Vidyo Patent Portfolio: The Keys to Affordable, Scalable, HD Video Conferencing

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Today, we announced that Vidyo has crossed the 50 patents mark, having recently received its 56th patent with 65 patent families in various stages of the patent process. Yesterday, we shared that Vidyo had been named to a list of the Top 10 Innovators along with Tesla, SpaceX, NEST, Google, Amazon, Aereo, Square, Corning and IBM. Patents and innovation go hand-in-hand and Vidyo is driving industry-changing innovation.

Since it first began developing technology and products, Vidyo has actively cultivated an extensive patent portfolio covering its inventions including the VidyoRouter™ architecture, which eliminates the need for a transcoding MCU and QoS-enabled networks.  The VidyoRouter – Vidyo’s core server architecture – and several key Vidyo technologies relating to or extending the H.264, H.265 HEVC and WebRTC standards, as well as numerous other innovations in video communications are responsible for making high quality video communications more natural, scalable, affordable, accessible and robust.

According to Andrew W. Davis, Sr. Partner and co-founder of Wainhouse Research, “Vidyo has continually driven game-changing innovation in the video conferencing industry and the patented VidyoRouter architecture will continue to drive visual communications and human interactions into the next generation of workflow and Internet-connected appliances. The number of patents issued to a company is typically considered a testament to its drive for innovation and proof of its success in exploring the frontiers of what will be possible with today’s and tomorrow’s technology. The Vidyo team has continually been on the cutting edge, and proven to be an effective industry leader in this respect.”

Today’s announcement can be accessed here.

Tesla, SpaceX, Google, Amazon, Aereo, NEST, IBM, Corning, Square and Vidyo

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What a thrill for Vidyo to be included last week on this list of innovators with companies  like Tesla SpaceX, Google, Corning, Amazon, Square, Aereo, IBM and NEST- truly disruptors in their respective industries.

“Few companies have the creative genius to come up with a breakthrough technology, and even fewer have the genius to keep delivering innovative products over the long term,” according to Don Reisinger of eWeek who goes on to say:

“Vidyo is one of the smaller companies in this roundup, but it doesn’t make the firm any less innovative. The startup has invented a way to heavily compress video transmitted over wireless networks, allowing users to hold video-conferencing with just about any device they desire without quality-of-service issues. Vidyo is being used heavily across the enterprise for video conferencing and has become a real sore spot for Cisco’s telepresence initiatives.”

This is not the first time that Vidyo or the VidyoWorks platform have been recognized for innovation that transcends an industry, but we don’t take any of the accolades for granted.  Vidyo CEO Ofer Shapiro was recognized by the World Economic Forum as a Tech Pioneer, the company received the WSJ Innovation Award for all of Networking, Broadband and the Internet among all public and private companies, and was cited on the MIT Technology Review’s “50 Most Disruptive Companies”.

Ongoing innovation is part of our DNA at Vidyo and we look forward to tomorrow’s next opportunity.

VidyoWorks Platform Powers Swisscom Video Conferencing Service

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Swisscom, Switzerland’s leading telecommunications provider has launched a cloud-based, HD video conferencing service called “Vidia” — using the customizable VidyoWorks™ platform. The new video conferencing service was developed by Swisscom’s software team and runs on the Swisscom Cloud. The massive scalability of the VidyoWorks platform enables Swisscom to extend the Vidia service to hundreds of thousands of users.

“The integration of Vidyo has enabled us to offer our business clients the ability to place HD video conferencing calls. In Switzerland, customers expect a high level of quality and reliability; those features, along with the scalability and flexibility that was needed to really differentiate this service, were made possible through the power of Vidyo APIs and VidyoWorks,” according to Swisscom’s Head of Transversal Products, Erich Gebhardt.

This is another milestone launch for Vidyo’s service provider business and demonstrates the versatility, and scalability of the platform. That a major telco such as Swisscom used our platform to build this important new service is not only a testament to VidyoWorks, but also points to the relative ease with which telcos can differentiate their offerings and achieve a competitive edge in the market.  The Swiss are renowned for creating high quality, precision-engineered products and the selection of Vidyoworks is further proof of the quality of Vidyo’s platform.

Vidia provides each customer with their own virtual video conferencing room to participate in high quality, multi-party meetings.

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(Meetings can be accessed via a computer, tablet, or smartphone, Android/iOS)

Swisscom is currently offering its customers a free 30-day trial of Vidia.

Video Conferencing for Government and Local Businesses in Vietnam

We recently announced that FPT Telecom, a leading telecommunications provider in Vietnam, is deploying Vidyo’s services and solutions to various local businesses and government agencies across the country. By utilizing Vidyo’s video conferencing, FPT Telecom customers will be able to reduce time and costs associated with business travel, while increasing overall workplace productivity through simple and affordable HD-quality video solutions.

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(Guests viewed VidyoPanorama 600, HD40, HD230, mobile and desktop solutions in action.)

To celebrate this deployment, Vidyo and FPT held two events last week in Vietnam where they demonstrated the various solutions currently available to customers. Below are some pictures from the celebration, complete with hostesses wearing traditional Vietnamese attire welcoming the 160 guests from local enterprises, government, banks and multinational companies.

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(The Vidyo and FPT Telecom teams celebrating the events.)

Telemedicine: Increasing Access to Healthcare

DrSiddiqui2a[1]When we think about telemedicine, we generally think about equipment, space for hardware, and connectivity. Rarely, do we think about the fact that telemedicine is truly about connecting people. Telemedicine enables patients and physicians to make a connection, a human connection, and make significant decisions regarding one’s immediate or long-term health goals.

Telemedicine increases access to healthcare whether in an urban or rural setting. And nothing better demonstrates this seamless integration of people and technology than a service introduced by the California Telehealth Network, CTN Connect, based on Vidyo’s platform. With use of this service, no longer are telemedicine providers or patients thinking about boxes, equipment and locations. Instead the solution enables healthcare providers to focus more on patients and healthcare delivery.

As simple as this seems, the healthcare community and decision makers need to realize that technology fundamentally changes how we think about and how we deliver healthcare.

As a telemedicine provider for over a decade, I have been tied to my desk because of legacy video conferencing hardware. I often had to run back to my office to see patients or interact with physician colleagues due to the boundaries of older technology. Thankfully this is no longer an issue. Instead, I can now connect with hospitals, clinics and patients anytime, anywhere and on any device. With CTN Connect, I can be in my clinic using my laptop to connect with a patient, walk around the hospital and utilize my tablet to urgently see a patient in the ICU, or be at my desk and deliver a lecture to colleagues hundreds of miles away in multiple locations.

This was the vision of telemedicine that many of us have had for years and now it is a reality.

A situation that clearly demonstrates this ubiquitous access was a young patient I saw a few months ago.

Watch the video above to view this patient’s story - Alexa’s Story 1/30/14 from Vidyo Inc. on Vimeo.

On late Sunday afternoon, I received a call from the emergency department asking for anti-bacterial recommendations for a young woman with calf pain and a high fever.

After briefly speaking with the physician, I questioned the “simple” nature of the case and asked to see the patient. I utilized my tablet to connect to the emergency department and was speaking with the patient and the healthcare team instantly. Within a minute of seeing the patient, I realized that she was critically ill and, in consultation with the on site healthcare team, determined immediate surgical intervention was required.

The patient was fighting for her life as she went into surgery and continued to struggle post-operatively., But because of CTN Connect and the Vidyo platform, I was able to be at the patient’s bedside. speak with her family and work with the healthcare hospital team to deliver state-of-the art healthcare to this young women, regardless of the fact that her hospital was in a rural location.

The ease and simplicity of this telemedicine connection was due to our utilization of the CTN Connect service powered by Arkadin/Vidyo. During the days that followed and throughout this young woman’s care, we never dealt with technology or equipment hurdles. We were able to focus  on what was really important – delivering quality healthcare and focus on the patient’s wellbeing.

This is what telemedicine was meant to be.

These days we use technology in every aspect of our life: we communicate with our loved ones through texting, email and real time video conferencing, we buy clothes and groceries online, we pay bills and manage our money online. These activities represent an integration of technology in the very fabric of our daily activities.

There is no reason why technology cannot have the same impact on our healthcare delivery.

JaveedSiddiqui Javeed Siddiqui MD, MPH is the co-founder and Chief Medical Officer for TeleMed2U. In addition to being an Infectious Diseases physician, Dr. Siddiqui is a recognized medical technologist who has previously held an appointment at the School of Engineering, University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Siddiqui has been actively involved in telemedicine and telehealth since 2002 and has been recognized as a national thought leader in these fields. Dr. Siddiqui served as the Medical Director of one the nation’s top telemedicine programs at the University of California, Davis. In addition, Dr. Siddiqui was the first Medical Director of California’s Institute for Science and Innovation, The Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society [CITRIS]. Dr. Siddiqui co-founded TeleMed2U in 2010.

 

 

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.

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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. 

 

 

 

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.

Deploying WebRTC: Straight Ahead, with Two Sharp Turns

It seems everybody will be showing up at the WebRTC III Conference and Expo this week. The event has quickly become the premier venue for all things related to WebRTC, and attracts hundreds of people to standing-room-only presentations. It is rare that a technology generates so much interest so early in its development phase.

A lot of the industry excitement is perfectly justified. Until now, video and audio communication was only possible using dedicated applications and devices. WebRTC will provide a standardized API to the functions of a real-time communication device, built into a web browser. This will decouple application development from video engine development and unleash web-based application development creativity into the real-time communications arena. Video and audio communication will now be integrated into applications in ways that were previously not possible. Although companies like Vidyo have already been creating APIs for their video engines, WebRTC is the first instance of an industry-standard API. The fact that it originates from W3C and IETF further solidifies its credentials. The elimination of the “download” step is also very important in several application deployment scenarios.

In the midst of the excitement, however, there are two things that need to be considered. First, putting an API around a video and audio engine does not mean that one has solved the problems of packet-based video and audio transport over the Internet. This includes congestion control, rate control, error resilience, error concealment, among many others. An API is, and should be, transparent with respect to all these issues, since it does not affect application design and implementation. The quality of experience that a user will get, however, depends on what’s under the hood.

Vidyo has demonstrated that scalable video coding is the way forward for high quality, real-time video over the Internet, and nearly all companies in the field have followed our lead. Our recent announcement with Google concerning the development of a scalable video extension for VP9 is further testament to the need for scalability on the video codec, regardless of its origin. An inherent benefit of the WebRTC architecture is that one will be able to use a better codec without changing any part of the application’s code.

The second consideration that WebRTC enthusiasts should take into account is that in order for WebRTC to fulfill its promise of ubiquitous use of video and audio communication in web applications, it must be possible to design servers that can support the scale of these video and audio applications. This is essential for multi-point applications. A WebRTC server application must be able to support hundreds of users to be economically sensible. Traditional transcoding servers (MCUs) that have been used in videoconferencing are very complex, expensive, introduce unacceptable delay, and have very poor scalability (number of simultaneous users). This is a well-known problem in the video conferencing industry, and one that Vidyo has successfully solved with its patented VidyoRouter architecture. The VidyoRouter performs no transcoding, and can support hundreds of users from a single 1 RU box. Introduced in 2008, together with the first-ever Scalable Video Coding (SVC) endpoint design, it brought video conferencing in line with any other network application. Today the VidyoWorks platform represents the best solution for supporting large-scale WebRTC deployments.

There is no doubt in my mind that WebRTC represents a great leap forward for video and audio communication. In fact, I am sure we will all be surprised by the range and reach of the applications that will be developed. All the elements are getting in place and the road ahead is clear for its deployment and widespread use. Application developers should realize, however, that WebRTC is an endpoint API. Architects must take into consideration all the additional elements that are required to create successful applications that can scale to large numbers of users, and provide the high quality that users expect. A scalable codec and a non-transcoding server are the two most important elements.

The excitement today about WebRTC is centered on the application development community. If we are to transfer it to the user community we must make sure that we deliver the best possible quality and experience to them. In the past, legacy videoconferencing systems failed to meet consumer expectations so users shied away from using it. Today we finally have the technical know-how to deliver superb video and audio quality everywhere. We must make sure that we use it; users will reject any application, or technology, that falls short regardless of how promising the architecture may be.

Alex drives the technical vision and direction for Vidyo and also represents the company on standardization committees and technical advisory boards. He is an award-winning researcher, bringing over 23 years of research experience in video compression and communications to his role at Vidyo. Prior to Vidyo he was an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at Columbia University. Alex has more than 100 publications, holds 64 patents (several of which are used in Blu-ray Disc, H.264/AVC, and ATSC digital television systems), and has served as the Editor of the MPEG-4 Systems specification, Co-Editor of the H.264 SVC Conformance specification, and Co-Editor of IETF’s RTP Payload Format for SVC.  He is a Member of the Boards of IMTC and of the UCI Forum, and co-chairs the IMTC SVC Activity Group as well as the UCI Forum’s SVC Technical Working Group.