Radvision and Lync on Video Conferencing Collaboration

Radvision is not the first to market with technology to plug its video conferencing into the widely used Microsoft Lync platform, but it is taking a different approach to solve the problem.

Radvision asserts that Microsoft has approved its blessing for the video conference system provider to pursue the Scopia Video Gateway for Microsoft Lync. It will integrate Radvision’s video conferencing technology with the Lync Unified Communications (UC) platform. Radvision recently introduced its video gateway that has attained Microsoft qualification for video interoperability with Microsoft Lync 2010 and with Office Communications Server 2007 R2, the predecessor to Lync.

Video conferencing is a vital component of any UC platform as well as with audio conferencing, IM, e-mail, and document sharing. However, the vice president of global marketing at Radvision, Bob Romano said in an interview conducted over Radvision’s Scopia video conferencing system, “Lync isn’t natively interoperable.”

Lync Gateway on Different Approach

While Lync has a video component to it, Romano explained that Lync video is different from conventional video conferencing because it utilizes unique codecs, which Radvision transcodes in order to connect Lync and Radvision. Romano added, “What the Lync gateway does is it allows this bridge between the Lync audio-video world and the traditional enterprise H.323 video world.” Pertaining this to the industry protocol for video conferencing on IP networks, which he said Radvision developed.

Two other video conferencing systems vendors consider a different approach. Last year, Polycom launched the CX7000 room-based video conferencing system, which is prebuilt with Lync inside. LifeSize, a video conference business owned by Logitech, also announced Lync support for its LifeSize 200 series of endpoints, including room systems. Both vendors made their announcements in July at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2011 in Los Angeles. In both cases, the Lync server identifies the video conferencing system as just another client on the network. The drawback, however, is that Lync identifies only the LifeSize 200 series and Polycom CX7000 systems as Lync clients, ignoring the two million video conferencing room systems already in use. “So the video gateway that we created is the bridge to that installed base of devices,” Romano said.

Blue Jeans Network Participation

There is a third way and it comes from Blue Jeans Network, the provider of a cloud-based video conferencing service that announced in November 2011 that it could connect a meeting participant on Lync to another meeting participant on Skype. The announcement was a little dig at Microsoft, which had closed its acquisition of Skype a month earlier and is planning to integrate Skype into Lync.

Blue Jeans Network is not a video conferencing system provider like LifeSize, Radvision or Polycom. Instead, it connects participants in the cloud from high-end systems such as Cisco TelePresence, those aforementioned systems, Skype, and the like, on devices ranging from desktop systems to tablets to smartphones.