The popularity of Google+ Hangouts as a videoconferencing service has steadily risen over the last two years. From a corporate perspective, the problem is that as a Web-based service, Google Hangouts is incompatible with most existing videoconferencing systems that largely depend on the Session Initiated Protocol (SIP) to deliver video across a network. In contrast, Google+ Hangouts makes use of the WebRTC video-processing engine to deliver video directly within a browser.
Now Vidyo, the company that developed the software upon which Google+ Hangouts is based, is moving to integrate SIP-based videoconferencing systems with Google+ Hangouts. Announced today, VidyoH2O for Google+ Hangouts is software running on a server that connects H.323 SIP and IP PBX systems to Google+ Hangout sessions.
Mark Noble, senior director of product marketing for Vidyo, says Vidyo H20 for Google+ Hangouts will enable organizations to start migrating to a Web-based videoconferencing system based on Scalable Video Coding developed by Vidyo that takes advantage of standard x86 servers to scale. In contrast, Noble says most existing videoconferencing systems are based on transcoders that are not only more expensive to deploy, they also don’t scale as easily.
While WebRTC is currently supported only in Google Chrome and Firefox browsers, the ability to integrate Google+ Hangouts with legacy videoconferencing systems extends Google’s unified communications thrust into corporate environments. In addition, Web-based approaches to videoconferencing will ultimately be able to make the transition to UltraHD videoconferencing in the year ahead.
While WebRTC clearly offers a lot of promise in terms of making videoconferencing more widely accessible, a fair amount of wrangling is still going on between Google, Microsoft and Apple as to how videoconferencing on the Web will actually be delivered. In the meantime, however, with each passing day more people are opting to use Google+ Hangouts both inside and out of the office.