Telstra has introduced a new video conferencing cloud service aimed at businesses. The new service, called ‘Business-to-Business video,’ will allow business employees to collaborate via video by dialing one phone number. The service will be accessible across a wide range of devices (smart phones, tablets and desktops).
This service is in tandem with the Asia-pacific region’s demand for video conferencing. In October last year, Polycom released a research report that indicated video conferencing is expected to be the preferred business communications tool in 2016. This report indicated that the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region viewed video conferencing as a very important tool for international business, with 65% of the polled employees preferring to use video conferencing to communicate with colleagues in different countries, while 57% said they use it for inter-country communications. About 96% of the polled businesses preferred video conferencing to save on travel expenses and said that it enhanced productivity by breaking down cultural barriers. Businesses were also looking for a video conferencing tool with a high audio quality. Clarity of conversions over video was a paramount feature.
The new Business-to-Business video is designed to offer high quality and high definition video conferencing tool that will be used across Cisco, Telstra IP telephony (TIPT), and Polycom. The service is intended to break physical barriers that prevent businesses from conducting video conferencing outside their physical locations. The service, as mentioned earlier, will be easily accessible through a single call between meeting rooms, on browsers, at a desk and on mobile devices.
Announcing the launch, Philip Jones, Executive Director of Global Products and Solutions at Telstra Global Enterprise was optimistic about the new service saying, “Telstra’s new business to business video solution will provide our cloud collaboration customers with video calling technology that is interoperable, easy to use and designed for business. Organizations can leverage this as an enabler for future ways of working, fostering innovation and new models of business engagement with their global supply chain.”
Further, Jones indicated that Business-to-Business video would increase the value of their partnerships with various video conference and cloud collaboration service providers. He added, “The new capability adds further value to our partnerships with video conference services providers, such as Blue Jeans Network, our cloud collaboration partnership with Cisco and other existing services such as room based and desktop video solutions.”
Currently Google and Microsoft are the major competitors in this field with their respective products, Google Hangouts and Skype. However, Telstra’s is poised to take advantage of its geographical location considering US and Canada are known to enjoy the perks from both Skype and Google hangouts.
For video conferencing, Google hangouts allow up to 10 participants. However, businesses can increase the number of participants up to 15 by subscribing to Google Business Apps $5 per month per user. Skype, on the other hand, allows free one-on-one video conferencing. However, if one of the users has a subscription account, it allows up to 10 participants. The cost varies depending on the country of residence. The other downside is use of bandwidth. Google Hangout updated its tool last year to allow users to set their preferred bandwidth usage to improve quality of video and audio. Skype, conversely, uses about 3 MB minimum per minute and an average of 0-4kbps when idle. Both services also require about 2-3 clicks to start a meeting as opposed to Telstra’s single call. While both can be used in a business environment, Skype is designed for individual end users. Telstra’s customers will have unlimited participants in a video conference while using Business-to Business video. This new service will be a value-add for their existing customers, and an incentive for their potential customers.