Video Conferencing on the iPad, iPhone and Android Tablets and Smartphones

While VidyoMobile makes it possible to participate in unbelievably high quality multi-party video conferences over the broadband mobile network while you’re barreling down the highway, only do so from the passenger seat! Texting while driving has become a significant road hazard and is responsible for countless accidents—and texting has very limited engagement.  Just imagine how much more difficult it would be to concentrate on driving if you had a natural HD video interaction that made it feel like the participants were sitting in the car with you.

But there are so many other “safe” ways to use VidyoMobile that improves your flexibility to meet people face-to-face, and independently of whether the “far-end” participants are using mobile devices, laptop or desktop computers, SVC or H.323 appliance based room systems, or immersive telepresence systems. Assuming the iPad2 as the platform (and it really is a video conferencing endpoint in tablet clothing), there are three compelling modalities for the use of VidyoMobile.

Desktop Video Phone

VidyoMobile on a docked iPad 2 joining an HD multipoint video conference at 720p with 4 other laptops. (Note: This picture has not been photoshopped in any way.)

One of the nice things about using popular commercially available devices is ready access to low cost and very cool peripherals. Using an off-the-shelf speaker dock, VidyoMobile can turn your iPad2 into a very handy desktop video phone with a slim foot print.  This enables the user to have a stable hands-free experience with rich audio.  Since VidyoMobile supports shared content viewing and the neat zoom in/ zoom out pinch gestures provided by iOS, the collaborative experience is compelling.  And of course, when you are not VidyoConferencing, you can use it to add music to your work environment.

Mobile Access

VidyoMobile on Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 viewing a shared PowerPoint presentation while joining a multipoint video conference with 4 other laptops. (Note: This picture has not been photoshopped in any way.)

Not all mobility happens in cars.  Could be that a doctor wants to walk down the hall to pick up lab results, in which case she could just pull the VidyoMobile device off of the dock and take the conference with her.  Since VidyoMobile on the iPad2 offers the ability to switch between front and rear facing cameras, mobility also means delivering “see what I see” capability into a conference. For a customer support specialist who is showing an engineer in a remote lab a problem on customer site, a process engineer who wants to show the design house a manufacturability issue on the production line, or a biologist in the field showing a rare plant life to a life sciences class half way around the world, this is mobility at its best.  Of course, mobility may also mean face to face interaction from the back of a cab, on board a train or in an airport.

Ad-hoc Room System

VidyoMobile on iPad 2 joining an HD multipoint video conference at 720p with 4 other laptops and a room system. (Note: This picture has not been photoshopped in any way.)

Did you know that there is an optional HDMI dongle for the iPad2?  Even better, the dongle also supports simultaneous connection to power.  So now the same device that you are able to use in a dock as a desktop video phone, and then undock and continue to use in-transit, can now connect to a large screen 1080P display when you get to your destination so that multiple people can participate in the conference from the same location as the VidyoMobile device.  While the conference room is certainly a popular application, just image taking a meeting or connecting with friends and family from your couch with the conference on your living room TV.

So remember, even though VidyoMobile simplifies the user experience to a screen tap to enter a conference with no devices to configure or manage, please don’t video conference while behind the wheel of a car.  There are plenty of other safe and productive ways and opportunities to use VidyoMobile. Besides, with the ability to meet face-to-face with anyone, anytime, from anywhere, you’ll have less reason to be behind the wheel of your car in the first place.

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More info:

- VidyoMobile demonstration on iPad 2: View on YouTube.
- Full VidyoMobile press release: “Vidyo HD Multipoint Video Conferencing App for iPad2, iPhone Available Now”

Latency Matters

Sometimes people use the expression “timing is everything” very loosely, but when it comes to real time video communication, this colloquialism rings true. It is both irritating and frustrating when you are trying to have a meaningful exchange with someone and you end up with pregnant pauses between the time that you say something and the other end receives it. The results: frequent air-time collisions and lip sync so bad you feel like you’re conversing with a ventriloquist. This delay between transmit and receive is known as latency.

Latency has long been one of the most significant factors inhibiting video conferencing adoption. Those who struggled through it, did so for years because there were no alternatives. There are several contributing factors to the “glass to glass” latency in a video conferencing system, including network traversal, endpoint encode and decode, and, the greatest source of latency, the transcoding MCU. Now, however, with the arrival of a new class of solutions that have eliminated the need for transcoding, including Vidyo’s personal telepresence, end users have options and are beginning to demand more natural interactions from their visual communications experiences.

At the Visual Communications Industry Group’s first annual conference in Ft. Lauderdale, FL this week, Bob Dixon of the Ohio Academic Resources Network and Ben Fineman of Internet 2 hosted a session on Desktop Collaboration Tools. Vidyo and three other vendors were invited to participate in the session to provide a live demonstration of their desktop solution, have a couple customers join via their tool to talk about their use cases, and give a brief presentation regarding the solution.

Tandberg withdrew from the event citing that they wouldn’t have anyone in the area to do it… When Polycom gave their demonstration and presentation. Latency. Like Tandberg their dependency on the transcoding MCU for multipoint conferences puts them at a disadvantage in terms of performance.

Users in the audience, after suffering through the latency issue for years, were quick to identify it and were effectively demanding a higher quality solution. In short, they were looking for Vidyo. Happily, they found us on the show floor and in our presentation on scaling video conferencing deployments. And soon, they’ll find us in their network, where their MCU used to be.

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Related Links:

- Visual Communications Industry Group’s Website
- Vidyo’s YouTube Channel
- The International Business Time’s Article: Cisco Home Telepresence Rumors Fuel Speculation, Doubt

Make IT Personal

If your life is anything like mine, you may find yourself longing for a personal assistant.  Someone who can off load mundane tasks that consume time but aren’t core to your daily objectives.  Of course such a luxury is not in most of our household budgets, but what if your smart phone were truly smart enough to perform this role?

VidyoMobile Technology Demonstration on Samsung Galaxy, iPad and iPhone 4

VidyoMobile Technology Demonstration on Samsung Galaxy, iPad and iPhone 4

Justin Rattner’s keynote address in the final day of the Intel Developer’s Forum focused on context computing – making the machine more aware of the user’s surroundings so that it could best provide information and services without being specifically asked to do so.  One application that is being co-developed between Intel and Fodor enables a hand held travel companion to proactively identify nearby points of interest, restaurants, and even make recommendations with regard to appropriate attire based upon weather conditions.  The device utilizes a variety of “hard” (accelerometer, GPS, etc.) and “soft” (web searches, calendar, etc.) sensors to learn about the user’s behavior, tastes and preferences such that the device become better at anticipating the user’s interests over time.

This technology is intriguing with a great many applications that can enhance the user’s quality of life, but as is the case with most behavior altering technologies, there is a cost. Increasingly, our interactions during the course of the day are with machines, lacking a certain critical element – the human element.  For example, if I were touring a vacation spot and didn’t have a device to tell me where to eat, I would stop to ask one of the locals where the best restaurants are in town. In doing so, I may engage in conversation and learn something new about the area and satisfy my basic human need for interaction with other people.

But perhaps there is a compromise.  What if my smart phone could be my personal assistant and off load mundane tasks but then connect me face to face with other people when I am ready for human interaction?  This is the beauty of VidyoMobile – making sure that your personal assistant remains… well… personal.

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Related Links:

- VidyoMobile Demonstration
- BusinessWeek Article: Virtual Meetings for Real-World Budgets
- TechCrunch Article: Vidyo Bets On The iPad And iPhone for the Future of Videoconfering
- PC Mag’s Article:  Video Telephony: The Next Big Thing. Again.