In today’s business world IT professionals have to manage multiple collaboration applications in order to support an increasingly mobile workforce, flexible desktop solutions as well as collaboration and video rooms within their organizations. The collaboration environment is multi-endpoint and multi-vendor and reaches beyond enterprise boundaries – both B2B and B2C.

Compounding this IT challenge is the maturity of the collaboration market.  To date, companies have typically made significant investments and want to protect these investments as they move forward.  In particular, companies want to protect the quality of experience as they move to integrate across department, company and consumer boundaries, and as they look to expand their deployments.  This challenge grows more acute as the market rapidly evolves towards innovations such as H.265 and WebRTC.

Companies are looking for true interoperability with a seamless user experience that:

–         Allows them to benefit from new innovations

–         Interoperates with existing and future investments

–         And, works across company boundaries and functions in a diverse environment

A critical element to delivering this vision is standards.  One of the more recent emerging standards that several vendors, including Cisco, have implemented is H.264 SVC.  This standard brings benefits, such as supporting conferencing scalability; however, it also brings some familiar challenges:

–         H.264 SVC is loosely defined, which means each vendor has a different implementation – no interoperability

–         Due to the lack of standardization on how to signal H.264 SVC; there is no standard means to interoperate with H.264 AVC, arguably the dominant industry standard today

Clearly, standards are necessary but they are insufficient to fully address the interoperability vision.

Cisco’s strategy to delivering true interoperability combines an architectural approach with a rigorous adherence to standards.

At InfoComm 2013 Cisco announced two key interoperability capabilities.  First, we’re adding interoperability support for H.264 SVC into our portfolio.  The centerpiece of this is the Cisco Video Communications Server (VCS) platform.  The VCS platform interworks H.264 SVC and H.264 AVC, enabling H.264 SVC endpoints to connect to any standards based H.264 AVC endpoint and/or conference platform.   Secondly, we demonstrated how this enables us to deliver interoperability with vendors such as Microsoft’s Lync 2013. Not only does the VCS provide interworking between Microsoft Lync’s H.264 SVC implementation with H.264 AVC but the VCS also provides signaling and encryption interworking with Microsoft Lync.

With Cisco’s support of H.264 SVC customers can interoperate across a heterogeneous deployment and scale these deployments cost effectively.

This interoperability solution delivers HD quality while optimizing infrastructure costs, specifically removing the need for a transcoding gateway.

As we move forward Cisco will further develop this interoperability approach to support migration to new innovations in the industry.

Click on the videos below to learn more and see a demo on Cisco’s support of interoperability and H.264 SVC.