Videxio Review: Video Connections For All – Through Skype For Business
Read our Videxio Skype for Business Gateway review
To many people, the Skype brand is synonymous with video calling. It was, after all, the application which brought peer-to-peer video communication to the mainstream. Even though it has always been just as effective for IM and low cost VoIP calls, video is what really stands out in most people’s minds.
However, in Microsoft’s reinvention of the Skype name as a business UC platform, video is not necessarily one of the strong points. Yes, you can use Skype for Business to make video calls and hold video conferences. The quality is perfectly good. But you are restricted to only holding video calls or virtual meetings with other Skype for Business users.
There is, in other words, no native compatibility with different video platforms. If you don’t use Skype for Business, you cannot dial into a Skype for Business video conference.
To some, this places a limit on how useful Skype for Business is, especially as an external comms solution. As video grows in importance as a frontline comms channel, it is no longer being viewed as just an option for connecting colleagues within the same business. With advances in technology making high quality live video streaming more accessible and adaptable than ever, there is no reason not to keep communicating and working with business partners, clients and suppliers as well.
The drawback with Skype for Business is that it requires all of those external contacts to be using Skype for Business as well.
Cloud video conferencing host Videxio believes this holds back the role video can play in business comms – and limits the usefulness of Skype for Business, too. The company believes, in the modern spirit of open standards compatibility and easy connectivity for all, that the silos created by proprietary software should be a thing of the past.
In September 2017, Videxio launched a new Gateway-as-a-service solution specifically for Skype for Business. Using the Microsoft-certified Pexip Infinity Fusion Gateway, Videxio created a solution within the Microsoft Azure cloud for connecting to Skype for Business video calls from any device and any platform.
In this review, we’ll look at how the Videxio Skype for Business Gateway extends video operability for users, and also consider the benefits of running such a gateway as a hosted cloud service.
What can it do?
The Pexip Infinity Fusion is a software gateway which allows standards-based video conferencing platforms to connect to each other. In summer 2017, it was certified as compatible with Skype for Business Server 2015, allowing companies running Skype for Business on-premises to include non-Skype for Business users in video conferences and greatly extend the range of one-to-one video calling.
Videxio added to this by building a new calling platform within the Microsoft Azure cloud which incorporated the Pexip gateway. This greatly increases the number of use scenarios the gateway will work in. In practical terms, it means that anyone using a standards-based platform can connect to a Skype for Business conversation or conference via video – it doesn’t matter if the server or online versions are being used, and the cloud-based Videxio platform offers enhanced support for mobility.
Users and devices connected to the Videxio service get direct access to the Skype for Business calling environment, with full video operability. This means that companies running Skype for Business are not asking end users to use yet another comms platform to make video to third-party services. Videxio keeps the Skype for Business interface that users are familiar and comfortable with.
Each Videxio license comes with one virtual meeting room which supports video conferencing for up to 50 participants. Connections can be established from any SIP or H.323 standards compatible smartphone, tablet, laptop or meeting room end point from the likes of Cisco, Polycom, Huawei and many more. Participants can be invited to join conferences from their web browser, and each meeting room also supports audio connections via PSTN or VoIP, as well as recording features.
Videxio meeting rooms also support two-way content sharing between Skype for Business users and other platforms, enabling effective collaboration between companies running different systems.
There is direct integration with Microsoft Outlook for meeting scheduling, which also allows non-Microsoft clients to be invited and join. Videxio can also be used for ad hoc video calls and conferences, with a simple drag-and-drop system for launching calls with people on your contacts list.
Who is it for?
Videxio is ideal for large enterprises which operate different video platforms in different branch offices or regions and want an effective means of connecting them all together. It is also the perfect solution for businesses which have rolled out Skype for Business and want to extend video options to external communications.
What is it compatible with?
Videxio can be used with Skype for Business Server 2015 and Skype for Business Online, providing full flexibility across on-premises, cloud and hybrid deployments.
UC Today Opinion
While peer-to-peer video established the channel as a viable comms option, for business use there has always been the feeling that it is not quite adequate. If video was ever to really challenge the domination of voice in UC, it would have to provide the option to call anyone, anywhere that PSTN and IP Telephony do.
Technologically, this is more difficult to do with video, due to the need for compatible codecs to handle the video and audio. However, that breakthrough has been made with gateway products like Pexip Infinity Fusion. What Videxio does, with its own calling platform and deployment in the Azure cloud, is make the Pexip gateway highly accessible, flexible and user friendly. By breaking through the silos, and allowing Skype for Business to connect to third-party platforms, you have to say that this is how business video conferencing should work.