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Video Enabled Collaboration

Old Age Platforms Versus Videocall’s ICE

Posted by Kira Hawker on May 16, 2016 3:43:45 PM

Legacy video conferencing platforms are still widely used in today’s office environment. For a large number of businesses, cloud computing is becoming less of an afterthought and more of a strategic reality. In contrast, there are many businesses whose legacy platform works as well as it ever has done, leading many to question why a large-scale migration is necessary. This blog looks at the OAPs versus our ICE (Intelligent Cloud Experience) platform – the pros and cons, and why a migration may not be as difficult as first thought.

OAPs: Time to Upgrade?

Get an in-depth, expert view on legacy systems, download the free whitepaper:
“The Challenges Facing OAPs: Should I Upgrade my Legacy Platform?”

After focusing on the challenges of retaining an OAP platform, we have decided to take a more extensive look at how the Videocall ICE platform is able to supersede an OAP without having a detrimental effect on the efficiency of a business. With cloud technology quickly eclipsing the usefulness of legacy platforms, a migration of video conferencing services could be the ideal change to influence a more contemporary culture of collaboration for a company as a whole.

However, it should be said that migrations from legacy to the cloud do not need to occur as one extensive process. It may be that video conferencing is the only functionality that can be vastly improved by moving to the cloud, in which case the option of a hybrid cloud service could be advisable.

Why Choose ICE?

Our ICE platform is a fully managed VaaS (video as a service) that utilises a Polycom-powered core infrastructure and comprises a range of features designed to move video conferencing into the cloud. Videocall have leveraged the excellent features of the Polycom RealPresence platform which now enables us to offer our innovative services within ICE. There are a number of benefits to this solution, including higher levels of security and frequent updates offering improved usability and functionality. Our latest version, 5.6, offers recording and streaming features; find out more in our upcoming ICE v5.6 launch blog. We have joined Polycom in offering WebRTC for locked down systems and further functionality for conferences for disparate teams without needing to download a plugin. Videocall's ICE Logo

The main advantage of utilising the ICE VaaS platform is that it is futureproof. The lifecycle of many video conferencing technologies is around three years, and even this is a stretch when considering the rapid advances VC has seen in the most recent three years. ICE speaks many service languages, making it able to bridge the gap between Microsoft, Polycom, Cisco and Vidyo telepresence suites or room systems, and any video-enabled endpoint. As a multilingual platform, video conferencing can now be a fully-collaborative and fully-managed service. Compared this with an OAP, which lacks reliability and interoperability with contemporary or non-vendor manufactured endpoints, and you can see the enhancements.

The Issues of Retaining OAPs

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of OAPs:

Pros of OAPs

Cons of OAPs

An on-premise networks may be required for security compliance

Expensive to maintain/replace with both CapEx and OpEx funding

Gives greater control over management estate through in-house IT teams

Possible single point of failure

Directly connected to WAN/LAN without need for overlay network use of public internet

End-of-life equipment/software may contradict company policy

Greater customisation and integration of applications

Cannot receive software updates, security and functionality at risk

Works together with current workflows and processes

Difficult to scale for Lync, Jabber, desktop or mobile device

Familiar infrastructure for existing employees and new starters can have queries answered by any colleague

Requires specific in-house knowledge and skill set to manage, there is little chance of autonomy


Solutions from ICE and Polycom

Now let’s look at the cons and how ICE combats these problems:

  • Lack of vendor support after end-of-life
    The ICE platform is entirely cloud based, which means your video conferencing solution works via a VM (virtualised machine). Because the machine is virtual rather than physical, updates can be downloaded automatically to keep in line with best practice in the industry. It also means new features are easily integrated without the need for specific downloads. Polycom Logo
  • Lessened security/risk of new threats
    Another reason that OAPs become obsolete with regards to video conferencing is a lack of security support from vendors and own-network firewalls. Hackers are more advanced than ever and new threats surface every day. With ICE, all video conferencing takes place in a secure cloud environment, and physical security comes in the form of our anonymous building, secure entry system and separated, restricted access vNOC centre.
  • Incompatibility with modern endpoints
    Interoperability is the key to a fully collaborative workplace. As is often the case with OAPs, network restrictions, as well as restrictions from the service provider, means that connectivity is less broad. With ICE, the whole concept of interoperability is what we believe to be the cornerstone for quality collaboration. Video conferencing takes place over the ICE platform and is completely device agnostic – any endpoint, anywhere.
  • Not easily adopted by video-centric modern workers
    ‘Millennial’ is the buzzword of the moment and, for better or worse, it is an aspect to consider. However, the term refers to workers born between 1980 and 2000, a very broad spectrum in terms of age. Regardless of age, the millennial demographic has been present during a huge shift in technology, moving from stilted text to high quality video. The tech-savvy modern workforce is less likely to adopt an OAP as they may consider it a significant step backwards from the tech they use in their personal lives. Expecting your staff to remain productive when they know there is a more efficient way to collaborate could even breed a lower sense or morale. ICE leverages the best of contemporary video conferencing technology, including live streaming, to be in line with how the office and worker of 2016 likes to collaborate.
  • Effects the reputation of the business
    This particular aspect is important to be aware of. It may be that internal communication is adequate for the needs of your company. However, the needs of clients, suppliers, investors and board members must also be considered. Not being able to offer guests a chance to arrive at your meeting without being attached to your network could have a negative effect on how they view your business. ICE, as we have mentioned, works as a bridge thereby enabling anyone to become part of a face-to-face discussion, wherever they may be and from whichever device they prefer. 

Upgrade Without Disruption

With ICE, as opposed to a legacy system, there is also the chance to upgrade whilst still enjoying the same workflow and level of service. Yes, your legacy system supports your existing workflow, but many OAPs have bespoke code written into them which is specific to that particular business or vertical market. Therefore, even a simple upgrade can mean an entire platform must be rewritten, retested and re-implemented. The ICE platform is updated as and when a new version becomes available, negating any disruption to normal business operations.

In short, video conferencing platforms must respond to the needs of a business, and vice versa. Companies should carefully analyse the way they current use video conferencing and assess whether or not a fully cloud service is the best option. Videocall’s ICE platform is a bespoke offering that comes with a service level agreement based on the ability to be interoperable, flexible and futureproof. It is this lack of fluidity that turns a useful video conferencing service into an OAP. OAPs may have served you well in the past, but could there be a better way? 

Need to know how to migrate your OAP to the cloud? See part 3 of our blog series!

For more information about VaaS, see our recent blog seriesOr, if you would like to get an in-depth, expert view on legacy systems, download the free whitepaper: “The Challenges Facing OAPs: Should I Upgrade my Legacy Platform?”

Topics: Cloud Based Video Conferencing, Polycom, ICE VaaS, cloud, ICE, vaas, OAPs