Overcoming Network Limitations for Universal Video Conferencing

The promise of video conferencing offers benefits that are appealing to almost any company:  employees can collaborate across geographies and time zones without the need to travel, saving companies money and improving the work life balance.   As a result, employees are happier and more productive.  Although the adoption of video conferencing has steadily increased, one of the key constraints has been particularly difficult to overcome to make video conferencing a truly universal tool that can be used by any employee in a company.  Vidyo’s Adaptive Video Layering overcomes this critical constraint to deliver universal video conferencing.

Despite the promise, when it comes down to real life deployments, video conferencing faces a basic problem when trying to achieve universal availability.  Video conferencing requires a high quality broadband connection, and this just cannot be achieved cost effectively in all cases.  High quality can be defined as a connection that delivers high enough bandwidth to avoid congestion or one where the priority of the traffic can be controlled.  This requirement can significantly increase the cost of a video conferencing deployment by requiring a business class service with MPLS for quality of service (QoS).  Although pricing may vary from carrier to carrier, the average price for a nationwide MPLS service adds approximately $100* per month for a T1 access circuit.  For a 100 site deployment, that’s an additional $10,000 per month in added operational expense.

Over the past 10 years, companies have redesigned their data and communications infrastructure to leverage the cost advantages of IP networks.  The TDM networks of the past consisted of network silos where a separate network was built out for each individual application or service.  With IP convergence, a common IP transport is leveraged with multiple applications leveraging the common infrastructure.  Ironically, the suggested approach to video conferencing from some of the larger vendors is to go backwards in time and build out a separate video conferencing network. Figure 1 below compares the different approaches to video conferencing and how Vidyo’s technology allows companies to further leverage the benefits of a converged IP network rather than building out an expensive overlay network.

Figure 1

There is no argument that video conferencing increases the bandwidth requirements of a network.  The traditional view has been to build out a separate overlay network designed to support the performance requirements of video.  Vidyo has taken a very different approach and created a technology that can actually adapt to the network itself.  Adaptive Video Layering optimizes a video stream based on the network characteristics and endpoint capabilities.  The significance of this innovation is that it allows any endpoint to become a video conferencing device, and it can work over a broadband connection starting at about 500 kbps.

With this approach, companies do not need to deploy expensive overlay networks using expensive business class services such as nxT1s with MPLS.  Rather, they can leverage the lowest cost broadband Internet access available including consumer grade xDSL or cable service.  This drastically changes the network economics of deploying a universal video conferencing solution that can be used by any employee.  High speed broadband is becoming more and more widely available.  However, solutions from the traditional video conferencing vendors work best with business class bandwidth of approximately 3 to 5 Mpbs, which is just not available cost effectively everywhere.  Vidyo has taken on this challenge with its patented Adaptive Video Layering to make high definition video conferencing not just a promise for the future but a promise with concrete benefits that can be delivered to every employee today.

Source:

*Industry analysis from carrier pricing from ILECs and CLECs.

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Young-Sae Song

Young-Sae is Vidyo’s vice president of product and channel marketing. He has over 10 years of experience in the networking and telecommunications industry.  He joined Vidyo from Covad Communications, where he developed and introduced nationwide Ethernet and MPLS services.   Prior to Covad, Young-Sae worked at leading networking and software vendors such as Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent, and Microsoft.  He also served executive clients in the financial services, telecommunications and manufacturing industries, focusing on strategy formulation, service operations and organization restructuring as a management consultant at Booz & Company.  


VidyoPanorama: Personal Telepresence with Immersive Interactions

Today’s workforce is increasingly mobile and global, and an office extends beyond the four walls of a physical building.  With globalization and the growth of the Internet, people have dramatically changed the way they work and the devices they use for communication.  Along with the standard office phone and computer, many workers conduct their business on smart phones, tablets, and home computers.  In addition, they work in the office, on the road, and at home.  The fact is that today’s business is conducted over multiple devices and anywhere there is an Internet connection.

Unfortunately, when it comes to video conferencing, the majority of solutions have really limited themselves to proprietary endpoints that limit the availability and use cases.  This is especially true for telepresence rooms, which fail to deliver an immersive experience despite the excessively high price tag.  Figure 1 shows a very simple example of the imperfect telepresence experience, which is a common scenario that occurs hundreds of times every day.

Figure 1
Figure 1

The above scenario depicts a three way video conference with three participants in one location (P1, P2, P3) and one participant in another location (P4).  These four participants are communicating with another telepresence room with three screens.  As shown in the figure, when there are four remote cameras and only three screens, a tradeoff needs to be made.  In this case the trade off results in P3 not being displayed.  P3 can participate by appearing through voice activated switching, and the images of the participants will jump from screen to screen.  The typical configuration above probably cost about $1 million when factoring in the network and ongoing maintenance costs.  Even after that expense, the experience is not immersive but rather imperfect telepresence.

Vidyo has pioneered a new way to do video conferencing that redefines the telepresence paradigm.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zb6mJa43cP4

VidyoPanorama is a solution that enables personal telepresence with immersive interactions.  The experience is personal because we enable video conferencing over any device including PCs (Win, Mac, Linux), mobile devices (iPhone, iPad, Android), and other room systems.  The experience is immersive with 1080p60 resolution, which is the highest resolution offered in a telepresence solution today.  In a visual communication, 70% of all communication is nonverbal*.

At the end of the day, the quality of the interaction is not determined by the furniture or lighting but the immersive quality of the video itself.  The video needs to VGA quality or better for the face of each participant with real time voice and video synchronization whether the person is participating from a high end room system or an iPad2.  Vidyo delivers on these requirements with the best quality video and makes video conferencing universally available with its Adaptive Video Layering technology, which makes it possible to do video conferencing with a simple Internet connection.  And the best part of the Vidyo solution is that we provide all this for about 10% of the cost of the other solutions in the market today.

Vidyo Panorama

VidyoPanorama with a 9 screen setup, a Motorola Xoom, and iPad 2, an iMac 27” and a Google Nexus S all participating in the same Vidyo call.

It is exciting to talk to partners and customers who see the game changing potential of VidyoPanorama.  Beyond the traditional telepresence market, VidyoPanorama is being considered for new applications in healthcare and manufacturing that allow communications and collaboration not possible before.    Vidyo is delivering a whole new world of applications and industries by delivering a new era of telepresence economics that is sure to permanently change the industry dynamics.  Workers will be able to do video conferencing over the devices they want to use, and IT managers will be able to deliver a universal video conferencing solution to every employee in the company.

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Young-Sae Song is Vidyo’s vice president of product and channel marketing.  He joined Vidyo from Covad Communications, where he was responsible for marketing, branding, and developing next generation products for Covad’s wholesale division, which included communications and value added services.  Young-Sae joined Covad from Redback Networks, where he led the corporate marketing and branding efforts and established the company brand as a leading video solutions provider.  Prior to Redback he held senior management positions at leading technology companies such as Alcatel-Lucent, Riverstone Networks, and Microsoft.  Young-Sae also served executive clients in the financial services, telecommunications and manufacturing industries, focusing on strategy formulation, service operations and organization restructuring as a management consultant at Booz & Company.  Young-Sae received his MBA from the University of Chicago, and his B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern University.

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Related Links:


- VidyoPanorama Demo Video: Click here!
- Full VidyoPanorama Press Release: “
Vidyo Shatters Telepresence Price Barrier for Immersive Interactions with 1080p60 Resolution on Up to 20 Screens and Opens Untapped Markets
- Our blog post: “
iPad 2: Vidyo conference! See it now!
- Our blog post: “
Vidyo Taking Mobile Video Conferencing to the Enterprise Sources: *Human Productivity Laboratories