VBrick Brings Streaming to Unified Communications

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There's been a lot of buzz about unified communications, and even a few decent solutions built around videoconferencing and on-demand video, but there's been nothing that's leveraged the power of true streaming video. That's changing as of today, with VBrick's new OCS Streaming Gateway and VBrick Enterprise Media System (VMES), which integrate streaming video directly into Microsoft's Office Communicator and SharePoint products.

"What we think is important about this is that for the last year and a half we're hearing our customers tell us 'We like the CEO broadcast, video signage, distributed learning, and the other things VBrick is doing," says John Shaw, COO, "but we're grappling with how do I make these things available to my community without having to invest in having to train them to do different things and implement new workflows."

As such, the new products run on the VBrick platform, and don't require any additional reconfiguration of the Microsoft OCS or SharePoint servers. VEMS modules are embedded directly into SharePoint pages, and in Office Communicator (which is being re-branded as Microsoft Lync), "Video Buddies" appear alongside a user's other contacts. Users can collaborate with peers while they watch live video using chat, VOIP, or LiveMeeting.

This approach gives streaming video added value, says product manager Erik Herz. "In addition to the traditional 'invite to a webinar' workflow for things like executive broadcasts," he says, "but if an executive wants to have ad hoc communications, they can can send out a push notification saying 'breaking news'."

Video Buddies can also be always-on live video feeds such as Bloomberg or CNBC, or can be on-demand behind-the-firewall video, and the system tracks metadata such as keywords that can be used to automatically feed relevant content to the appropriate desktops.

Current customers, according to Shaw, include the U.S. Department of Justice and other government agencies.

Herz explains more about the OCS Streaming Gateway in a video here.

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