As unified collaboration increasingly becomes imperative in enterprise strategy, Cisco and Microsoft, continue to battle for UC control of the desktop. The Cisco Jabber and Microsoft Lync clients offer features such as presence, voice, video, and web collaboration. 

While Cisco started on one side of the track with strong roots in voice and video, Microsoft started on the opposite side, with expertise in end user experience and presence/chat capability.

Over the years the two clients have met in the middle to close the gap on a lot of the feature parity.  Video communication is one of the most important considerations of this war. 

Cisco’s acquisition of Tandberg’s Movi engine was a powerful addition to the Jabber client, in many eyes trumping the performance of Lync’s RTVideo.  An advantage of the Movi engine was its use of OpenGL for the video driver.  This enabled the Movi client to bypass components of the operating system to better optimize video performance. 

However, with the recent Lync announcement of adding H.264 SVC (Scalable Video Codec) support, many expect the balance to tip back into Microsoft’s favor.  H.264 SVC has proven to be a powerful video codec that preserves high quality video in situation where network loss is a strong possibility.

Whether it’s islands of Lync and Jabber within an organization, or Lync on the desktop and Cisco Video in the conference rooms, the real casualty of this battle is seamless interoperability. 

A common question is “How can I connect my Lync desktops to my Cisco Video endpoints?”  The answer thus far has been a lot of additional on-prem infrastructure and complex dial plans, which has resulted in a lack of scalability and end user adoption.  This interoperability problem is exacerbated when taking on B2B and B2C initiatives.    

The priorities of the Blue Jeans cloud are enterprise and consumer grade video interoperability, lower TCO by eliminating complex architecture build outs, and end-user ease of use.  While enabling “Bring Your Own Device” is a must in the enterprise, Blue Jeans extends this to the next level with “Bring Your Own Application”. Furthermore, as WebRTC is adopted across different browsers, we empower users to bring no application at all. WebRTC is an API definition integrated into HTML 5 that enables native browsers for voice and video calling…. no clients required.

Blue Jeans has adopted this to allow users to have a video call with their favorite browser. This type of end user flexibility and interoperability is required to make video pervasive not only within the enterprise walls but also beyond them. As the battle for the desktop wages on, it is important to not only future proof with the right deployment decisions but also consider the ever changing video landscape as new video access methods are introduced.     

Blog written by Sean Simmons, Senior Sales Engineer at Blue Jeans Network.

Interoperable Video Conferencing Made Easy