The results from the telepresence interoperability demo were discussed on October 7 in the session “Telepresence Interoperability is Here!” http://events.internet2.edu/2009/fall-mm/agenda.cfm?go=session&id=10000758&event=980. Bob Dixon used visual and sound effects (including love songs and Hollywood-style explosions) to explain interoperability to people who are less involved in the topic. His presentation inspired me to write about telepresence interoperability for less technical and more general audience. (I hope that my series of blog posts achieved that). Bob highlighted that this was not only the first multi-vendor telepresence interoperability but also the first time systems on Interent2, Commodity Internet, Polycom’s, Tandberg’s, and IBM’ networks successfully connected.
Gabe connected through an HDX video endpoint to RSS 2000 and played back some key parts of the recording from the interoperability demos on October 6 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/20518315@N00/4015164486/). I was actually pleasantly surprised how much information the RSS 2000 captured during the demos. I later found out that Robbie had created a special layout using the MLA application on RMX2000, and this layout allowed us to see multiple sites in the recording.
Robbie (over video from Ohio State) commented that connecting the telepresence systems was the easier part while modifying the layouts turned out to be more difficult. He was initially surprised when RMX/MLA automatically associated video rooms 451, 452, and 453 at Ohio State into a telepresence system but then used this automation mechanism throughout the interoperability tests.
Jim talked about the need to improve usability.
Gabe talked about monitoring the resources on RMX 2000 during the tests and reported that it never used more than 50% of the resource.
I talked mainly about the challenges to telepresence interoperability (as described in Part 2) and about the need to port some of the unique video functions developed in H.323 into the SIP, which is the protocol used in Unified Communications.
Bill (over video from IBM) explained that his team has been testing video interoperability for a year. The results are used for deployment decisions within IBM but also for external communication. IBM is interested in more interoperability among vendors.
During the Q&A session, John Chapman spontaneously joined the panel to answer questions about the demo call to Doha and about the modifications of their telepresence rooms to make them feel more like classrooms.
The Q&A session ran over time and number of attendees stayed after that to discuss with the panelists.
There was a consensus in the room that the telepresence interoperability demo was successful and very impressive. This success proves that standards and interoperability are alive and can connect systems from different vendors running on different networks. The series of tests were also a great team work experience in which experts from several independent, sometimes competing, organizations collaborated towards a common goal.
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