Cisco is adding features for WLAN video streaming in the enterprise so that certain video can get priority over others. Plus, it’s got a customer for the solution in the form of the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), a privately endowed university in Rochester, N.Y.
Cisco certainly is seeing an increase in video consumption in the enterprise, whether it be from YouTube or corporate apps like video conferencing, says Chris Kozup, senior manager of mobility solutions at Cisco. The emergence of 802.11n as a standard also has significantly improved the ability of WLAN to support video.
But challenges still exist with streaming video, and maintaining video quality even in times of congestion is one of them, explains David Stiff, a Cisco product manager. Wireless is still a shared medium, and resources at times are fighting for the same access point.
Cisco’s VideoStream allows for the enforcement of video priority levels and the control of resources. For example, if a CEO is giving a message that the entire enterprise needs to hear, it can get priority over other video.
Does Cisco expect to see more competition from wide-area wireless as 4G gets rolled out in the form of WiMAX and LTE?
“We definitely see a co-existence of multiple technologies,” Kozup says. On-premise technologies like Wi-Fi tend to be the type of thing that IT departments oversee, and they don’t want to cede control when they’re responsible for how it works. Kozup doesn’t see a time where on-demand LTE or WiMAX replaces the in-building systems. “We do see a scenario where the seamless handoff or roaming becomes a lot more integrated,” he says.
RIT is deploying the Cisco VideoStream technology to enhance students' use of video relay services that allow deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals to communicate over video phones with hearing people in real-time, via a sign language interpreter. RIT is also exploring capabilities for students to use laptops and other mobile devices to view close-captioned lectures, visual signing and transcription services in real time.