HEAD: Optivision puts remote video streaming network management on the Map

Optivision Inc. is trying to see farther than ever before. The company has added another component to its open-standards streaming video architecture: LiveMap.

LiveMap is remote control and management software for Optivision’s streaming video architecture and network-attached systems. Michael Liccardo, president and CEO of Palo Alto, Calif.-based Optivision, said LiveMap allows users to take advantage of high-quality video streaming on their Web sites.

“LiveMap provides more control of various parameters to send a RealTime stream over a network,” he said. “It allows users to expand their application to use higher-quality kinds of video.”

LiveMap supports the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) standard and it is interoperable with Optivision’s network-attached NACTM-3000 streaming MPEG video-over-IP encoder and NACTM-4000 decoder products, as well as the VS-PRO systems for WAN-based video applications.

“This program is designed to be network-centric,” Liccardo said. “We wanted to give IS managers the look and feel of a GUI (graphical user interface) that they’re used to while providing them with all the functionality they need to manage their network. It can run as a standalone on a desktop PC.”

One appealing element of LiveMap is, with virtually no training, network managers and IT professionals can use the software’s GUI to remotely configure all video, audio and network streaming video applications, according to Optivision. Each network attached video codec appears as a unique icon on the GUI with a Windows-like file display of all streaming video network components. LiveMap is designed for installation as a standalone application on a network-attached remote personal computer running Windows NT/98/95.

“Network managers as a whole need more tools to help them manage their distributed appliances,” said Christine Perey, president of Perey Research & Consulting in Placerville, Calif. “It’s good to have open standard architecture but [Optivision] hasn’t tried to break the industry norm with this application. It is narrowly focused on Optivision’s products. It’ll be much easier when a network manager can use one tool to manage network resources.”

Noting the software was designed to deliver high performance without implementation and maintenance headaches, Liccardo said Optivision’s LiveMap offering is unique to the market.

“LiveMap is based on the SNMP standard,” he said. “[Video streaming is] still a young market and we believe we have a lead here. It can support streaming video over IP or Ethernet. It’s one of four elements that allows true, high quality video streaming.”

Bob Massick is a consultant for AT&T Laboratories in New York City, whose offices embraced LiveMap last October as a solution for its video/audio streaming requirements.

“LiveMap allows you to control the streams and the settings, and the remote option is great,” Massick said. “We’ve been developing an ability to stream broadcast quality TV video over four ISDN circuits in a cost-effective way. We’ve been working with Optivision for over a year and they are optimized for this particular solution.”

LiveMap is priced at US$3,995 per single-seat license.