Vidyo Raises $20 Million to Address Visual Communication in “Internet of Things”

Today Vidyo announced a $20 million round of financing to accelerate the company’s efforts to deliver visual communication solutions that address the explosion in the “connected world” as millions of new devices, appliances, services, platforms and workflow/business processes connect businesses and individuals online at work, at home, in their car or through wearables.

 

VidyoWorks-Addressing-IoT[4]

 

Every day there are announcements of new connected solutions or applications in healthcare, banking, government or enterprise solutions visually connecting people at work. Vidyo makes it possible today to integrate visual communication into these applications, and many others, anywhere, using commodity devices that exist today and will support new applications as they emerge. While the focus of the ‘Internet of Things’ up until now has been on machine-to-machine applications, we are seeing strong demand to visually connect people into workflows for person-to-person applications in the workplace, on the road or at home, all federated with the Internet of Things. We recently spoke with Don Clark from The Wall Street Journal about our vision of how Vidyo will power new applications in the Internet of Things.

Vidyo is powering integrated visual communication in large-scale online banking, healthcare, government and enterprise applications. Vidyo technology is currently deployed in individual networks with capacity exceeding hundred of millions of minutes per year, in other networks exceeding 1,200 VidyoRoomTM systems, and in new form factors and applications such as hospital beds and gaming systems. Vidyo works over public networks and can address the massive scale required for IoT applications, and can be integrated into a company’s workflow or business processes, at the right quality and price point. Click here to learn more about integrating visual communications into any device, any network or any application.

 

Ofer Shapiro, Vidyo co-founder and CEO, has been an innovative force at the heart of major architectural transformations in the videoconferencing industry since 1996. He was integrally involved in the development of the H.323 specification and the first IP based multi-point control unit architecture and gatekeepers, developed the use of H.264 Scalable Video Coding (SVC) for video conferencing, and led the development of a new media relay based architecture- the VidyoRouter. Ofer is a named inventor on 40 issued and 28 pending patent families. He was named a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, and received the Wall Street Journal Innovation Award for Disruption in the category of Internet, Networking and Broadband. 

 

Welcome Eran Westman!

Eran Westman Chief Revenue Officer VidyoI want to introduce you to a new face on the Vidyo management team. Please join me in welcoming Eran Westman, Chief Revenue Officer who will lead Vidyo’s global sales and support organization as the company accelerates its growth. Eran has more than 20 years of sales leadership experience and a proven track record of leading sales organizations to the next level of growth. He has lived and built organizations in Europe, Asia, Latin American, Africa and North Americas. He has an extensive network of partners and tier 1 service providers around the world, and has partnered with customers in telecom, healthcare, government, education, mining and utilities to support them through transitions to disruptive technologies.

Prior to joining Vidyo, Eran served as EVP of Global Business at Ceragon Networks (NASDAQ: CRTN), the largest independent supplier of wireless backhaul systems. Eran joined Ceragon as one of the first 15 employees when the company was pre-revenue and served in a variety of executive sales positions over his tenure.  He built and led a global organization of over 800 people in over 50 offices to deliver $360M in annual revenue as a publicly traded company.  Eran served as President of Asia Pacific and built the organization from a single satellite office to a market leader with an organization of over 200 people including many deep, multi-year customer relationships and led sales for all of EMEA earlier in his career.

Eran brings a diverse background to Vidyo and will be instrumental in the next phase of Vidyo’s growth.  He lives in NYC with his wife and 3 children and will be making the 10 minute drive from the George Washington bridge to Vidyo’s office in Hackensack, NJ.  Eran enjoys golfing, skiing, and running.  If you haven’t met him yet I’m sure you will soon.

 

Ofer Shapiro, Vidyo co-founder and CEO, has been an innovative force at the heart of major architectural transformations in the videoconferencing industry since 1996. He was integrally involved in the development of the H.323 specification and the first IP based multi-point control unit architecture and gatekeepers, developed the use of H.264 Scalable Video Coding (SVC) for video conferencing, and led the development of a new media relay based architecture- the VidyoRouter. Ofer is a named inventor on 40 issued and 28 pending patent families. He was named a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, and received the Wall Street Journal Innovation Award for Disruption in the category of Internet, Networking and Broadband. 

 

 

VidyoH2O for Google+ Hangouts is a WebRTC Product

In August of 2013, Vidyo announced that we were developing a Scalable Video Coding (SVC) extension for VP9 and WebRTC. Today we are announcing a software-based interoperability solution called VidyoH2O™ for Google+ Hangouts that connects existing business voice and video solutions to Google+ Hangout sessions. This is the first of an expected series of innovative solutions resulting from the collaboration with Google.

VidyoH2O for Google+ Hangouts will extend usability for Google+ Hangouts users by allowing connectivity with H.323/SIP video conferencing and IP PBX systems from Avaya, Cisco, Lifesize, Polycom and Vidyo, and will be offered on a subscription basis both on-prem and as a cloud-hosted offering. “H2O” is short for “Hangouts 2 Others” and enables Hangouts interoperability with installed enterprise solutions.

Vidyo H2O Graphic[1]

 

Let me explain how VidyoH2O for Google+ Hangouts fits into our strategy:

Vidyo’s patented VidyoRouterleverages Scalable Video Coding (SVC), which is recognized by most industry players as the way to deliver a great video conferencing experience over the Internet. The VidyoRouter enables better error resilience and allows an optimized experience for multi-user video calls. WebRTC provides the ability to participate in video calls without a separate client or plug-in installation. With a scalable extension WebRTC will give Web developers who are using the VidyoRouter access to even better video quality coupled with the no-install advantage.

As Alex, our chief scientist, wrote in an earlier blog post, an inherent benefit of the WebRTC architecture and our collaboration with Google, is that developers will be able to use the scalable coding extensions of VP9 without significant changes to their client code and, additionally, benefit from the power of the VidyoRouter to drive high quality novel applications at large enterprise and service provider scale.  Chrome is expected to be the first browser to support the scalable version of WebRTC.

WebRTC Collaboration with Google_CROP

For many years the quality of video communications was not in line with user expectations and the high cost to deploy and manage these solutions resulted in limited deployments and form factors, low usage and highly structured interactions. The VidyoRouter architecture changed this paradigm with its ability to deliver easy to use, reservation-less, HD multiparty video calls over the Internet with the collaboration features of Web conferencing, all for the price of a phone call.

The VidyoWorks platform has become the platform of choice for organizations that want to achieve scale, quality, and custom/integrated solutions.  WebRTC adds a lot of great connectivity options in these environments.  VidyoH2O for Google+ Hangouts is the first in a line of products that will enable the inclusion of WebRTC in the Vidyo environment.

Imagine the applications that can be developed to offer an affordable, high-quality human interaction in a world in which the “Internet of Things” is central to all of our lives.

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Many of the products and features described herein remain in varying stages of development and will be offered on a when-and-if available basis. The product plans, pricing, specifications, and descriptions are provided for information only and are subject to change without notice, and are provided without warranty of any kind, express or implied. Vidyo reserves the right to modify future product plans at any time.

 

 

Ofer Shapiro, Vidyo co-founder and CEO, has been an innovative force at the heart of major architectural transformations in the videoconferencing industry since 1996. He was integrally involved in the development of the H.323 specification and the first IP based multi-point control unit architecture and gatekeepers, developed the use of H.264 Scalable Video Coding (SVC) for video conferencing, and led the development of a new media relay based architecture- the VidyoRouter. Ofer is a named inventor on 40 issued and 28 pending patent families. He was named a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, and received the Wall Street Journal Innovation Award for Disruption in the category of Internet, Networking and Broadband. 

 

 

 

MPEG LA Shares License Terms for HEVC (H.265)

VidyoRouter Graphic

Vidyo is proud to have played a role in establishing the license terms for the High Efficiency Video Coding Standard (HEVC, also known as H.265), as announced by MPEG LA last week.  According to MPEG LA’s January 16 press release, the cooperation of patent owners to reach common ground was key in making a joint patent license available for the convenience of HEVC adopters.  As work continues on evaluating patents for essentiality and concluding terms in final agreements, the license is currently supported by 25 prospective HEVC essential patent holders including top companies such as Apple, Cisco, LG Electronics, Siemens and others.

As our inclusion in this notable group of “prospective essential patent holders” reflects, Vidyo has contributed to the HEVC standard from the very beginning. Vidyo made multiple contributions to the standard, with a lead role in the development of the HEVC scalable extension, called SHVC, scheduled for technical completion July 2014. To date, Vidyo has made 58 contributions towards the development of HEVC and its SHVC extension.

The SHVC extension is the HEVC parallel of H.264’s Annex G (SVC), and with it, our VidyoRouter™ technology will be able to achieve the same kind of high performance with HEVC that our customers previously experienced with H.264.   Vidyo has been actively involved in MPEG standards for a number of years.  Our involvement with MPEG LA was first announced when we licensed our H.264 Annex G (SVC) Essential Patent to the MPEG-LA patent pool in November of 2012.

We are proud to have a team of innovators who are world-class technologists driving disruption to benefit customers. Vidyo currently holds 47 patents with 68 patent families pending with 10 patents and 15 patent families that may read on the HEVC specification and its forthcoming scalable extension.  With such technological talent, we have enabled the industry’s best video communication applications on the Internet and on mobile.

Since we launched the company in 2008, our unique architecture has eliminated the need for transcoding and enabled ‘technology transparency,’ providing an experience uninterrupted by performance flaws arising from issues like network reliability, MCU driven latency, or end-point capabilities. Most importantly, our VidyoRouter technology implementation will not require a hardware upgrade when the time comes to roll out new standards such as HEVC or the upcoming WebRTC with scalable VP9, which we announced with Google last year. We enthusiastically welcome new standards that create opportunities for interoperability and wide adoption, and that support industry innovation.

This is an affirmation of our proven technological expertise and our commitment to open standards and we are excited at the prospects.

 

Ofer Shapiro, Vidyo co-founder and CEO, has been an innovative force at the heart of major architectural transformations in the videoconferencing industry since 1996. He was integrally involved in the development of the H.323 specification and the first IP based multi-point control unit architecture and gatekeepers, developed the use of H.264 Scalable Video Coding (SVC) for video conferencing, and led the development of a new media relay based architecture- the VidyoRouter. Ofer is a named inventor on 40 issued and 28 pending patent families. He was named a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, and received the Wall Street Journal Innovation Award for Disruption in the category of Internet, Networking and Broadband. 

 

 

 

Vidyo Sets Benchmarks: Leads Video Conferencing Market Trends and Industry Follows Suit

From the time we unveiled our first product in 2008, Vidyo has been noted as an innovation leader in video communications and collaboration. We have continued to advance the industry and repeatedly deliver on our promise to provide superior video conferencing solutions for our customers and partners. Again and again, we demonstrate new and innovative ways to bring video conferencing to the masses through our patented technology, based on scalable video coding (SVC).

Today it is clear that the new paradigm introduced by Vidyo years ago ultimately caused a shift in the video communications market. More and more large-scale Vidyo deployments are being realized — such as CERN’s, hosting thousands of Vidyo meetings a month or Google Hangouts, servicing tens of millions of users. Market leaders and opinion makers who may have once been skeptical are now acknowledging that Vidyo really HAS changed the game. Vidyo set the bar in video communications and the value proposition that we articulated so many years ago has now become the precedent for those looking to invest in a future-proof, scalable video conferencing solution.

Recognized market analyst firms like Gartner and Forrester have been following this industry for years, even before Vidyo came on the scene. It is their mission to collect both qualitative and quantitative data about industry innovation and new market developments; these organizations have been long-trusted for providing astute, comprehensive information for those interested in the market. Recently, two reports, in particular, are of note. Why? Because, we believe both the Gartner, IT Market Clock for Enterprise Video, 2013 and the Forrester Wave™: Desktop Videoconferencing, Q3 2013 validate Vidyo’s long-standing vision for the entire market. Vidyo believes the Forrester Wave Desktop Videoconferencing, Q3 2013 report supports key trends that are core to its value proposition:

• The shift from hardware room systems to software endpoints
• The importance of a strong mobile solution
• The proliferation of WebRTC
• Scalable video coding (SVC) based architecture that Vidyo pioneered allowing the best video quality among all participants

We believe these are trends and market directions that Vidyo has pioneered and cultivated, some for over five years! Diving deeper into the analysis, we believe the “,” found below, indicates that these types of innovations may make the difference and are “the advantages” in a changing video conferencing market.

In addition, our collaboration with Google to bring Vidyo’s SVC technology to WebRTC, and our work in standardizing H.265 SVC, are further evidence that our unique architecture is both standards-agnostic and future-proof. Vidyo continually hones its time-tested arsenal of vision, technology leadership and knowledge to continue to lead the market in innovation.

Gartner, IT Market Clock for Enterprise Video, 2013
This IT Market Clock illustrates the relative market maturity and commoditization levels for the leading enterprise video asset classes (see “Introducing the Gartner IT Market Clock”).

 

What makes the above Gartner, IT Market Clock for Video Enterprise, 2013 analysis especially interesting is that, we believe it strongly validates Vidyo’s strengths and initiatives. It’s a clear illustration of the individual
components that comprise Vidyo’s unique value proposition and future-proof product line for IT and business leaders and confirms what we have been stating for many years.

Below are a few key findings from the report:

  • Video conferencing endpoints are shifting from a mix of purpose-built room appliances to a broader base of endpoints that now include unified communications (UC) solutions, dedicated softclients, browser based endpoints and mobile apps.
  • Video infrastructure associated with multipoint bridging and hosted conferencing is transitioning from high performance hardware platforms to more scalable software implementations to support a larger population of endpoints and to reach a growing base of ad hoc demand users.
  • Video codec innovation presents more integration challenges for enterprises that do not have sufficient governance of their video endpoints and infrastructure.
  • Enterprises are demonstrating the desire to leverage video for broadcasting, narrowcasting, virtual
    presence and a range of other applications outside of traditional telephony and conferencing.
    Many of these use cases place additional emphasis on the storage and search of video content.
  • Cloud implementations of video-as-a-service are moving beyond existing exchange and federation models to facilitate the mixing of consumer, enterprise and extra-enterprise video systems for ad hoc calls.

The report underscores a significant shift in the market, towards personal and mobile endpoints. We believe this is reshaping the landscape for group video collaboration.

The Forrester Wave™: Desktop Videoconferencing, Q3 2013
In another recent market analysis, Vidyo received top ranking for its technology partners in the Forrester Wave™: Desktop Videoconferencing, Q3 2013. Forrester cited Vidyo as a “strong performer” and as having “best overall video quality and performance” of all the 10 vendors that participated in its September 2013 analysis.

According to the report, “Vidyo’s routing architecture shifts the heavy media-processing power from bridges to the endpoints, significantly reducing the cost per port to deploy video conferencing.” Additionally, “In our demo, Vidyo clearly delivered the best overall video quality, even with a large number of participants. Vidyo is foremost a provider of desktop video conferencing but also sells room systems based on the same software and routing architecture. Its ability to deliver solutions from the desktop to the conference room put it more squarely in competition with room-based vendors…” The report also states, “In contrast to our 2012 evaluation of Vidyo, during the 2013 Forrester Wave, it provided impressive enterprise customer references, each using its technology on a large scale.”

For all of these years, Vidyo’s overarching message has been that video conferencing must be simple, natural and universal. We’ve repeatedly stated that video conferencing needs to work on any device, be available on any type of Internet connection, and be accessible to everyone at an affordable price. This is why we’re especially pleased to receive such acknowledgement and affirmation from these two market reports.

The transition in the Enterprise from “minimal adoption” to “main stream adoption” of video conferencing has been exciting to watch and be a part of. Vidyo has made a significant contribution to this shift in the market, which is evidenced by the findings of the Gartner and Forrester reports. We urge you to connect the dots …. REALLY consider what these analyses indicate. Download the full Gartner, IT Market Clock for Enterprise Video, 2013 report here.

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*Gartner, IT Market Clock for Enterprise Video, 2013, Robert F. Mason | Whit Andrews, 12 September 2013

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

Many of the products and features described herein remain in varying stages of development and will be offered on a when-and-if available basis. The product plans, specifications, and descriptions are provided for information only and are subject to change without notice, and are provided without warranty of any kind, express or implied. Vidyo reserves the right to modify future product plans at any time.

 

Ofer Shapiro, Vidyo co-founder and CEO, has been an innovative force at the heart of major architectural transformations in the videoconferencing industry since 1996. He was integrally involved in the development of the H.323 specification and the first IP based multi-point control unit architecture and gatekeepers, developed the use of H.264 Scalable Video Coding (SVC) for video conferencing, and led the development of a new media relay based architecture- the VidyoRouter. Ofer is a named inventor on 40 issued and 28 pending patent families. He was named a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, and received the Wall Street Journal Innovation Award for Disruption in the category of Internet, Networking and Broadband. 

 

 

 

VidyoWorks™ – It’s All About the Platform

The last two weeks were very busy with product news and strategic win announcements for Vidyo:  Important partnerships with the likes of Mitel, Arkadin and CTN, a gigantic win with CERN, and of course exciting news about VidyoConferencing 3.0, featuring major usability enhancements and innovations throughout the Vidyo portfolio including a new Microsoft Lync Integration.  Now, today, we have jointly announced with Ricoh, the U.S. availability of a sleek, portable, light-weight Vidyo-based videoconferencing system that’s the size of a notebook!

So why are all of these announcements significant and what do they have to do with each other? It’s all about a platform that scales! The affordability and innovation enabled by the VidyoWorks APIs has sparked the interest and imagination of a wide range of companies and organizations looking for a solution that satisfies all of their visual collaboration modalities – not just some of them – and does it at a cost that is comparable to voice services.  As the growing number of important Vidyo partners indicates, Vidyo has demonstrated its strength and leadership, not only in terms of technological innovation, but also in its ability to forge new roads in the marketplace that allow our customers and partners access to a level of scalability and geographical distribution that has never before been achieved affordably and with such high quality. By doing so, Vidyo has upped the ante for every video conferencing vendor in the world. Now every significant player is trying to develop a scalable video coding (SVC) strategy. SVC is much more than a compression standard, it allows for a new architecture, which Vidyo has perfected for years from both product and intellectual property perspectives. We welcome these new offerings into the SVC-enabled world as we continue to lead with our field-proven products.

Everywhere you look, it seems, there are new and exciting examples of Vidyo products and services.  Since last week, alone, we have made several impressive announcements: a Vidyo/Arkadin-powered web-based service deployed by the California Telehealth Network that will improve healthcare to patients in rural California, a partnership with Mitel that will result in the integration of Vidyo’s HD video and telepresence solutions across their entire line of unified communications and collaborations (UCC) products, and yet another example of a global cloud-based video conferencing solution, with the unveiling of the P3000 from Ricoh, an important Vidyo partner in the US.

After a very long wait, the visual communication revolution is finally here and we are so proud to be at the heart of it. We would like to thank all of our great customers, partners, investors and, of course, our dedicated and talented employees who have made all of this possible.

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Disclaimer: Many of the products and features described herein remain in varying stages of development and will be offered on a when-and-if available basis. The product plans, specifications, and descriptions are provided for information only and are subject to change without notice, and are provided without warranty of any kind, express or implied.  Vidyo reserves the right to modify future product plans at any time.

Ofer Shapiro, Vidyo co-founder and CEO, has been an innovative force at the heart of major architectural transformations in the videoconferencing industry since 1996. He was integrally involved in the development of the H.323 specification and the first IP based multi-point control unit architecture and gatekeepers, developed the use of H.264 Scalable Video Coding (SVC) for video conferencing, and led the development of a new media relay based architecture- the VidyoRouter. Ofer is a named inventor on 40 issued and 28 pending patent families. He was named a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, and received the Wall Street Journal Innovation Award for Disruption in the category of Internet, Networking and Broadband. 

 

 

 

The new Google+ Hangouts

In recent days after the announcement of a new Google+ Hangouts platform, we’ve received many inquiries about just how Vidyo fits into the new solution. First, let me just say how excited we are about Google’s new communication platform. This cross device messaging approach, that connects Android, Chrome, Gmail and iOS alike, is a huge step in making the user experience as simple as can be, and that means wider adoption. It’s also further testament to the success the product has had and how visual communication is becoming an increasingly important part of the way people interact.

Some diligent bloggers have taken a look at the legal notices of the new Hangouts product and noticed that Vidyo’s patent notice is not there, which triggered a lot of rumors about Vidyo being ‘out’ of the Google+ Hangouts platform. Some people speculated that Google had replaced our technology for WebRTC. The truth is this was just an editorial oversight and the media technology in Google+ Hangouts did not change. Our partnership remains as strong as ever, and frankly, we couldn’t be happier. Hangouts is turning into a mainstream and useful form of communication which is in line with the trends we see across our business, from consumers to business applications.

 

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Ofer Shapiro, Vidyo co-founder and CEO, has been an innovative force at the heart of major architectural transformations in the videoconferencing industry since 1996. He was integrally involved in the development of the H.323 specification and the first IP based multi-point control unit architecture and gatekeepers, developed the use of H.264 Scalable Video Coding (SVC) for video conferencing, and led the development of a new media relay based architecture- the VidyoRouter. Ofer is a named inventor on 40 issued and 28 pending patent families. He was named a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, and received the Wall Street Journal Innovation Award for Disruption in the category of Internet, Networking and Broadband. 

 

 

Vidyo Recognized by World Economic Forum as 2013 Technology Pioneer

It is with great esteem that Vidyo, a provider of multi-platform videoconferencing solutions, can say we have been selected as a 2013 World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer.

It is an immense honor given the rigorous nature of the selection process and the exceptional caliber of entrants. The World Economic Forum recognizes the most important work done by companies that aim to transform the way businesses and society work. Videoconferencing is impacting a wildly diverse group of people, from varying industries and specialties all over the world, and while it may not be intuitively glamorous, videoconferencing is significantly impacting the way we communicate. It is changing peoples’ lives every day. While geographic and global boundaries remain unchanged, economic, political, and technological boundaries have become tremendously blurred. People work for companies and organizations with outposts and offices all over the world. Communication expectations are commiserate with this new reality, which demands global collaboration to stay abreast of competitors. A multitude of technologies helps make this a possibility. VidyoConferencing™ is one of them.

Vidyo gives people greater access to real-time visual communication by allowing individuals to meet via their regular desktops, tablets, or mobile devices- as well as in telepresence rooms. Accessibility, high-quality, and affordability are three key reasons Vidyo enables a wider group of people to communicate through videoconferencing. Through patented technology innovation, Vidyo brings price performance in line with user expectations. It brings the quality reserved for board rooms to where it needs to be: the everyday communication between small and large businesses, educational institutions, medical facilities in rural areas, and much more.

Let’s say a doctor in North America wants to train medical students in earthquake-devastated Haiti, or medical professionals want to share the latest groundbreaking information and documents with their colleagues in another part of the world. Vidyo’s high-quality, affordable videoconferencing platform has made all of these scenarios a reality. We provide access to people anywhere and over any device. This face-to-face communication allows for recognition of the cultural, social, and emotional nuances that so often get lost over the phone and email. In short, we have democratized communication by reducing the barrier of entry for ALL people all over the world — not just the most elite enterprises. This, we believe, will shape the future of global communication.

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Ofer Shapiro co-founded Vidyo in 2005 and pioneered Personal Telepresence, enabling a new generation of software-based natural, multi-point HD video conferences on desktop computers, room systems, and mobile devices. Prior to Vidyo, Ofer spent eight years at RADVISION where he was responsible for the development of the first IP video conferencing bridge and gatekeeper technology and the first commercially successful video conferencing architecture. He also served as senior vice president of business development responsible for strategic sales and relationships. Ofer was a contributor and one of the editors of the H.323 standard. Ofer has over fifteen years of experience in bringing disruptive technologies to market. He holds a Master’s Degree in Applied Physics.

VidyoWay – The Way for B2B communication

In case you haven’t seen this morning’s headlines, Vidyo is continuing to disrupt the video conferencing market and just announced a new free cloud-based service:  VidyoWay. Now anyone using Cisco, Polycom, Lifesize, other H.323 and SIP-based room systems, Microsoft Lync clients, mobile devices and telephones can easily connect with each other and/or with Vidyo endpoints.

Interoperability doesn’t mean interconnectivity:

At the risk of sounding old, I’ll admit I was part of the H.323 standardization effort in the previous century. Interoperability did exist in 1997, but widespread adoption of video conferencing has long been inhibited by low quality, high cost and complexity associated with attempting to provide B2B collaboration within multi-vendor environments. Businesses came to expect the ease of use provided by legacy phone service, yet we never think of that as a missing piece of the puzzle in business video communications today.  Everybody knows that when you dial +1 201 you will get to New Jersey and if you continue to dial seven additional digits you reach your intended target. The global agreement that is needed to make this happen is simply not in place for video conferencing. These problems, alongside inhibiting costs and quality issues have slowed down the legacy video conferencing market.

Vidyo’s architecture solves a large part of the structural challenges seen in the market today by offering very high-quality meet-me solutions that bring price and performance in line with user expectation. Vidyo delivers a business video conferencing solution that promises natural quality, reaching a wide set of devices, on best effort networks, at price points that deliver significant savings and works for B2B and B2C solutions and even high scale C2C applications.  The compelling advantage of this architecture fuels Vidyo’s fast growth (four times faster than the rest of the industry)

Recently we have seen a number of players aiming to address the space between new high-quality solutions, and the legacy connectivity issues by offering a ‘transcoding room in the cloud’ that allow different technologies to interconnect in a much simpler way than was previously  available to users. People who use legacy systems spend a lot of money on their equipment and find that it is not easily usable for communication outside of their company. These “cloud based” services, although not cheap, are welcomed by such people that want to improve the return on investment of their equipment.

That’s where VidyoWay comes in. VidyoWay addresses ALL three factors of cost, complexity, and limited connectivity for legacy devices to remove the barriers to enterprise visual collaboration more effectively than any other solution in the market. Being completely free and super easy to use we hope that it will become the standard way for people to connect their legacy devices. VidyoWay will eliminate the need for IT assistance and the age-old question: “I am using one interconnectivity service and you are using another, now what?”

So what’s in it for Vidyo?

VidyoWay gives video conferencing users something that they have wanted for a long time. With this service, they only need to configure their legacy architecture room system ONCE to connect with VidyoWay. The same way several callers may dial a single 800 number to join an audio conference bridge, video conferencing participants can now use a single dialing scheme to leverage video communications with other business users regardless of their device. The extra bonus – everyone is already ‘VidyoReady’ because VidyoWay federates for free to any hosted or on-prem videoconferencing system. This allows Vidyo to have a dialog with all the end users that are not ready to switch to a new architecture yet and help them to do so in a gradual way. Think about it, we are closing the gap with free interconnectivity.

 

Some of you may be wondering whether this will decrease Vidyo sales because it is available for free. To the contrary: it will increase sales as it connects the Vidyo user-base to all organizations that use legacy systems. As these organizations switch to us, mobile devices, desktop conferencing and telepresence rooms will already be ready for Vidyo’s product line.  The legacy world is measured in about a million endpoints and is still a very small fraction of the potential market of hundreds of millions of personal endpoints and affordable telepresence users that our paid products are addressing. VidyoWay’s fair use policy requires the use of the service for the purpose of legacy device interconnectivity and conferencing. Consequently the use of VidyoWay for legacy endpoints doesn’t even put a dent in our target market for our full product portfolio. Moreover, native use of Vidyo (not via transcoded legacy endpoint) provides tremendous quality and cost benefit which drove our business to grow four times faster than the industry average.

So far, the reaction to this news has been overwhelmingly positive. Here is what some of the industry’s key analysts and media have said about VidyoWay:

“Vidyo’s new VidyoWay offering was very impressive. This compelling new service solves the ease-of-use problem that has plagued the industry for years. The VidyoWay demo was very comprehensive – it’s easy to use, borderless and most importantly free! We believe the VidyoWay offering will be a hit with channels and customers.” - Troy Jenson – Managing Director and Senior Research Analyst, Piper Jaffray

“Vidyo continues to prove themselves as a leader in market innovation, technical excellence, scalability and adaptability to varied video conferencing environments. The new, free VidyoWay service is sure to positively disrupt the market as Vidyo has been able to do in recent years. VideoWay has the true potential to expand the video conferencing and collaboration market to mass deployment levels.” – Roopam Jain, Industry Director, Unified Communications and Collaboration, Frost & Sullivan


“Multivendor interoperability is a real pain point in the video conferencing industry. Interconnecting video conferencing systems that businesses have deployed is certainly possible, but is often both complicated and expensive,” said Brian Riggs, research director at Current Analysis. “A service like VidyoWay should have considerable appeal among companies seeking a straightforward way to make video communication as commonplace as telephone calls, at no cost to the end user. Vidyo continues to dramatically change the economics of B2B video conferencing.” - Brian Riggs, Research Director, Current Analysis

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Ofer Shapiro co-founded Vidyo in 2005 and pioneered Personal Telepresence, enabling a new generation of software-based natural, multi-point HD video conferences on desktop computers, room systems, and mobile devices. Prior to Vidyo, Ofer spent eight years at RADVISION where he was responsible for the development of the first IP video conferencing bridge and gatekeeper technology and the first commercially successful video conferencing architecture. He also served as senior vice president of business development responsible for strategic sales and relationships. Ofer was a contributor and one of the editors of the H.323 standard. Ofer has over fifteen years of experience in bringing disruptive technologies to market. He holds a Master’s Degree in Applied Physics.

Open Letter to Wainhouse Research Senior Analyst Andrew W. Davis

Dear Andrew,

I read with great interest your coverage of Cisco’s future multipoint video architecture. I am not sure if it was intentional, but your title selection resonated well with us: we all know what happened to the Empire! We (in the rebellion camp) are happy to see the big players admitting one after the other that all these expensive MCUs they are selling are a really bad investment – thank you for pointing this out.

This confirms what we have been saying all along: it is all about an efficient architecture that can replace the MCU. I did, however want to share my thoughts on some of the technical aspects around the Cisco solution.

The big question is HOW to replace the MCU, without losing functionality? Let me touch on a few aspects of this:

Error Resilience: As you mentioned in your analysis, Cisco provides error resilience using Forward Error Correction (FEC). FEC is a wasteful technique because you spend bits even when you don’t need them. Furthermore, it is particularly bad when error conditions are bursty. You identified this point much earlier in your November 2009 report “H.264 SVC: A Technical Assessment” (P. 25-30, “FEC overhead can range from 20% to 100%”). To make matters worse, the FEC overhead has to be added to the multi-stream overhead. Not to mention the fact that the FEC approach cannot avoid sending I frames, which degrades the quality of the call for all participants, not just the ones experiencing problems. FEC did not work with single-layer AVC and will not work well with multi-stream AVC either.

Personal Layouts and Bitrates: For years the key selling point of expensive MCUs was that you must be able to adapt the bitrate and viewing options to individually accommodate each participant. With the new Cisco solution everyone gets to see “Exactly the Same Thing” (like identical Storm Troopers). What happens with Cisco’s multi-stream solution if you happen to have 3/4 of the bandwidth required for full HD? Do you display the stamp-size 240p? And what if you want to see a 2×2 layout of 4 participants, you show them as 240p images on a 60-inch screen? What happens if some people want to see different people at HD? As you so rightfully point out in your commentary, “the difference is in the significant details.”

Error resilience matters, personal layout matters, and bitrate adaptation matters. And you can get all of them today, not in the future, with Vidyo’s implementation of video switching, using standard H.264 SVC. It’s called Adaptive Video Layering (AVL).

Interoperability: Arguably the most interesting feature of multi-streaming is the promise of better interoperability with legacy systems. From your note, however, it seems that the “native interoperability” claimed for Cisco’s architecture requires a Codian MCU to “act as the gateway between the multi-encoding world and the non-multi-encoding world for multi-point calls.” MOST Legacy devices participating in multipoint calls cannot do their own composition of the multi-stream, so they need someone to do it for them. The advantage, if any, will be limited to a small subset of Cisco’s newer endpoints.

In reality the market has already indicated where it is going, with a roster of Vidyo’s licensees that includes Google, Ricoh, and Hitachi, among many others, and Polycom and Microsoft announcing their plans to support SVC. Wainhouse Research has once again done a nice job in providing its readership with the information necessary to connect the dots with regard to where the video conferencing industry is heading. Everyone now agrees – there’s no future for the MCU.

- Ofer Shapiro.

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Vidyo Co-Founder and CEO Ofer Shapiro

Ofer co-founded Vidyo in 2005 and pioneered Personal Telepresence, enabling a new generation of software-based natural, multi-point HD video conferences on desktop computers, room systems, and mobile devices. Prior to Vidyo, Ofer spent eight years at RADVISION where he was responsible for the development of the first IP video conferencing bridge and gatekeeper technology and the first commercially successful video conferencing architecture. He also served as senior vice president of business development responsible for strategic sales and relationships. Ofer was a contributor and one of the editors of the H.323 standard. Ofer has over fifteen years of experience in bringing disruptive technologies to market. He holds a Master’s Degree in Applied Physics.