Managed services for video-conferencing

Two years ago Top 100 Solution Provider Dimension Data launched an ambitious managed services offering centred on video-conferencing.

The company has now released the next generation version of Managed Service for Visual Communications with several enhancements. The goal of this service, according to Dimension Data, is to the take the “headache out of video management.”

When Dimension Data launched the first version of MSVC in 2011, the market was focused purely on the bridging and connectivity aspects of making a video-conference call. No provider was addressing the underlying issue of delivering mission critical reliability and ease of use with services such as Concierge and Executive Support services. These services allow a user to simply book a meeting and the video-conferencing call is established without them having to pick up a remote control.

Dimension Data’s goal is to enable collaboration and continue to deliver video-conferencing on an open, standards-based platform without confining clients to proprietary, expensive networks, and network services that don’t integrate with their broader unified communications estate. The new release of the managed service, has management and scheduling tools so that when users book a call, the only other aspect they need to worry about is what to say in the meeting.

Ian Heard, Dimension Data’s group general manager for the service, said Managed Services for Visual Communications manages about 20,000 calls per month for 430 clients across 5,600 Cisco and Polycom endpoints. The company has options for on-premise, managed, in the private cloud or as-a-service video services.

One company that moved this service when it became available is British American Tobacco. Working in partnership with Cisco, Dimension Data replaced the organization’s video-conferencing infrastructure at twenty five British American Tobacco sites across five continents in only six months, reducing cost, risk and business disruption.

British American Tobacco also wanted to extend its video-conferencing options beyond telepresence rooms in order to give individual employees access to video-conferencing from their desks or homes.  Today, British American Tobacco now has a future-proofed means to fully exploit its collaborative work culture as a differentiator in the market.

Andrew Cunningham, British American Tobacco’s Head of End User Computing, said the company originally intended for the WAN provider to manage the international shipping of the Cisco equipment. However, it became clear that Dimension Data had the ability to operate effectively across all sorts of regulatory environments.

He added that video-conferencing has the potential to transform the way companies collaborate externally with colleagues, clients and partners. The critical element to the success of an organization’s video conferencing return on investment (ROI) lies in the area of user adoption. If employees don’t use video conferencing, the knock-on effect is that their colleagues and clients won’t either. Consequently, the business won’t derive the benefits that the technology was originally purchased to deliver.

Scalability is also a big challenge for corporations, according to Dimension Data. Since they struggle to grow their support infrastructure in order to cope with the increasing number of end points that mobility and UC integration is bringing. This is because IT departments can’t keep up with supporting the growing number of users in those critical first two “golden” minutes after something goes wrong on a video call – a time when users are most likely to abandon the service and opt for a voice-only alternative.


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