By PR Newswire

HONG KONG — Businesses can now take collaboration to a new level through Pacnet Virtual Conferencing (VC) Plus, a product under its Unified Communications portfolio which enables high definition multi-party video conferencing over the Internet, without the need for huge dedicated bandwidth requirements and costly equipment.

“As tighter budgets and building solid business continuity plans become a higher priority for business owners, many are now recognizing the benefits of using the Internet for video conferencing and collaboration to help them meet these pressing needs. Pacnet VC Plus is targeted at providing businesses easy access to high quality, high definition video conferencing and virtual meeting services, without the traditional need for expensive dedicated video conferencing rooms, equipment and big bandwidth pipes,” said Wilfred Kwan, Chief Technology Officer of Pacnet.

The growing demand for web collaboration is reflected in the latest research from Frost & Sullivan, which valued the global web collaboration market at $1.5 billion in 2008, and has forecast the market to reach $4.5 billion by 2014 (1).

“The demand for web collaboration and desktop video is growing at a rapid pace, especially in Asia Pacific,” said Frost & Sullivan industry analyst Pranabesh Nath. “Web collaboration solutions with integrated desktop video make a stronger impact because they enable a more natural collaboration experience, plus they are accessible to a wider employee base compared to room-based video conferencing products. There is a strong preference in Asia Pacific for desktop video collaboration and we expect this trend to eventually spread to other parts of the world,” he added.

“With the H1N1 influenza pandemic having heightened awareness for the need for business continuity planning (BCP), the video conferencing and collaboration features of Pacnet VC Plus are a perfect fit for the needs of any organization's business continuity strategy,” added Mr Kwan. “Also, by deploying Pacnet VC Plus, they stand to reap many productivity benefits by simply encouraging more collaboration and communication with geographically dispersed team members and partners, not to mention benefit from the cost and time savings from the reduction in travel.”

“At the heart of Pacnet VC Plus is a proprietary video compression technology which has much lower bandwidth requirements than a standard MPEG 4 or H.264 video codec. This allows Pacnet VC Plus to need just 1 Mbps of bandwidth per high definition video stream, and if more bandwidth is available, it can scale up to allow up to 16 concurrent users to meet in a virtual room,” said John Currie, Vice President of Product Management at Pacnet.

Pacnet VC Plus also comes with a host of features to provide a comprehensive virtual meeting environment. Users can choose to instant message one another, share files and applications such as slides or show whatever is on their computer desktop, as well as “write” on an interactive whiteboard. Additionally, the whole meeting can be recorded, so as to be shared with others or stored for compliance requirements.

Deploying Pacnet VC Plus is quick and easy, as it simply involves downloading a small file which will install the VC Plus software provided by Pacnet onto users' computers. No special, dedicated hardware is required as it will work with standard video peripherals including popular external webcams or built-in notebook webcams.

“Pacnet VC Plus is also backed by Pacnet's extensive global Internet backbone and Pacnet's full ownership of EAC-C2C, the Asia Pacific region's leading submarine cable network,” added Mr Currie. “With our robust Internet backbone and a full suite of connectivity solutions, we provide a one-stop shop solution to enable our Pacnet VC Plus customers with business-grade Internet access to ensure a truly high quality collaboration experience.”

Pacnet VC Plus is currently available in Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong, and will be rolled out across all major markets in Asia by the end of 2009.