 on-line by the end of 2010 - and growing its Next Generation Network (NGN) at a rapid pace.

Speaking to MicroScope, business transformation director Andy Lockwood said that the only thing preventing convergence from becoming truly mainstream was poor standards of infrastructure.

"To make video happen you need a proper IP network, and these now exist. Our NGN runs at 800Gb/s so it's more than possible," he said. "If we can make sure the data connectivity is solid and robust, fabric resellers can use it to run video services."

He cautioned: "The channel has some very clever ideas when it comes to services but they will fail to meet customer expectations if they market them before NGNs really get going."

Mid-market and enterprise video specialist Tandberg, which is currently in the process of being acquired by Cisco in its largest ever purchase outside the US, is pushing video as the key element of a UC deployment, instead of as an added extra.

UC marketing director Nick Sheppard said: "Video should be the go-to method of communication, and then the other possible elements of UC will pivot around that, so that users will take video before an audio call, before instant messaging and before email."

Sheppard urged comms VARs to try and join up the video, voice and data worlds, and said that piggybacking on installations of Microsoft's Office Communications Server (OCS) was a good way to make this a reality.

"OCS is very important to us, as it shows the possibility of ubiquitous video, so our position is one of leverage," he said. "If the customer invests in video we can extend it onto the desktop and build it into the overall OCS experience."

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