The video improvements have helped make video a more popular communications method. The law firm reports that the number of attorney/client video conferences have increased by a factor of three. "It has driven a rather significant increase of the use of video," Tisdale says.
Tisdale said Masergy's history with MPLS predates many bigger carriers, who continue to dabble in frame relay. Older networking topologies were never designed to handle voice and video in a meaningful way.
Robert Arnold, industry principal and program manager for unified communications and collaboration at the market researcher Frost & Sullivan, says video quality concerns have increased the adoption of managed network services or Network as a Service approaches that support videoconferencing.
"As more customers become aware of the network requirements to support high-definition video, they are seeking providers to manage not just the video endpoints and infrastructure but the network and network connections as well," he says.
Most of the top managed video conferencing service providers report an uptick in business amid increasing customer demand for reliability and quality, Arnold notes. "However, there's still a large segment of customers and users that have come to accept quality issues. For some, good enough is all they want to pay for — and with that, there is risk."
Managed Cloud Networking Helps Customers Accommodate Growth
McKenna Long & Aldridge also uses Masergy's managed cloud networking approach to accommodate growth, both in terms of network traffic and office locations.
Tisdale said the volume of videoconferencing activity can vary significantly from one day to the next: An eight-session day could be followed by a packed, 40-session schedule. "That can create massive swings in the bandwidth and network resources needed to move high-definition video."
The Masergy network service, however, includes a "dynamic element" that adjusts the network's traffic carrying capability in real time, he notes. Masergy provides customers with a console that lets them increase or decrease bandwidth on the fly. The company refers to this cloud-based feature as Intelligent Service Control, and it allows for on-demand or pre-scheduled service modifications.
Tisdale says the law firm's engineers use the control panel to view bandwidth allocation to different business locations, see how network traffic is set up to handle voice and video, and make adjustments.
The ability to make those modifications comes into play when dealing with unpredictable network demands, Tisdale says. This includes times when the normal baseline network configuration doesn't anticipate a large number of videoconferencing sessions scheduled for a particular morning.
While Masergy's network lets McKenna Long & Aldridge respond to sudden surges in network demand, the same can't be said for all service providers, Tisdale says. Carriers may require a customer to fill out a ticket in order to adjust network characteristics. That ticket might go to an account manager or an inbound ticket handling point. From there, the ticket travels to the carrier's contract review and approvals group. The carrier then sends back a form confirming the network changes.
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