WHY CAN’T ENTERPRISES DEPLOY STANDARD SOFTPHONES ON THEIR VIRTUAL DESKTOP?
While it is true that Virtual Desktops typically run Windows and thus can support standard applications such as PowerPoint, Outlook and Word, VoIP soft phones cannot be deployed at scale in this way. VoIP is a real time application, and thus is very sensitive to delays; sending VoIP packets from the end user’s headset to a cloud-based server in a remote location (sometimes 100s or 1000s of kilometres away) can result in significant latency. Furthermore, with VoIP typically requiring 8000 packets per second, sending all this media traffic to be processed by the server is simply not efficient, reducing the capacity of the server by 50% or more. For this reason, a specialized soft phone client is required in which the media engine runs locally at the end point, and the rest of the client (e.g. Contacts, Instant Messaging / Presence, as well as the UI) runs on the server.
DO THE MAJOR UC VENDORS (MICROSOFT, CISCO AND AVAYA) SUPPORT VDI AND DAAS?
Yes, leading UC vendors such as Microsoft, Cisco and Avaya have developed soft phone clients that are optimized for use with VDI and DaaS. However, these clients typically only are supported for thin clients based on Windows Embedded, and occasionally for Linux-based systems. But no UC vendor currently supports zero clients, due to the effort to customize their UC clients to an environment without an operating system.
WILL ENTERPRISES INCUR ADDITIONAL LICENSING COSTS FROM THEIR UC VENDOR?
In general, there will be no incremental licensing costs for deploying the Bria Virtualized Edition, but this needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. For example, with Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CallManager) solution, an Enhanced UC License (UCL) is required for most SIP end points, regardless of whether it is a Cisco SIP hard phone (such as the Cisco Unified IP Phone 7965) or a Bria Virtualized Edition soft phone client. However, in (rare) cases where customers have purchased either Basic or Essential UCLs, 3rd party SIP clients may not be used. In this case, the customer must purchase the more expensive Enhanced UCL (typically at least $100 more expensive).
WHAT IS THE CALL QUALITY AND LATENCY ACHIEVED WITH THE COUNTERPATH / TERADICI SOLUTION?
With the CounterPath / Teradici solution, the media engine runs locally within the zero client, thereby offloading the cloud-based server from processing VoIP packets, and eliminating the “hairpin” / “trombone” effect by allowing the media to stay local. The resulting latency is very low, in fact, it is as good or better than typical VoIP hard phones.
HOW CAN CUSTOMERS BE SURE THAT BRIA VIRTUALIZED EDITION WILL WORK “OUT OF THE BOX” AGAINST ANY IP PBX?
CounterPath’s softphone clients offer the most extensive interoperability in the industry, and are used by many operators as the gold standard benchmark when testing IP PBX systems. With millions of soft clients deployed over the past 12 years against 3rd party IP PBXs, CounterPath’s clients have been well hardened in the field. In addition, CounterPath participates in ongoing certification testing with leading partners, including BroadSoft, Cisco and Avaya.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR MICROSOFT LYNC?
CounterPath’s Bria Virtualized Edition product can be readily federated with Microsoft Lync Instant Messaging and Presence. However, whereas CounterPath’s soft phone products are based on open SIP standards, Microsoft is one of the few vendors with a closed / proprietary VoIP system. The good news is that many Lync deployments are based on other vendors’ SIP solutions (e.g. Cisco, Avaya, Mitel), in which case, CounterPath’s Bria Virtualized Edition product is fully interoperable. Only in the case where native Lync Voice and Video is deployed (based on proprietary SIP) will CounterPath’s Virtualized Edition not be interoperable.
WHY IS THE ZERO CLIENT SO POPULAR AMONGST HEALTHCARE AND EDUCATION VERTICALS?
In both these verticals, the end user benefit of being able to securely access their access from anywhere is a critical requirement e.g. a doctor or nurse can scan their badge to automatically log into any zero client, regardless of what building or floor they are on, and instantly access their desktop. Also, from an IT perspective, the cost savings associated with centrally managing desktop infrastructure are very significant, combined with enhanced security and backups.