New software from Avistar will make video available over mobile and wireless links by integrating with Lotus SameTime and adapting to available bandwidth.
The Lotus integration means a user can type "Are you there?" and, if so, click a video icon to start a video call - just as with consumer IM but using enterprise-class IM with superior video quality, according to the company.
Avistar marketing head, John Carlson, stressed the company was calling it "video collaboration" instead of "videoconferencing" quite deliberately - Avistar wants to get away from the meeting room analogy and closer to the PC-to-PC videophone model that's been so successful for Skype in the consumer market. "Videoconferencing is a ball and chain - it tends to suggest a conference room. The vast majority of our systems are used in a more ad-hoc way," he said.
Each video call normally takes up 384Kbit/s, but the network admin can apply a throttle, for example limiting video to a set amount of the WAN pipe and either giving additional calls a busy signal or routing them onto ISDN.
As well as bandwidth, the latest version of Avistar's software can track other factors that affect QoS such as latency, jitter and the number of hops. It also tests for consistent end-to-end SIP signalling and for working bi-directional video, Carlson said, and if there's not 384Kbit/s available it can adapt by reducing the frame rate.
Avistar is not as well known as videoconferencing specialists such as Polycom because it has focused on vertical industries. Carlson said the 14-year-old company has around 14,000 users, mostly in finance - its clients include UBS, Standard Chartered and Deutschebank.
Read more from our interview with John Carlson here.