VidyoWorks brings secure video “command and control” to US troops in the field
The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) required an integrated, certifiably secure and scalable video-conferencing solution across the full spectrum of its national-security operations. From the start, they were looking for a modern standards-based cloud solution that could, when needed, leverage existing traditional video-collaboration environments.
DISA is a combat support agency. It provides, operates, and assures command and control, information sharing capabilities, and a globally accessible enterprise information infrastructure in direct support to United States troops, national leaders, and other mission and coalition partners.
conferencing minutes a year
A customized solution built on the VidyoWorks™ platform. The resulting fully operational Global Video Service (GVS) is now installed and working in DISA’s Defense Enterprise Computing Centers (DECCs) and has the capacity to scale, according to DISA, to support nearly half a billion conferencing minutes a year.
The GVS foundation and backbone is Vidyo’s H.264 SVC, JITC-certified software solution. The Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC) conducts testing of national security systems and IT hardware, software and components. JITC certification was an absolute requirement here.
GVS allows end-users to reliably connect, collaborate and make decisions with secure HD video on existing devices (conference room, PC and MAC) over any general purpose IP network (LAN/WAN, 3G/4G, radio, satellite).
The VidyoWorks platform and APIs leverage Scalable Video Coding (SVC) and Vidyo’s patented VidyoRouter™ to deliver solutions and cloud-based services over public networks at a price comparable to audio conferencing. The platform, from the very beginning, was designed to specifically handle applications and markets that demand scalability. Its SVC and Adaptive Video Layering™ (AVL) technology provide superior error resiliency and let VidyoWorks dynamically optimize the video quality for each endpoint on the fly — a key scalability concern and one that other lower-end solutions could not replicate.
For more on the underlying technology here, see this white paper.
“What I’m really impressed about this DoD news is that in all my “software-defined” research, this is the first massive rollout I’ve seen of this scale and magnitude. In the DoD, we are talking about thousands of secure, fixed end points, potentially millions of mobile end points, scaled to half a billion conferencing minutes a year. You won’t find anything like that yet in the SDN or SDS world in the enterprise.”
- Interoperability. The Vidyo-based GVS provides seamless compatibility between desktop, room systems, H.323 and SIP-based endpoints. The solution also fit perfectly with DISA’s previously announced plan to move the Department of Defense’s enterprise Video Teleconferencing Capabilities (VTC) from the Defense Information Systems Network (DISN) Video Services on circuit-switched ISDN to much more efficient and cost-effective IP services and networks.Overall, the platform integrates with the massive existing standards-based H.323 and SIP-based systems that were already deployed in DISA and is available on both the NIPR and SIPR networks. See GVS Capabilities View slide below:
- Security. This, of course, was crucial. The Vidyo platform needed to support half a billion video minutes a year on the largest, most secure networking environment in the world. It does – with the solution achieving Full Operational Capability (FOC) status in February 2015.As Patrick Moorhead wrote in a recent Forbes editorial on the major Vidyo win, FOC is not an acronym the DoD throws around lightly: “In my words,” said Moorhead, “versus hard to understand government lingo, this means that Vidyo has been rolled out to every DoD site and users can start using it – today.”Vidyo, the first company to deliver personal telepresence, announced that products from its Vidyo Conferencing suite met the DoD Joint Interoperability Test Command’s (JITC) requirements back in 2012 – making Vidyo the first software-based, telepresence-quality (720p30) desktop video conferencing solution to be JITC certified.This certification process included critical factors related to the Defense Switch Network (DSN) and IPV6 interoperability requirements. The products now appear on the DoD Unified Capabilities Approved Products List (UC APL).
- Mobility. GVS video collaboration and communication, with support for Android and iOS devices, is now readily available to boots on the ground and strategic personnel in the field.
- Ease of use. For direct troop support, reduced complexity for users was an important consideration for this solution. Single-click to connect conference initiations make it easy for users on the go and in high-stress situations to take advantage of the HD and secure video communications GVS offers.
- Much lower total cost of ownership than traditional video conferencing solutions. See DISA’s GVS overview doc for more here. Suffice to say, all the advantages of the Cloud-based networking paradigm are brought into play with the new GVS IP service.
- Advanced features. Some of the key requirements for the solution included multi-point content sharing, local layout controls and active speaker features. Check, check and check.
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