AVI-SPL has announced its Virtual Meeting Room (VMR) program has expanded into Canada, Europe and Australia. AVI-SPL offered VMR to all of these areas in the past, with calls being routed to the U.S., then reaching the end-user.
The expansion of VMR means users will be re-routed faster when using VMR. Science has shown the human ear starts to detect delay in half-duplex conversations (conversation in which all participants can send information, but not at the same time) at around 250 to 300 milliseconds.
This new global distribution cloud “will allow global participants to meet locally, automatically routing users to the VNOC that is geographically closest to them, and dramatically improving call quality no matter the distance,” according to the AVI-SPL announcement.
AVI-SPL launched its VMR service at InfoComm 2013.
Since then, AVI-SPL has expanded its international division from 12 people to more than 100 employees, says Danny Rogers, VP of global channels and vendor alliances. In 2015, AVI-SPL completed projects in 65 countries.
“That’s been a key differentiator for our customers and our vendor partners,” says Rogers, noting AVI-SPL continues to add channel alliance partners. VMR is part of AVI-SPL’s longer-term focus as a technology company, shifting from an AV-only focus to AV and IT, he says. Part of that manifests itself in AVI-SPL’s role as a Microsoft Surface Hub launch partner.
“We’re not moving away from our core but we’re migrating into IT and expanding our managed services,” says Rogers.
With its VMR offering, AVI-SPL “made a conscious decision to use the latest virtual technology,” says Frank Mehr, senior VP of research and development. “We can add services in a matter of hours and increase bandwidth as it’s needed.” That means the VMR system is equipped to handle bursts, says Mehr.
VMR also includes scheduling capabilities, allows users to connect VMR to other videoconferencing systems and those on desktop applications can join meetings. Mehr sees further expansion of its VMR network into EMEA and APAC in the future, he says.
“We’ve brought collaboration without borders,” says Boris Koechlin, managing director of AVI-SPL in Canada, noting the AV industry remains fragmented in his home country, similar to the setup in the U.S. Roughly half of those who do business with AVI-SPL say a major factor is its global reach, says Koechlin.
“We offer a common way of project management, a common way of service and now a common platform,” he says.
Customers can brand their portals with logos and other unique looks, says Mehr, a feature that’s especially popular among college and university officials, but also with corporate clients. Another popular feature of AVI-SPL’s VMR is the hybrid model, which allows users to own some ports but have access to many.
“That gives them a comfort level without a capital expenditure,” says Mehr.
“It’s absolutely driven by the customers,” says Koechlin.
In addition to corporate and higher education clients, the VMR is popular in security and health care applications.
“It’s very much a global play,” says Mehr.