Video Collaboration: The Universal Option

We’ve seen massive improvements in video collaboration technology over the last few years. Today’s cloud video services are affordable, high quality, easy to use, and provide a reliable and consistent meeting experience. So, it is no wonder that we’ve seen impressive adoption of video conferencing in the workplace. Even Wall Street has taken notice of the video industry’s growth and success.

Unfortunately, one major blockade still limits the video capabilities of our meetings and working sessions. There is no universal dialing plan for video calls. While it’s natural to compare video calls to telephone calls, the video networks that we must work with were developed in a completely different world than the telephone. The phone number exchange system originally developed by American Bell Telephone company in the 19th century became universal. New service providers that entered the market had to follow the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) numbering plan. By conforming to the ITU plan, each individual phone number could connect to all other numbers, regardless of the telephone service provider. If you have a telephone number, you can call or be called by anyone else with a telephone number.

Impediments to Video Collaboration

Video conferencing technology was initially developed towards the end of the millennium and in a more mature and more interconnected business environment. Several competitive companies developed the first generation of video solutions separately. The first room-based video conferencing systems would only work with identical systems from the same company. If you wanted to make a video call, you had to not only buy a system for your meeting room, but you also had to buy one for anyone you wanted to call.

Emerging cloud video services made having identical room-based systems in order to communicate via video less of an issue. As most cloud services offer an avenue for guests to join a call via their laptops or mobile devices. If you use Highfive and send a meeting invite to someone who has never used video, they can join the call through their web browser without even having to download an application or be in a room equipped with video. They can simply click the URL to join. Ease-of-use innovations such as this are a huge factor in the recent and massive growth of video use in business.

However, one major blockade has remained. The absence of complete interoperability between services is still a problem. The lack of a comparable universal video dialing system certainly complicates matters. Even greater than that, we desire that these services seamlessly connect. Our clients, partners, associates, and other business contacts regularly have their own unique video services that they’re comfortable using. We shouldn’t have to require them to use our preferred cloud service when we want to connect with them via video. Ideally, everyone should be able to use their choice of service regardless of who they’re attempting to connect with.

This becomes even more of a problem when you consider conference room video systems. We don’t use our desktop or mobile video accounts when we make calls from a conference room. We have video systems designed specifically for meeting rooms. These in-room systems are often powered by a cloud video service, which is pre-loaded into the video system. Imagine a smartphone that only had one video app on it. It would be very easy to use – as you’d only have one button to click on the phone screen. However, this smartphone would restrict you by only allowing you to call people who are using the same app.

No one would be content with a phone that offers such limited capabilities. Similarly, people are not satisfied with conference room-based video systems that are single app only. Here at Highfive, we recognized that while our customers love making Highfive calls, they also want to connect to people who use other services. To meet this demand, we have released our new Meeting Connector service.

Video Collaboration by Highfive

The Highfive Meeting Connector allows Highfive rooms to join SIP-enabled meetings hosted by other video conferencing providers. This further increases the utility of Highfive rooms, as users can now dial into meetings that are hosted by other SIP-enabled services, including BlueJeans, Lifesize, WebEx and Zoom. Coupled with the Highfive Room Connector, which allows other SIP-enabled meeting room equipment to join Highfive meetings, Highfive can fully interoperate with any SIP-enabled video conferencing solution. Highfive’s Meeting and Room Connectors offer the closest video conferencing service comparable to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) numbering plan.

Take it from Highfive CEO, Joe Manuele, who explained Highfive’s interconnectivity vision in recent No Jitter article:

There’s a huge opportunity for video conferencing vendors to work together and offer an experience where every system is compatible, just like a text message. Until then, we’ve developed our own solution, which we call the Highfive Meeting Connector. It’s free to all of our customers. Those with an intelligent Highfive Meeting Room can now easily join other video conference meetings—all with a single tap, from a single device, and without ever leaving their meeting room.

Learn more about how the Highfive Meeting Connector can help you prioritize video collaboration