Collaborate - both Classic and Ultra experience - integrates with Blackboard's own telephony service provider to enable participants joining with telephony audio as alternative to Voice over IP. This service is quite nice for institutions, where students are located in NA or UK. I like to bring it to your attention, that this kind of telephony integration is quite useless for international students and teachers due to the long distance feeds to be paid by minutes. I'm wondering, why our European datacenter, located in Netherlands does provide UK dial-in numbers only.
However, with Collaborate Classic we take benefits from its alternative (3rd party) telephony integration, which enables us to team our own telephony service of choice nationally by using the SIP standard or internationally distributed telephony services. Since the days of predecessor "Elluminate Live!" we used that under SAS-administration.
Question to the audience: How important is telephony integration in your virtual learning environment ?
Questions to the product management:
Why not partnering with a service provider, who implements a bunch of different national dial-in frontends in many countries?
Is such 3rd party telephony on Ultra development's roadmap ?
I want to emphasize on the fact, that Ultra's superior quality connection has much more bandwidth demand than Classic. The importance of a second chance "telephony" is therefore increased under limited bandwidth constraints, especially in regions of the world with reduced internet access. The low-bandwith stability of Collaborate Classic is a unique selling point in competition. Competitors react on their bad VoIP behavior implementing national dial-in in many countries all over the world.
Todays enterprise and governmental communication systems are equipped with Unified Communication adapters, in terms of audio by SIP exchange, in terms of videoconferencing by H.323 ITU standards.
Corporate learning infrastructures welcome to integrate their internal telephony system with Collaborate Classic via SIP.
European universities are often equipped with H.323 videoconferencing systems to connect lecture halls. In the early stage of Collaborate Ultra product design, it was discussed to implement a H.323 adapter.
Questions to the audience: Do you own such vendor-independant H.323 videoconferencing systems at your university ?
Is your videoconferencing infrastructure used or potentially useful in your virtuel learning environment ?
Do you exspect benefits for your real-time communication ecosystem, if the leading edge webRTC virtual classroom product Collaborate Ultra would enable you to integrate with your existing videoconferencing infrastructure?
Questions to the product management:
H.323 connectivity left the Ultra development roadmap. Is this decision still open for market demands?
I want to emphasize on the fact, that up to now, webconferencing vendors go proprietary due to lack of standards, while videoconferencing was vendor-independant from begin. In the last 20 years, market analysts (e.g. Wainhouse research) claimed, that there are two ecosystems not interconnecting to each other. But now, the times they are changing!
webRTC is ready to go, SIP is widely accepted and H.323 systems do interconnect without major glitches.
From my personal viewpoint, it would be a major unique selling point to bring a unified solution to market.
Let me report the situation in Germany: The strongest player on business conferencing is currently Adobe Connect. All customers of that product desparately demanded for integration with their videoconferencing infrastructure, but Flash-based systems can't fulfill.
WebRTC - H.323 - SIP ? - yes we can!
Rethink education that way.
It is just a decision to invest in development to serve those ever lasting demands of the unified communication market.
Thanks for reviewing my thoughts on Unified Collaboration, which are in fact a proposal to make Collaborate Ultra the missing link and therefore another strong business driver.
I welcome your feedback here.
Certified Videoconferencing Engineer
Collaborate Professional Services
on the DACH market (Germany, Austria, Switzerland)