Evaluating AVer's New EVC130P Video Conferencing Endpoint
Apr 18, 2014
As a unified communications and collaboration (UCC) analyst, I see, demo and trial as many end-user applications as possible. One of my recent experiences was a six-week stint with EVC130P, AVer’s newest hardware -based video conferencing endpoint.
EVC130P is designed as a cost-effective, yet flexible and full-featured video conferencing endpoint. To that end, it is intended for SMBs upgrading from Web conferencing to video conferencing, enterprises extending professional -grade video conferencing to more meeting rooms, and universities adding endpoints to more classrooms. It is advertised as delivering the right level of feature functionality without complicating usage. My goal was to put those claims to the test.
My EVC130P kit arrived professionally packed with components marked for easy identification. I don’t consider myself very technical, but I’ve installed a number of video conferencing systems (and I could program a VCR back in the day). Initial EVC130P set up was no trouble; with color-coded cables and ports, and the quick installation guide, it was hooked up in less than 15 minutes.
The remote-driven user interface is similar to other solutions I’ve used. Due to my experience with current alternatives I wasn’t exactly blown away, but the EVC130P user interface is still a huge improvement over many mundane legacy GUIs that are still in use. The main menu is a vertical arrangement of icon-based options (Call History, Phonebook, Dial, Call and Settings). Within the main Settings menu are sub-menus for General Settings, Network and Audio/Video – all of which are easy to navigate and understand. The remote control is good for surfing the menus and selecting defined options. However, I’m not a big fan of typing addresses with any remote because it can be cumbersome and time-consuming. The entire EVC130P menu is also accessible via a Web portal that I used for dialing new SIP, H.323 and URI addresses. Once entered, addresses are easily added to my Phonebook via either the remote or portal.
Over several weeks, most of my EVC130P sessions were conducted at a call quality of 512k and 1024k transmit/receive bandwidth. For the most part, audio and video quality was sharp with no noticeable echo, freeze-framing or pixilation. Video degradation issues not attributed to the EVC130P appeared to stem from use of third-party bridging, transcoding, gateway and other services, which should be a consideration for customers implementing multi-vendor video conferencing solutions.
High-quality video is driven by EVC130P’s 16X Optical PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) camera with up to 1080P resolution. While it is a lot of horsepower for my small office, it should deliver flexibility and power needed for larger offices, conference rooms and classrooms, particularly with its ability to focus on people in audience -style settings or seated around a table via far-end and near-end control with close-up or wide views.
The system also supports multiple camera pre-sets to ensure the appropriate view is automatically enabled for different participant and room configurations, rather than manually adjusting the camera. While camera pre-sets are available with other solutions, the AVer 16X Optical PTZ camera’s overall features outclass most alternatives at this price point, including other modular systems as well as many popular all-in-one executive video conferencing endpoints.
Shared content has the same fine clarity as live video feeds. The EVC130P codec connects to PCs/Macs with VGA connections. Sharing is activated by the remote’s intuitive "Presentation" button. For fancier set-ups than my small office, dual monitors are also supported. For recording, Aver built a USB port into the front of the codec, allowing users to simply insert a thumb drive and hit "record" on their remote. Multiple video streams including live, streamed and content (presentations, still shots, etc.) are saved to the USB drive. AVer’s downloadable PC software converts recorded files to formats such as Quick Time Pro for editing, playback and archiving. The recording process is easy, as is offline file playback directly from the USB drive. However, sharing recorded files in live calls requires them to be converted and played back from a PC. The format conversion process adds extra steps compared to other video content management solutions I’ve used. It would be really handy to share content directly from the USB drive during live calls, but I can see its usefulness when playing content for local audiences or other on-demand use cases.
EVC130P has an option to network test call-in and call-out functions, and perform a port scan. I had no issues upon set-up, but the test seems a good preemptive measure to diagnose and solve potential problems. Calls I made were to SIP, H.323 and URI extensions. For practical purposes there shouldn’t be differences in dialing procedures, and there were none with EVC130P. There were also few, if any, differences in call quality, particularly with peer-to-peer connections.
The EVC130P performs well in P2P calls, but also connects to major third-party cloud services such as Blue Jeans and StarLeaf. While it is not uncommon to experience occasional degraded live video and content resolution, as well as minor audio latency/lip sync issues with cloud services, the EVC130P performed as good as, or better than, other room-based systems tested under these conditions. These issues did occur minimally with the EVC130P; however, it was nothing that ruined the experience. Based on overall testing, it’s assumed that the degraded quality was due to cloud service transcoding, switching, gateway, or other functional issues not related to the AVer solution. The overall experience was above average, regardless of whether it was a P2P or cloud-based connection.
EVC130P works with all standards-based SIP and H.323 equipment and services, as well as AVer’s broader EVC and HVC endpoint and MCU portfolio, while delivering a competitive feature set in each scenario. With a list price of $2,499, an unmatched three-year warranty, first-year advance replacement, and free lifetime support, EVC130P should be considered by any customer investing in video conferencing endpoints, whether for the first time or to expand their existing solutions.
Sixteen + years of experience in enterprise communications markets. Particular expertise in: Competitive and market intelligence, Market trend analysis and forecasting, Solutions development, marketing, sales and service support strategies.