Vidyo Adds Videoconferencing For iPad, iPhone 4S - InformationWeek

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Government // Mobile & Wireless

Vidyo Adds Videoconferencing For iPad, iPhone 4S

Platform delivers high-definition videoconferencing to a variety of endpoints, including room-based systems, desktops, and portable devices.

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Vidyo, a company whose technology connects disparate video endpoints via corporate networks and the Internet, announced support Thursday for its VidyoMobile offering on Apple's iPad2, iPhone 4S, and the iPod Touch. An application to run natively on those devices is available for download in Apple's App Store. In addition, a beta version of VidyoMobile for Google Android devices is also available, while a general availability version is expected by the end of November.

The additions enhance the capabilities of the Vidyo platform, which delivers high-definition videoconferencing images to a variety of endpoints, including room-based systems, desktops, and portable devices. Vidyo deploys a video router on a network that delivers HD images but does not require the multipoint control units (MCUs) of bigger systems such as as Polycom’s or an expensive high QoS network of the Cisco TelePresence technology.

Vidyo also identified eight videoconference providers and one telecommunications carrier globally that will be using Vidyo's technology. Vidyo's technology makes it a videoconferencing infrastructure provider as opposed to service providers such as Cisco Systems, Polycom, and the Logitech LifeSize system, among others.

[Everyone knows videoconferencing saves on travel budgets. But find out 4 Uses For Videoconferencing Beyond Cutting Costs.]

In June, Vidyo introduced VidyoPanorama, a full blown telepresence system that supports between 3 and 20 screens and delivers [email protected], which Vidyo says is higher resolution than any Cisco telepresence system.

In a demonstration of its technology, Vidyo showed how an iPad2 can display images of up to four participants in a videoconference call. The iPad can also be connected via an HDMI cable to a TV-sized monitor that can display up to nine images at once. The conference can be controlled by the host to play a video, a PowerPoint presentation, document, or other media commonly used in a unified communications (UC) platform. Also as part of the demo, six people joined the call from different locations, some from videoconference rooms, others from desktop systems, yet their images were all in HD.

"All of these endpoints are connected into this call by a common infrastructure ... which means they are all connected natively together without any latency generation at the core of the network," said Mark Noble, director of product marketing.

Vidyo adjusts the video resolution and frame rate as needed for the capabilities of the endpoint using Vidyo's patented Adaptive Video Layering (AVL) technology, which is based on the industry standard H.264 scalable video coding (SVC) technology.

Vidyo seeks to distinguish itself from competitors whose systems use an MCU to do the video processing, which can introduce latency and other glitches that hamper the video experience. Also, MCUs are expensive and have other limitations, said Young-Sae Song, VP of product marketing at Vidyo.

"These [MCU] hardware devices have a finite capacity of 160 video streams. You can't do 161. If you want to add capacity you need another MCU," he said. An MCU can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and fills a 26 rack unit (RU) footprint in a data center, versus the Vidyo router's 1 RU size.

While Vidyo tries to differentiate its offering from that of competitors, the videoconferencing space is a dynamic market, which a number of providers approach in different ways, said Andrew Davis, co-founder and research analyst at Wainhouse Research.

There are widely used webconferencing systems such as Cisco's WebEx and Citrix's GoToMeeting that have added videoconferencing capabilities to their platforms, Davis said. Citrix added video to its webconferencing via a free download. In addition, videoconferencing vendors such as Tandberg (now part of Cisco), Polycom, Avistar, and others have added data collaboration features to their offerings, another component of a UC system.

Vidyo's strategy is to grow the number of people within an organization who can participate in videoconferences, especially with today's more widely distributed workforce, added Irwin Lazar, VP and service director at Nemertes Research.

"Their goal is to enable companies to easily deploy video to everyone. They want to foster video availability to every desktop," Lazar said. "For what it would cost you to equip a few high-end rooms, you can equip a much larger number of desktops."

Unified communications isn't like other online apps. Get the infrastructure right or risk some major hang-ups. Read all about it in the new all-digital InformationWeek supplement. Download it now. (Free with registration.)

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