Cloud-Based Video Conferencing Cuts Ticket Price To TelemedicineSource: Nefsis Corporation
By Tom Toperczer, VP of marketing, Nefsis Corporation
This article explores a new product category, cloud-based video conferencing, how it works, various use cases, and some of the ways it can be used to cut the cost of telemedicine, remote clinic support, and behavioral health applications.
Most Healthcare Technology Online readers are familiar with video conferencing systems. Up until a few years ago these were predominantly installed-site, room-to-room systems typically found only in the largest healthcare establishments. With the growth of consumer video calling, it's not a big stretch of the imagination to wonder ‘Why can't easy online services provide secure, high-quality video too?' Today, they can. A new product category called ‘cloud-based video conferencing' addresses that question and brings to bear the benefits of cloud computing, including cost reduction and easier virtualized service management for IT staff.
First, let's briefly explore how cloud-based video conferencing works. In a healthcare or business setting, multiparty video conferencing applications typically require quite a bit of equipment. There are the video "end-points," and, for multiparty applications, a multichannel unit (MCU) or video-specific router; plus a collaboration server for anything more sophisticated than screen sharing; and a gateway server of some kind for desktop proxy/firewall traversal. Ultimately, all these hardware components are running software "under the cover." The cloud computing approach treats video input as a function of an off-the-shelf peripheral device, and renders all the software deep in these hardware components across a distributed, virtual conference server cloud.
The primary benefit of the cloud computing approach is that it eliminates the customer's cost of buying and implementing all the infrastructure components mention above. This can be a dramatic cost reduction, tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the application. Another benefit is the simplicity with which secure desktop reach and general video conferencing can be provided. A webcam, personal computer, and Internet access is all that is required. A secure video conferencing subscription can be activated in minutes. Now telemedicine is within the reach of any-sized healthcare organization, even the one-person psychiatric practice.
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