VidyoWorks at CES: A Visual Collaboration Platform to Power The Internet of Things

In his keynote address at CES on Tuesday evening, Cisco’s CEO John Chambers envisioned a world in the not-too-distant future in which everyone and everything will be connected via the Internet.  That’s right, “everything.”  Garbage cans, parking spots, street lights, appliances, homes, businesses, hospitals, cars and entire connected cities.  Couple this vision with the key innovations that have emerged from the halls of CES this week — such as wearable technology, interactive cars, Schwinn bicycles, and “smart” appliances (from electric toothbrushes to refrigerators) that are all-knowing and interactive – and it almost seems that in this new world of savvy washing machines and intuitive beds, there won’t be much room for human connection and interaction.  Surely (hopefully) this won’t be the case, but even so, how do we keep human-to-human connection and communication from getting lost in this proliferation of connected everything-else?  We believe that Vidyo has a jump on this.

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Vidyo technology and the VidyoWorks platform and APIs enable innovators to develop a variety of visual communication and collaboration tools and solutions that until recently could only be imagined.  Vidyo’s versatile APIs allow developers to integrate the highest quality interactive video communications into virtually any “smart” device or appliance with similar connectivity and processing power as a smart phone. We’ve already seen Vidyo-enabled cars, medical equipment, educational tools, social networking applications and consumer games, and when there’s a demand for Vidyo-enabled refrigerators or an interaction with a pharmacist via a drone that arrives at your door to deliver your latest prescription, know that it is possible to embed Vidyo communications.

As we’ve highlighted in past blog posts, the affordability, flexibility and power offered by the software-based VidyoWorks platform has sparked the interest and imagination of a wide range of companies and organizations because it can be easily customized for individual enterprise and vertical market video communication needs.

All of the chatter from this week’s CES offers much food for thought about the unstoppable flow of new technologies and the impact it will have on our lives.  With that in mind, we urge developers to keep human connection and interactivity front and center when conjuring up their next game-changing application, cloud service or device.  Perhaps the world is not yet ready for video communications via smart toothbrush, but developers are leveraging VidyoWorks and our APIs today to build amazing apps to power the Internet world.

Vidyo: Making a Difference in the World

As those of us in the U.S. take a pause to give thanks this week, we thought it would be a good time to share a series of stories that show how connecting people through Vidyo is making a difference.

It’s always gratifying to know that your work, in some way, contributes to supporting and aiding humankind. And at Vidyo, we can’t help but feel good, knowing that our products and Vidyo-based applications and services are genuinely helping people all over the world. It’s not an overstatement to say that Vidyo is making a huge difference in people’s lives. It’s a fact.

Because Vidyo communications can reach people located almost anywhere — even those in some of the most remote areas on earth — without the need for any kind of special networks or equipment … and because Vidyo’s software-based technology can be easily integrated into so many critical, even potentially life-saving applications, we’re seeing an amazing number of organizations and institutions altering outcomes by leveraging Vidyo communications. From remote locations above the Arctic Circle in Alaska, to earthquake-ravaged villages in Haiti, to disaster-torn regions of third-world countries, to a small schoolhouse in India, Vidyo is assisting medical practitioners, educators, disaster relief personnel, and so many more, the world over in locations where other video conferencing solutions are not able to reach.

Vidyo for Humanitarian Aid: Concern Worldwide leverages Vidyo to link aid workers in 24 countries

The Thinking Schools Academy at the Auxilium Nava Jyothi School in India uses Vidyo as a way of enabling its teachers to receive face-to-face support and training by educators in the United States, over 10,000 miles away.

Supporting healthcare by connecting doctors and patients in rural Alaska: Vidyo connects over 250 sites and 700,000 people spread out over 660,000 square miles of rugged terrain.

Vidyo provides virtual classrooms for medical students in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake.

We are so proud of the great work being done by people who are using Vidyo to heal and save lives, educate those who would not otherwise be able to access education, and ensure rapid, efficient humanitarian assistance to those in desperate need. Follow our hashtag #bestofvidyo to hear about the stories that make us feel good about Vidyo.

Vidyo for Education 2013

Adoption of Vidyo technology in education has come a long way over the past few years, but our influence and adoption continues to grow–inspiring new ways of teaching and learning from boardrooms to classrooms across the world.  In 2011, we released VidyoReplay™, a recording and webcasting component of the Vidyo infrastructure, making it easier than ever before to connect students and teachers from disparate endpoints and capture content and educational lectures for future off-line viewing, anytime and anyplace. We have subsequently announced how Vidyo transforms mediated classrooms at Arizona State University into real time, research and learning environments with the Smithsonian—and shared how our technology links healthcare experts, physicians and instructors with medical students in Haiti via a virtual classroom. Earlier this year, Vidyo again made headlines that focused on our partnership with Internet2, and the resulting news that VidyoConferencing™ will be included in the services available to all Internet2 higher education members and thousands of K-12 public schools Topping off this exciting list of accomplishments in the realm of education, today, Vidyo announced that the number of education
institutions across the globe
that are currently using VidyoConferencing to raise the bar in interactive education through video communications and collaboration continues to increase.

From connecting students and parents from anywhere with school counselors, specialists and faculty to the classroom with virtual fieldtrips that supplement K-12 curriculum with real world interactions, video conferencing adoption
in education is on the rise. To put things in context about video conferencing in education, we created this infographic to understand the usage of video conferencing this academic year (click on the image for a large version):

 

If you’re an educator, a CIO or IT leader from the education community and haven’t yet experienced Vidyo, we can’t wait for you to try it out and let us know what you think.

Simply Amazing: Counting Vidyo Connections at CERN

What’s really BIG at CERN – the research organization that focuses on the smallest objects in the universe?

I’m not talking about CERN’s Large Hadron Collider that has been used to identify the Higgs boson. Nope, it’s the size of their VidyoConferencing deployment and its utilization.

Throughout 2012, the client downloads rose slowly from about 2000 to just under 14,000. Then, in January, the Vidyo service fully took the load and downloads exploded by more than 10,000 downloads to almost 24,000 in just five months.

But it’s not just the number of users that’s impressive, it’s how CERN leverages visual collaboration in their research. They are peaking 600 simultaneous connections at precise points in any given day. Some of these meetings may be small, connecting individuals to other individuals, or can be even larger, connecting groups with groups — in all, these meetings are averaging 2000 total connections a day. But it is the ability to hold large meetings that is really important to CERN’s collaborations. Since CERN started using Vidyo, they’ve had over 1400 meetings where the number of participants ranged between 25–50 connections. And this is all on a self-managed system with a worldwide deployment connecting people with mobile devices, laptops and room systems including legacy H.323 systems.

Two of CERN’s largest research experiments are ATLAS and CMS which are the largest international scientific collaborations in history, involving thousands of particle physicists, engineers, technicians, students and support staff from hundreds of universities and institutes. In April 2013 alone, ATLAS had 1860 Vidyo meetings and CMS had 1183 Vidyo meetings.

Steven Goldfarb, Outreach and Education Coordinator for ATLAS describes why Vidyo is so important to their mission:

Much of our research is done outside of CERN, maybe 10 percent of us are here at CERN. We have to remain connected all of the time. That’s the only way to be able to make decisions and contribute to those decisions as a collaboration.”

In the video conferencing world, numbers like the ones discussed here are amazing numbers. CERN’s self-managed deployment involves more than 20 VidyoRouters spanning the world and 11 VidyoGateways clustered in three locations across the network. Users may connect over wired or wireless connections, and they are able to have large
multi-user meetings. Don’t you agree that this is simply incredible?

Note: you can look at this data yourself on CERN’s public dashboard: http://avc-dashboard.web.cern.ch/Vidyo.

 

 

Maximize Workplace Collaboration with Visual Communications

Don’t know about you, but I often feel like I’m drowning in a sea of digitally communicated words!  Texts, emails, IMs and the like seem to have taken the place of actual conversations. Not only do our personal lives suffer from this, our workplace has transformed into a place where we constantly need to deal with the data driven craze–  as the inundation of electronically transmitted words — information, questions, issues all needing to be responded to ASAP – never seem to end.

But the workplace still appreciates and values face-to-face communications. Don’t you agree? Even more importantly, many organizations require face-to-face meetings with fellow colleagues occasionally, if not all the time. The benefits of face-to-face meetings stretch beyond making decisions on the fly, it also helps people adjust to emotional cues and allows for a better sense of team and relationship building for ultimately better business productivity.

Video conferencing in the workplace:
•  brings people together via face-to-face communications and nurtures a collaborative effort
•  ignites a collaborative culture where people and teams can feel comfortable visually sharing plans and exchanging ideas
•  fosters team and relationship building by encouraging individuals to visually share their vibrant personalities
•  resolves problems quicker and builds strong team chemistry

There are a myriad of reasons why slowly, but surely, face-to-face communications is making a huge comeback.  And no, we’re not talking about having to be physically present in order to have these great conversations.  More and more businesses are turning to high quality visual collaboration and communications via the Internet, 4G and other easily accessed networks, without having to spend a lot of money on equipment and infrastructure – and Vidyo is leading this revolution in terms of technological excellence and affordability.

A rapidly growing number of companies and organizations are already realizing the many benefits of Vidyo’s solution. Take KaBOOM! for example, a national nonprofit that envisions a great place to play within walking distance of every child—serving over 6.5 million children, engaging with over 1 million volunteers and have successfully built or improved over 15 thousand playgrounds in America. You can only imagine the massive scale of collaboration needed to communicate with everyone involved in each project. Vidyo has transformed the KaBOOM! conferencing dynamic. The result is reduced costs, more productive and efficient project meetings, and a quicker and more powerful human connection for the team. Or take Concern Worldwide, an international charity, fighting world poverty, that connects humanitarian aid workers in 24 countries.  Vidyo helps connect 2,200 Concern Worldwide personnel to be able to instantly, clearly and affordably communicate and collaborate visually with field managers in some of the most remote locations in the world.

Collaboration is imperative to success. Whether it’s building a playground for a community or connecting charitable people around the world – video communications in the workplace is making a world of difference.

But, don’t just take my word for it! If you register for Vidyo’s upcoming webinar, you will hear, firsthand, from Vidyo’s CEO, Ofer Shapiro, and our featured speakers, David S. Maldow, Esq. and Howard S. Lichtman, from Telepresence Options, “Why Video Collaboration Will Make Audio-Conferencing Extinct.” Whether you agree or disagree with this premise, we’re certain that this will be a spirited conversation between our presenters … one that you can’t afford to miss!

 

Vidyo Continues to Push the State-of-the-Art Forward

Come see the future of Vidyo at InfoComm Booth #1581

Today is an exciting day for Vidyo. If you haven’t already, please read our latest announcement on the release of VidyoConferencingTM 3.0 – an upgrade that will move the industry forward by delivering a new integrated desktop, enhancing the user experience to deliver mass adoption of visual communications. It also introduces two new room systems at market-disrupting prices and additional features like an iPad app to share, view, and annotate content.

VidyoConferencing 3.0 – More Functionality, Accessibility, Affordability, and Control wherever you may be.

If there is a theme for this year’s Vidyo showcase at InfoComm 2013, it would simply be “more”. Perhaps that alone is a good place to anchor this discussion. We are now entering our third generation of product maturity.  VidyoConferencing 1.0 brought personal telepresence to a largely room system-based market. We delivered multipoint meetings over any IP? network with so little latency that you could have a natural meeting experience at a very affordable price. With VidyoConferencing 2.0, Vidyo brought about real infrastructure scalability by delivering latency-free
cascading among VidyoRoutersTM that localized traffic for network efficiency. This was followed by virtualizing the entire infrastructure!

And now, with Vidyoconferencing 3.0, Vidyo is leading the videoconferencing market once again, with an advanced end user experience on a
future-proof architecture.

So what’s new?

VidyoWeb: More Accessibility
What? No need for guests to download the software client application to join in a video conference? That’s right. Vidyo is making it more accessible than ever to join a Vidyo conference.  Vidyo moves into the browser with VidyoWeb, TM a simple plug-in so guests can join a Vidyo conference without installing the VidyoDesktopTM client!

And that’s not all! Unified Communications (UC) is a hot topic with enterprise IT, and Microsoft Lync® is one of the leading platforms. Vidyo’s
new plug-in for Lync
gives the full Vidyo experience to Lync users by allowing Vidyo to reside completely within the Lync window. It delivers not only the natural multipoint experience, but enables integration with legacy architecture room systems. And the Outlook® plug-in enables integrated scheduling.

More Functionality
The modernized user interface (UI) exposes new features including integrated chat plus more functional pre-call and in-call capabilities.

VidyoMobile 2.0: More Control
The new VidyoMobileTM app lets you invite anyone from your contact list to a meeting, putting even more power into the palm of your hand so you can schedule or immediately invite anyone to a meeting from wherever you are.

Room Systems Starting at $999: More Affordable
Vidyo continues to disrupt the room system market with even lower prices. Immersive telepresence is now available for under $5000/screen with the VidyoPanorama 600 which supports up to 6x 1080p60.  If your company is considering various telepresence options for purchase and deployment, it’s clear to see that Vidyo’s is the more economical and smarter choice. And with the new Intel NUC (network unit computing)-based VidyoRooms, Vidyo marks the dawn of a new era of software-based room systems and sets the stage for room system prices to
fall at the rate of the PC world.

So, if you’re at InfoComm and want to see the future, be sure to stop by Vidyo’s Booth #1581. We’ll also have a live demo of H.265 running side-by-side with H.264 so you can compare the quality and marvel at the reduction in bandwidth consumption this new technology can bring!  See you there.

Vidyo Announces General Availability of VidyoGateway Virtual Edition (VE) and New Software Version 2.2.2

It’s an exciting time for Vidyo and all of its new and existing customers from around the world. We are pleased to announce the general availability of VidyoGateway Virtual Edition and access to download the new Vidyo Software Version 2.2.2, which includes new Vidyo enhancements at no-charge upgrades to Vidyo customers.

The recent announcement of the VidyoGateway and VidyoPortal Virtual Editions (VE) in March completes the virtualization of Vidyo’s core infrastructure and opens the door to mass adoption by offering enterprise customers and service providers high quality, scalable video conferencing at audio conferencing price points. Vidyo’s customers and service provider partners can now realize the significant cost savings, ease of administration and efficiency improvements of virtualization without the performance constraints that have previously plagued hardware-based, MCU solutions.

Available in both physical and virtual form factors, VidyoGateway integrates H.323 and SIP-based video conferencing equipment with the Vidyo infrastructure to extend the life of legacy systems as you deploy new Vidyo endpoints. Because calls through the VidyoGateway do not consume VidyoLine licenses, integration with legacy endpoints is both easy and affordable. VidyoGateway also enables voice integration for enterprise IP PBX systems with Vidyo deployment.

Additionally, Vidyo is releasing new features in its Vidyo Software Version 2.2.2. Features include: VMware Ready Certification for VidyoRouter, 6X HD decoding for its VidyoDesktop and VidyoReplay’s new support for Apple devices.

Reference Files

 

Telehealth Talk with Vidyo VP Amnon Gavish

How have you seen telehealth evolve over the years?

Amnon Gavish, Vidyo’s SVP of Vertical Solutions

Telemedicine and telehealth has been evolving for over 15 years. It is agreed among those who have been following this evolution that economic factors, aging population, the effects of public policies and a growing trend for more resources in care, has generated a strong demand for reform and efficiency in healthcare processes and practices. This trend represents a golden opportunity for integration of telehealth into healthcare workflows. Dr. Dale Alverson, the former President of the American Telehealth Association (ATA) has described it as “A perfect storm.” New technologies are developed and modalities continue to evolve. We’re seeing hospitals connect with other hospitals to provide healthcare services; local health facilities, clinics and nursing homes are no longer confined to the resources available only within their own campuses. The rise of technologies that allow people to easily connect, contributes to the increase of enabling technological developments that, accordingly, promote, validate and inspire the use of telehealth.

Why is Vidyo seeing so much success in the healthcare market?

Vidyo’s unique architecture opens the door to new healthcare applications and services that simply are not possible with traditional videoconferencing solutions. Unlike Vidyo, legacy solutions can’t scale to reach millions across a wide variety of global locations; to connect patients with practitioners anywhere, anytime, and in any place via commodity devices over public networks. Vidyo’s technology eliminates the complex and costly process of installing expensive networks and equipment, making it easy for patients to connect, while offering the high level of telepresence-quality video and audio communications needed to facilitate excellent healthcare delivery.

Why couldn’t this be achieved with traditional or off-the-shelf videoconferencing solutions?

There are fundamental requirements for healthcare-related videoconferencing that address security and patient privacy issues. Healthcare communications and collaboration systems need to have the capability to control who joins the conversation while managing and protecting participant identity. Simply said — this just isn’t possible with any of the consumer solutions on the market. Another key factor to consider is a level of communication quality high enough to help build trust between the patient and doctor. Vidyo’s patented VidyoRouter™ architecture offers unprecedented error resiliency, low latency rate matching thus enabling natural, affordable, high-quality video to work over the Internet, LTE and 4G networks enabling natural interaction between patients and doctors to make them feel as if the other person was in the same room.

What are some of the new healthcare applications and services enabled by Vidyo?

Vidyo’s technology is transforming traditional healthcare processes. From changing hospital workflow in the ICU or extending patient care to the home, Vidyo’s technology enables real-time, high quality videoconferencing that can be applied for use cases like telepsychiatry—used for preventive consultations to help people quit smoking or fight against obesity, for instance. Vidyo’s technology is also leveraged in places like rural Alaska, where remote care is fundamentally needed, but finding the best care means traveling a great number of miles. Vidyo makes it possible for doctors to perform reliable, remote primary care examinations, like ear and dermatology checkups or even oversee a physical exam without having to be physically present.

Vidyo’s technology is also being implemented to streamline hospital services such as improving the patient discharge processes, reducing readmissions and refining overall accountable care. In other cases, hospitals have adopted Vidyo as a part of their call centers where a trial nurse accepts the first call to consult with patients.

What are your thoughts on the future of telehealth and where do you see Vidyo’s role in that?

It’s said by folks in the field that introducing the term “telehealth” actually induced a fear amongst those in the industry and was responsible for slowing down the adoption of “telehealth” solutions. The way I see it, in the not-too-distant future, the separate category of “telehealth” probably won’t exist. Instead, we will likely see that, what is now a distinct adjunct to healthcare will soon become an integral part of standard healthcare provision for all. Overtime, as caregivers and administrators adopt and integrate new systems and technology like Vidyo, and provide more training to staff members on the latest technologies, “telehealth” will play a core role in everyday evaluations, diagnoses and decisions by healthcare providers.


About Amnon Gavish

Amnon Gavish brings more than 15 years of experience in the telecommunications market. Before joining Vidyo in October 2009, Amnon was the Chief Technology Officer at Keisense Inc., an innovator in the field of textual user interface for Computer Electronics devices. Previously, he served as VP of Business Development at RADVISION, where he was responsible for the company’s strategic partnerships and for the definition of the company’s product offering to the service providers market. Amnon was the CEO and co-Founder of Surf Communications, where he was responsible for all activities, from product inception, through go-to-market strategy, strategic partnerships and sales.

Vidyo Makes Scientific Collaboration VISUALLY Compelling at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)

If you haven’t been blown away sufficiently by some of the most recent Vidyo-related news you’ve read … here’s the latest on Vidyo’s never-ending list of WOW items! The preliminary phase of a nationwide communications system for scientific collaboration across academic, industrial and government partners has been recently completed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the largest science and energy national laboratory in the U.S. Department of Energy system. ORNL’s scientific programs focus on materials, neutron science, energy, high-performance computing, systems biology and national security.

So what does Vidyo have to do with this system that is now providing the core communications solution to connect such renowned institutions as ORNL, Los Alamos National Lab, Sandia National Lab, Idaho National Lab, MIT, NC State University, Westinghouse, University of Michigan, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)?

EVERYTHING!

Vidyo, in conjunction with Digital Video Enterprise (DVE) telepresence, helped develop the Virtual Office Community and Computing (VOCC) Laboratory that provides, real-time video and information exchange among a national science team engaged in the modeling and simulation of light water reactors (LWRs). The custom-designed Vidyo-DVE network is a unique telepresence and agile video collaboration environment that includes a massive, multipoint energy sciences exchange is able to link all types of endpoints, from tablets and smart devices to immersive telepresence rooms and visualization venues.

For the next phase of development, the VOCC Laboratory plans to continue the partnership with Vidyo to develop a scalable, affordable, secure, and interoperable telepresence that will support collaborative communication between the Department of Energy (DOE) Critical Materials Energy Innovation Hub and their biggest materials customer, the Department of Defense (DOD). The VOCC lab is piloting an effort to establish a multi-user collaboration community using a beta version DOD portal provided by Vidyo. The planned conferencing suite meets DOD Joint Interoperability Test Command’s (JITC) requirements, including related Defense Switch Network (DSN) and IPV6 interoperability requirements. Vidyo is the first software-based, telepresence-quality video conferencing solution to be JITC certified and is fully compatibility with H.323/SIP standards based end points and infrastructure.

For more details about this exciting announcement from ORNL, click here.

Telehealth Trailblazers

During the week of ATA 2012, Vidyo hosted our inaugural Healthcare Advisory Council meeting on May 2nd  at our Executive Briefing Center in Redwood Shores, CA.

Council members participated in a dynamic exchange of current use cases, future trends and best practices in healthcare using video conferencing solutions from Vidyo.  A common theme emerged as council members recounted the benefits of expanded access to quality healthcare through the use of Vidyo between endpoints such as the iPhone, iPad and Android mobile devices.  Please review this 5 minute highlight video if you want to understand how Vidyo, along with these thought leaders, are demonstrating the vision that is needed within Healthcare today.

Vidyo Co-founder and CEO, Ofer Shapiro, delivered a presentation highlighting recent announcements to the Vidyo portfolio and engaged in dialogue with the council members about video conferencing needs in healthcare. At a time where healthcare expenses are rising at astounding rates, Vidyo technology is enabling patients to see the appropriate healthcare professionals without having to leave their homes.  Vidyo is also enabling consults between healthcare professionals to occur in a timely manner between locations only limited by the reach of the internet.

Also presenting at the council was Dr. Dale Alverson of the University of New Mexico and Dr. Jeff Kessler of the Georgia Partnership for Telehealth.

Dr. Alverson, a past President of ATA, talked about the global aspects of International Telehealth, specifically discussing the ability of doctors in the Amazon to meet with remote patients and local healthcare professionals while working from a floating clinic.

Dr. Kessler revealed that the number of Telehealth patient encounters in 2011 in GA alone was over 40,000. The fields of psychiatry, neurology, Telestroke and rural patient care have been most aggressive in utilizing video conferencing thus far, and expansions into many other fields are rapidly emerging.

Council members and the Vidyo executive team came away from the meeting with a great deal of excitement about the future prospects of Vidyo-enabled telemedicine and Telehealth solutions to improve the quality and decrease the cost of providing critical services to patients around the world.