Thinking About Mirial Softphone

As you know, I’ve been on a journey to figure out how to get videoconferencing in the 21st century classrooms in our county. Last fall, on a recommendation from a blog commenter, I started experimenting with Mirial Softphone; a desktop VC tool.

Pros

I was initially interested in Mirial over Polycom PVX as a desktop stand alone tool for these reasons:

  • I didn’t have to make any network or firewall changes and it worked. So easy!!
  • It works on the Mac (Polycom PVX is PC only).

In addition,

  • It registered to my GK, and can do H.239.
  • It connected fine to my Polycom endpoints and Tandberg bridge.

Cons / Issues

  • One of the first issues I ran into was how to buy Mirial. With a school account it would be hard to buy something online from Europe that was in euros! I did, however, find a reseller in Michigan. I also found out that you have to buy it in packs of 3; and that it would be 3 Mac licenses or 3 PC licenses; but not a mix. This complicates things a bit.
  • I tried this out on three of our school networks. On two of them it worked great; no configuration needed for the firewall. On the third network we were stuck. Could not get it to work on the network without going through the hoops that we’d do for a full videoconference system (NAT, etc.).

Conclusions

I like Mirial for schools that are Mac based and are “on their own” – i.e. no regional videoconference support. I have connected to several schools who have a Polycom PVX “cart” with a laptop and projector, varying qualitys of web cam/PTZ camera, and a microphone. Mirial seems to be the best way that I’ve seen for doing this type of installation with a Mac.

Server Based Desktop VC

I’m just starting to learn about the advantages of server based desktop videoconferencing. The more I read; the more I realize that the cost is a huge factor. If we were to install standalone desktop VC (Polycom PVX or Mirial) in all the 21st century classrooms, the cost would climb very quickly. However, with server based desktop videoconferencing, many of the cost models are set up by concurrent videoconferences; NOT by the number of computers with the software installed. In places with regional videoconference support (like my area and my schools), it seems much more cost effective to go the server route. More on additional options (i.e. Vidyo and Polycom CMA Desktop) in future posts.

For now, though, one last tidbit from my email today: a Wainhouse Research Bulletin quote:

Milan-based Mirial released ClearSea, a new client-server desktop videoconferencing solution supporting both PC and Mac users as well as H.323 room systems. Features include a centralized directory, user group management, integration with Active Directory/LDAP, full remote configuration and upgrade of desktop clients. The port-based licensing and the possibility to download unlimited copies of the client makes the product extremely scalable without the need to worry about unused accounts. ClearSea provides the ability to connect the local (on-LAN) and remote (off-LAN) desktop users across their firewalls and to their SIP or H.323 legacy conferencing room systems, without the need of any external gateway or bridge. The product also embeds a video IVR to call users by extensions and an “autoscan” feature for finding existing room systems.

So, it seems clear that there are very interesting and promising developments in H323 desktop videoconferencing. Stay tuned for more reflections in future posts.

8 replies on “Thinking About Mirial Softphone”

  1. Hi,
    I just came across your post and was wondering if you found it hard to contact Mirial? I written 3 times for more info never received a reply.

    Pat.

  2. Tom Freeland says:

    Hi,

    I was wondering if you recall Mirial being a bit of a resource hog on the systems that you were testing. I tested multiple copies of Mirial as well and found that regardless of system specs, once the call was connected for more than 20-30 minutes, I would encounter significant sluggishness on the PC or Mac. Making the system rather slow to respond resulting in poor performance and execution of commands.
    Have you tried out Movi yet? I noticed from previous posts that you have a TMS server and it should be pretty easy for you to request a demo license. I would be interested in testing with you if you want me to provision a license for you off of my TMS.

    Tom
    Duke University

    • Janine Lim says:

      Tom – I don’t remember that. And I used it yesterday for 2 hours of test calls from home (snow day) and didn’t notice any slow down.

      I haven’t tried Movi yet on my own network, but I’ve tried it a few times on other people’s networks. At the moment I don’t have time to do more research until the summer. I’m pretty booked with VCs from now to the end of the school year. But I appreciate the offer! Maybe another blog reader will be interested and take you up on it!

  3. VTC Guy says:

    Mirial is sold through Spire Global, who was purchased recently by Stampede Presentation Products. You can purchse one client or a hardware based server for your network from them. They are the only US-based distributor of the product.

  4. Great explanation. keep sharing like this.

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