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Time to move your VC to the Cloud? — Part 1

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The cloud figuratively hovers in the back of every IT manager’s mind, in terms of making decisions about moving certain types of enterprise applications to it. It’s clear that for several applications the decision is a no-brainer, with clear benefits in costs, management, and real-time performance. For some other applications however, the decision is not so simple.

One thing is clear however, the cloud brings very clear benefits that are important to any modern organisation. The cloud systems are easier to manage, need less internal resources to manage, and work out cheaper in terms of capex and opex (hardware AMC) costs.

A couple of the key concerns that CIOs and CTOs have to consider in order to come to the right decision are reliability and costs. This is especially important in the context of India, where internet connectivity cannot be taken for granted and its costs are a major barrier to adoption of cloud platforms even for those who have bought into SaaS completely.

Key considerations while evaluating Cloud VC

Enterprise grade video collaboration and video conferencing are relatively new entrants to the cloud platform, and several organisations are in the early stages of evaluating Cloud VC offerings. Our team has been studying this in some detail for both our own and our clients’ needs, and we’ve got some early insights to share…

1. Moving quickly and instantaneously to a cloud platform is out of the question for most organisations in India, partly because they have already invested in some legacy systems that are not end-of-life yet. Also the high bandwidth costs make it difficult to move a large number of users to cloud systems. A new organisation or one starting from scratch with its deployment of meeting and collaboration systems, will usually find it much easier to adopt the Clouds.

2. Most modern networked meeting technologies are still in the early adoption phase for a lot of organisations in India – which means that the end-users and the administrative teams are just getting used to them. The confidence and comfort that they have with these systems need to reach a higher point, if they are to embrace the transition. A prematurely early switch can lead to a loss of confidence and set back the process of broad-based adoption for the organisation.

3. The goal for most businesses today is to make the convenience and benefits of video conferencing available to a broader set of people in the organisation and to connect offices at multiple locations. But this also means an increase in costs either on room hardware or on the AV network infrastructure and these choices are critical.

4. The very broad set of options available to organisations are to shift completely to the cloud, to adopt a hybrid-solution as a stepping stone for leveraging the benefits of Cloud VC or lastly to stick with their owned-AV-network based on hardware (especially MCUs) that they already have.

5. Privacy and reliability concerns are at the back of the mind for the senior management in many organisations along with the usual issues like costs and ROI, when it comes to the adoption of a Cloud VC solution. Defining what level of quality and reliability is going to be the benchmark for VC in the organisation is another key criteria.

Based on what we are seeing, it looks like a hybrid-design solution makes the most sense for video collaboration in India, though the exact form it takes can vary considerably according to organisational needs.

For example, some organisations may choose to move their bridge/MCU function to the cloud, since the costs with a hardware bridge are still substantial. On the other hand, point-to-point calling capability can still be useful to provide redundancy in case cloud access quality drops.

 

We’ll share more of our detailed findings on this topic in Part 2 of this series, coming here in the next few weeks…

(Image Courtesy: Lifesize & Polycom)

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