I recently attended a Mitel overview and have made a 2Pager available below.
Here’s the setup. Most UC companies have struggled with video. They almost all support video on their UC soft clients, but rooms and endpoints are hard. There’s been several noteworthy attempts (any one remember the Mitel UC360?). But it’s time to get serious about video. Cisco has always played-up video and UC, and now MIcrosoft too has a portfolio that spans desktops to rooms (Skype Room Systems and Microsoft Hub). The term “video room” often conjures expensive boardroom type configurations, but the real sweet-spot is “huddle rooms.” That’s because most meetings take place in smaller informal rooms. There’s lots more potential huddle rooms than boardrooms and the cost of equipment has reduced to make this a viable opportunity.
The UC vendors have been slow to figure out the huddle room. It’s complex because it requires a network-connected computer, camera, and audio system that must be integrated into the calendaring system – yet secure. It also has to be affordable and intuitive. Most vendors have gone down the Intel NUC path – a small affordable Intel computer connected to A/V peripherals and running some UC software that facilitates joining a scheduled meeting. One of the more interesting recent solutions is the new Skype Room (Rigel) which uses a docked Surface Pro 4 (SP4) PC and a specialized version of Windows-10. The Surface Pro does the mixing and provides a touch-screen interface.
Mitel created a similar solution that leverages its own touch-enabled phone as a video room controller. The phone provides the video controls and join function. Digital PTZ are done through the phone display. USB A/V peripherals are still connected to a hidden NUC (it can be hidden because the phone controls it). It’s a very clever approach because the phone realistically should be in the conference room anyway, and by lucky coincidence Mitel produces and sells the phone. It’s a solution that uses what’s not only in the room, but in the portfolio. A future iteration may enable the use of the phone’s mics and speaker instead of a the USB audio equipment.
The solution is not yet available – in part because it uses a new 6900 series IP phone from Mitel which hasn’t been released yet. But it’s coming soon.
This comes dangerously close to my pet peeve that most UC endpoints do not have cameras. I think they should. Why does every smartphone, tablet, and laptop have a built in camera, yet it is rare with IP phones? Virtually every UC system now supports SIP video. Even worse, one of the few video enabled UC endpoints is the Polycom VVX series IP phones which are commonly deployed in SfB envrionments. SfB supports video on the client, but not on the Polycom endpoint! Hello? Anyway, I digress. Kudos to Mitel for such an obvious solution that no one has come up with it.
This topic and other things I saw and heard at the recent Mitel event are covered in the TalkingPointz 2Pager. Add it to your cart and download for free.