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Branch of IDGC of Volga, PJSC Ulyanovsk Distribution Networks

The activity of the open joint-stock company Interregional Distribution Grid Company of Volga (abbreviated as PJSC IDGC of Volga) covers 7 regions with a total area of ​​403.5 thousand square kilometers, where more than 12.5 million people live. The total length of power transmission lines exceeds 225 thousand km. The number of personnel is over 20 thousand people. The Ulyanovsk Distribution Networks branch operates on the territory of the Ulyanovsk Region with a total area of ​​37.2 thousand square meters. km, which is home to 1.38 million people. 

Project goals and essues 

The corporation uses a videoconferencing network to solve operational management problems. The organizations video conferebcing network was built on Cisco (Nanberg) TelePresence MCU 4205 (server part in the executive office of IDGC of Volga, PJSC) and SONY PCSA-DSB1S/2 terminal equipment (client part in the Ulianovskie RS branch). The lack of monitoring, redudancy of system components created the threat of disraption of video conferencing sessions at any time which was complitely inconsistent with the concept of building an uniterrapted IT infrastracture at the interprise. In addition the functional limitation of the existing equipment did not allow the dictorate of the Ulianovsk RS branch to conduct its own video communication sessions with subordinate structural divisions for operational work. Therefore it was desided to abandon the modernization of the existing equipment in the branch and create a completely new independant videoconferencing system fully integrated into the existing model of the videoconferencing system in IDGC of Volga, PJSC.

The main task that had to be solved during the implementation of the project was the creation of a universal and scalable videoconferencing with a high degree of integration with the equipment of well-known videoconferencing vendors in the existing infrastructure of telecommunications at the enterprise. At the same time the videoconferencing server equipment had to meet the high requirements for the guaranteed quality of video conference sessions.

Project implementation and results 

Initially the project provided for the purchase of a video conferencing system built on an HP Proliant DL 160G6 multipoint conference server with software for 20 connection points, a Tanberg Profile 52'' video terminale, C60 video codec abd a Precision HD1080p camera. But at the stage of project implementation as well as in the current political and economic situation in Russia and in the world the purchase of the planned equipment turened out to be problematic: with the sharp rise in the dollar/ruble exchange rate the cost of foreighn products increased almist one and a half to two times. With the estimated cost of the project unchanged the task appeared to revise the disign solutions for the main IT systems and the course of import substitution announced by the Russian government predetermined the search for a new solution among among Russian videoconferencing vendors.

Based on the monitoring of server video communication solution the customer desided to pay attention to video conferencing systems based on a software server for multipoint video conferencing. It turened out that with a slight decrease in the quality of communication the set of services remains the same and at the same time the cost of the system becomes significantly lower than similar hardware solutions.

The seach for a Russian manufacturer of a video conferencing software product on the revealed several companies that have ready-made solutions for creating full-fledged video conferencing systems based on a software server among which in the course of a subjectve comparative study leaders gradually emerged: this is the VideoMost software product of the Russian company SPIRIT, the software video server of Vinteo, Mind software solution.

Based on the results of testing demo versions of video conferencing systems provided by these companies the final choice was made in favor of the software product of Vinteo. The distinctive feature of this product is functional readiness and low technical requirements for client equipment and communication channels while maintaining the high quality of video conferencing srevices.

In addition it was Vinteo that presented a fully functional videoconferencing system under the H.323 protocol which is used in the existing VSK system of IDGC of Volga, PJSC. In the test mode it was possible to connect to the videoconferencing server of the management office of IDGC of Volga, PJSC without any problems. In the software products VideoMost and Mind this protocol was not available for use in 2015 so it was not possible to test it. In additional Vinteo's server platform reqirements turened out to be comparable to the characteristics of a mid-range server and the video quality and the available set of functionalities are equivalent to solutions from Polycom and Cisco unlike other tested solutions.

The load on the communication channels durig video conferencing sessions did not change significantly with sufficicient quality of voice and image transmission: video resolution 640x360, H.264 codec for video and G.729 for audio. During the testing all other IT services were available: the functioning of terminal connections of automated workstations to corporate information systems software technological complexes, The passage of e-mail, etc. was checked. no critical decrease in channel capacity was observed. 

Integrated use of the Vinteo videoconferencing system in the management of the Ulianovsk RS branch began in September 2016. The reliability and quqlity of video cobferencing services the new system was already confiremed on September 18, 2016 during the All-Russian Voting Day when reports on situation in the power of system of the regeons at the level of IDGC of Volga PJSC and ROSSETI PJSC were carried out by video conferencing around the clock for two days.

In addition the solution of the Russian company Vinteo provides Ulyanovsk RS with additional capabilities such as support for CCTV cameras which can now be connected to a video session of enterprise security management directly, the ability to integrate with any codec and video conferencing software client, the ability to record video sessions of selectores, The ability to integrate with departamental PBX and VoIP voice gatewase and much more for the future development. 


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