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November 2, 1999

Accord Launches Open API for Videoconferencing Market

By CBR Staff Writer

Accord Telecommunications, Inc, the manufacturer of multi-point control units (MCUs) for the videoconferencing market, is launching an open applications programming interface (API), in a bid to capture market share and generally speed the adoption of the technology.

Atlanta, Georgia-based Accord, which will soon be replacing the ‘Telecommunications’ in its name with ‘Networks’, will be demonstrating the new Accord Real-Time Enabling Network Architecture (ARENA) at this week’s Telecon tradeshow, in Anaheim, California. It will also be unveiling two products within ARENA, namely ‘applications or parts of the engine developed by us,’ explained Philip Keenan, senior VP for worldwide sales and marketing at the company.

The first of these products is a Virtual Conferencing Toolkit, which Keenan described as a set of tools to provide further services surrounding the basic videoconferencing offering, such as online booking and a greeting screen with a guide through the process. It also enables single-number dialling for each conference, automatic termination of visual sessions (so that resources need not stay allocated for a given time, as currently happens), and the possibility of supporting an large number of sites with a single chat room.

The other product is an H.323 module for Accord’s flagship MCU, the MGC-100, which enables it to support visual communications over the internet protocol. ‘As a result, we can now connect to ISDN (via the H.320 standard), ATM (via H.321) and IP,’ he explained.

‘The engine plus the API makes up ARENA, for which we’re already developing our own applications, but we’re making the API available for service providers to develop their own,’ said Keenan. He explained that the target markets are traditional providers of videoconferencing services and ‘a new generation of partners such as internet service providers with video chat rooms’.

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