Aastra BluStar Ecosystem Increases Flexibility for Remote Workers

Aastra continues to enhance the video conferencing customer experience with Release 4.1 of the Aastra BluStar™ Application Server (BAS). The BAS, combined with Aastra BluStar endpoints, provides users an ecosystem of BluStar enabled devices and clients, including the award winning BluStar 8000i Desktop Media phone, BluStar for PC, BluStar for iPad and BluStar for iPhone.

Key highlights of BAS 4.1 include:

Supports the Aastra BluStar Ecosystem of devices & clients
BluStar 8000i Desktop Media Phone
BluStar for PC
BluStar for iPad
BluStar for iPhone
Forked account support, up to 5 devices or clients
Built-in VPN server supporting remote users with automatic configuration
Asymmetric channel support
Intelligent Bandwidth Management features
Automatic channel adaptation
Enhanced network performance alarms and real-time graphing of performance data

One of the most compelling new features for remote workers is the new integrated VPN capability for creating a secure tunnel between the BAS and a remote BluStar 8000i phone. Remote users face many challenges connecting to corporate networks, especially with feature-rich devices that utilise multiple video streams, connections to LDAP servers and have to negotiate the challenges of NAT, firewalls and media routing.

In release 4.1, the BAS has been augmented with an Open Standards based SSL VPN capability that can be administered via the BAS Web user interface without the need for complicated end user configuration changes such as dealing with certificates or forwarding ports on a third party router, making remote deployments easy to manage.

“The mainstream adoption of video conferencing by remote workers has been hampered in the past by technology hurdles such as complexity of implementation, achieving acceptable quality, and deployment security,” said Simon Beebe, Vice President of Product Line Management at Aastra. “With this latest release of the BluStar Application Server, Aastra has eliminated these barriers to successful integration of remote workers into the new collaborative enterprise.”

Another significant benefit of Release 4.1 is the enhanced bandwidth management capabilities. With multi-way video conferencing, the challenges and potential bandwidth consumption can increase significantly. The Bandwidth Manager (BWM) built into the BAS application has sophisticated features that can automatically control the per call bandwidth and what actions to take when limits are reached.

The BluStar 8000i and BAS 4.1 also support the ability to have asymmetrical connections, where the transmit rate can be different from the received rate. This is especially useful for remote users that typically have high downstream bandwidths and lower upstream bandwidths. Asymmetrical channels are utilised with peer-to-peer and multi-way BluStar 8000i conference calls.

“Demand for executive and personal videoconferencing endpoints has increased as users continue to look for more convenient and less expensive alternatives to conference room and boardroom meetings” explained Rob Arnold, Program Manager, Unified Communications and Collaboration at Frost & Sullivan. “The market is anxious for technology that combines enterprise-grade quality with ease-of-use for end users. As our society becomes increasingly mobile, the demand is also growing for solutions that allow mobile and remote workers to collaborate with colleagues in the office.”

Delivering true HD video conferencing and powerful collaboration capabilities, the Aastra BluStar solution enables lifelike video images to be delivered to the desktop. The BluStar Application Server is the heart of the BluStar standalone solution. The BAS server acts as the command centre for the solution. Open standards based, using SIP call control and H.264 video, the BAS application provides enhanced conferencing and collaboration capabilities such as multi-way video conferencing; PC desktop sharing (simultaneously to video calling); and, network wide bandwidth management. The advanced design of the BluStar solution avoids the need for costly MCUs, reducing overall costs and additionally avoiding quality impacting encoding/de-coding and associated increased latency when an MCU is deployed. The lifelike video and true high quality audio, combined with desktop sharing makes communicating remotely as natural as being face-to-face.

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