In my last post I outlined why you should care about video mobility and some initial areas to think about when considering a video collaboration solution that included mobile users.
In this post I want to dive a bit deeper and look at the next steps for actually implementing video collaboration across your network. I touched on a couple of topics in the previous post but I felt it was appropriate to expand and add to the topics in this post so you have more details on how to go about implementing a solution.
These are the top five questions I would recommend asking yourself before you start to implement video collaboration. If you have the information to answer to these questions then you are very well placed to have a successful solution rollout.
- Can you identify your use cases and user base? Learn who or which processes in your organisation will benefit the most from having access to video collaboration. Where will they require video collaboration? Is it on the production line? Is it teleworkers, or remote sales people? Are they connecting back to single users at a desk or to a group of experts in a meeting room? These kind of questions help identify what the most productive and cost-effective collaboration solutions will be for your organisation. Find out which employees are involved in these processes and need to communicate with, from where, and how often, to establish the basic framework for collaboration within your workforce.
- Have you identified the most suitable types of solutions for your users? A one-size fits all strategy for video collaboration is not usually the most successful. Once you have identified the most productive use cases for video collaboration you can then identify the appropriate solution sets. As well as traditional video enabled conference rooms there will likely be requirements beyond that for different business functions. For instance, a teleworker may require a high quality desktop solution, such as a video-enabled phone or laptop whereas for a salesperson who is constantly on the move, a mobile or tablet device with a video application may be the right way. Business functions that need to connect to third parties such as suppliers or customers may want the ability to bring in users via a web browser into a conference call. It is also important to analyse what additional solution integration may be required. Do you need to connect to your IP-PBX over a SIP trunk? Are there other UC ecosystem partner solutions such as Microsoft Lync already in place within elements of your organisation that need to be integrated? Answers to these questions will help determine the most appropriate back end infrastructure that is required to support the deployed devices and connect them to the wider world.
- Do you know what the impact will be on your core network architecture? Which locations will users be connecting from and on what devices? What will be the core video conferencing technology implemented? Will it be Scalable Video Coding (SVC) or Advanced Video Coding (AVC)? AVC is a more centralised technology, relying on core network infrastructure to process and mix multiple video streams for a multi-party call. SVC is a distributed technology that places more requirements on the endpoint for video processing and mixing. What video resolutions will be used for the majority of users? Are you using Polycom High Profile Video compression? All of these factors have an impact on the amount of bandwidth required for a video call, and the overall traffic flow across the network.
- Do you need to analyse your edge network architecture? Will users be on-net or off-net? Will they be coming in over a VPN or in the clear across the internet? Are you integrating third party UC partners such as Microsoft Lync? Are you planning to implement web based connectivity such as Polycom RealPresence CloudAXIS? Do you have existing HTTP reverse proxy capability in place? Do you have appropriate SSL Certificates? Answers to these kinds of questions will help determine the firewall strategy to implement video collaboration, along with any associated security requirements such as encryption.
- Have you considered third-party professional network assessment services? An independent network analysis can help profile network performance and identify potential bottlenecks before video collaboration is rolled out. A Network Readiness assessment can help refine the architecture of your video environment to ensure it is meeting your needs, assist with the design of a QoS strategy and ensure it is being implemented across the whole network path as well as analyse call data records once the solution is implemented to validate the quality of experience that users are receiving.
Obviously this is not an exhaustive list of questions, and more specific information would be required for a detailed implementation plan. But asking questions internally so you have the information needed to respond to the above will really help you understand the best type of solution for your network and how to successfully implement it.