Vidyo Positioned a Visionary in Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web Conferencing

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Today we shared news that Gartner positioned Vidyo as a “Visionary” in the Magic Quadrant for Web Conferencing. We are thrilled that Gartner moved us from the Niche Players Quadrant deep into the Visionary Quadrant. This comes on the heels of another key industry report, the Aragon Globe Report on Web and Video Conferencing, where we were named a “Leader”. And earlier this year Vidyo was also positioned as a “Leader” in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Group Video Systems. We are very honored to be recognized by these well-respected research organizations.

These reports underscore an emerging trend, the convergence of web and video conferencing. The value and demand for a single unified communications platform, that can deliver both the virtues of web conferencing and the quality and scalability of our video conferencing solutions, have prompted many customers to replace their web conferencing with a stand-alone Vidyo solution.

The VidyoWorksTM platform delivers presence, directory and ad-hoc video calling in addition to web conferencing and webinar features, such as click-to-connect, which can simplify ease of use. The Vidyo platform allows customers to address multiple use cases with a single investment.

The VidyoWorks platform to address the evolving requirements of the conferencing market and we firmly believe that offering the highest quality, most scalable and error resilient platform will continue to set Vidyo apart in the future as the web conferencing and video conferencing markets converge.

We see Vidyo’s inclusion in these reports as strong indicators of our continued momentum in the marketplace and we don’t plan to slow down anytime soon!

Google and Vidyo Bring VP9 to WebRTC

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Google just announced that the upcoming release of its Chrome browser, version 48, will have VP9 support for WebRTC.  This is an important milestone for WebRTC and Chrome for a number of reasons.  To appreciate why, it is useful to look a little bit at the history of video codec support in WebRTC as well as Google+ Hangouts, Google’s popular videoconferencing app.

HangoutsWhen Google+ Hangouts was originally launched, it used H.264 SVC, the scalable video coding extension of H.264 that Vidyo co-developed.  The use of scalability in the video codec is essential for implementing a radically different server design for multipoint video, able to deliver an unprecedented range of features: error resilience and localization, rate adaptation, personalized layout, cascading, etc.  More significantly, all this is done with extremely low delay (an order of magnitude less than a typical transcoding MCU), at a massive scale, and without any signal processing at the server.  Vidyo introduced this server design in 2008 in its patented VidyoRouter™ product.

Hangouts moved to use the open-source VP8 video codec in August 2013 so that, among other things, the client could eventually run over WebRTC as explained in interviews by senior Google management. As VP8 does not offer spatial scalability, a simpler version of it called simulcasting was used.  With this technique an endpoint produces multiple video streams at different bit rates and resolutions.  The server receives both, and selects which one to forward to receiving participants. (We later on coined the term “Selective Forwarding Unit”, or SFU, to describe the operation of these servers in a generic way.)

At the same time the transition to VP8 was being made, Vidyo and Google announced that Vidyo would be collaborating with Google to develop a scalable extension for the VP9 video codec as part of the WebRTC client open source project.  The goal is to combine the power of WebRTC with the benefits of scalability to be able to deliver the best possible experience for the end users.

VP9

The inclusion of VP9 in WebRTC in Chrome 48 marks an important milestone in this collaboration.  It is the first widely available software release of this new codec (outside a flag, across all Chrome platforms). The release incorporates the proposed standard RTP packetization for VP9, which was co-designed and developed with Vidyo and Google, and which supports the new scalability features.  Spatial and temporal scalability features in the codec itself are already in the WebM and WebRTC code repositories.

ChromeAs additional experience in deployed applications is obtained, and appropriate API support is made available at the WebRTC layer, we expect they will find their way into future versions of the Chrome browser in a backwards-compatible way.

Vidyo has utilized scalable coding to built a new server architecture for large-scale, very high quality video communication, on virtually any network and device.  This architecture excels in environments that require large scale and/or are hosted in the cloud.  It is also inherently codec-agnostic: the choice of the codec, from an infrastructure point of view, is purely a business decision.  As long as scalability is available, then the infrastructure can perform its magic.

We are very excited that we will soon be able to bring the proven benefits of this design to the WebRTC world. While this release is the first step, as the saying goes, the first step is half the journey.

Does Video Matter to Contact Center KPIs?

Net Promoter Score (NPS) Success - Vidyo

You know that moment when you learn something new and then notice it everywhere immediately afterwards, wondering why we hadn’t noticed it before? Well this time it was a Contact Center KPI called Net Promoter Score (NPS) at the Gartner Symposium in Barcelona, Spain.

That first mention of NPS came from a Vidyo customer on stage, who said that his organization’s NPS “doubled” when it moved users from audio to video. No sooner had I heard that, an e-mail popped into my inbox from one of our customer trials talking of a NPS score of 78%. In the booth, one of the conversations with a CIO was about improving the loyalty of their customers and improving the NPS!

For those who are now asking “what’s NPS?”, well its very simple: the Net Promoter System is a methodology for measuring the Engagement level of a customer. This is often presented as a “would you recommend us to your friends” type question, with an answer on a scale from 1-10. The answer is simply translated as follows

Net Promoter Score (NPS) Diagram - Vidyo

  • 1-6 = Detractor – somebody who would be negative about your company or brand
  • 7-8 = Passive – neither detractor or promoter
  • 9-10 = Promoters – somebody that would promote, recommend or speak positively about you

You calculate the Net Promoter Score by deducting the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters. Thus the higher the NPS the more people you have promoting your brand within their network. Some light research on the web on NPS indicates that there is a strong correlation between NPS and revenue. One Online Retailer speaks of a 30% increase in revenue from customers whom they service using video

So why is this relevant to a video enabled world?

NPS is a statistic that crosses over both audio and video. It’s a consistent measure, linked to a very key business metric – revenue – and allows us to measure the business impact of a technology, not just quantitative measures of a how efficient a call center is.

Let’s use banks as an example. A Bank needs to balance Engagement, Cost and Convenience. Neither online nor branch completely deliver on all 3 fronts:

Net Promoter Score (NPS) on Banking - Vidyo

Yet video enabled banking addresses all 3 at the same time, its convenient, its low cost and yet its delivering well on the Engagement level which typical Online Banking does not. And it’s this Engagement aspect that is measured in terms of the NPS.

During the Gartner Symposium Vidyo spoke to well over 350 senior decision makers about video enabled Customer Engagement and every single one of them could easily see that Vidyo was leading in this space. Vidyo now powers over 50 video enabled Customer Engagement projects worldwide in financial services alone!

What decision makers were all looking for in a partner was a technology that:

  • Scales: The Vidyo platform can scale to huge numbers, with IndusInd Bank in India offering their Vidyo powered ‘Video Branch” service to 8 million account holders
  • Highest Quality & Reliability: Vidyo is designed to deliver the best quality over any network such as 3G, 4G, Wifi etc, to virtually any endpoint, including mobile.
  • Proven & Mature: Vidyo has 4000 customers, millions of users, hundreds of telemedicine deployments and over 50 customers using Vidyo enabled Customer engagements in financial services.
  • Highly Secure: With customers such as the US Department of Defense, banks around the world & compliance with the likes of JITC, FIPS & HIPAA, Vidyo takes security very seriously

When you take a technology such as ours and integrate it into an existing Contact Center, webchat tool, mobile app, call recording technology etc., you can introduce new, engaging ways to serve your customers over a video channel. For each use case that you enable with video, you provide the basis to improve upon your NPS and increase your revenue.

So there you go. NPS. Net Promoter Score, something that can be improved dramatically by video enabling your Customer Engagement platforms. I learn something new every day and I hope you did too!

Mitel Ups the Ante for Visual Collaboration with Vidyo

Mitel MiCollab - Vidyo

Today Vidyo and Mitel shared news of a new OEM agreement that will enable Mitel to leverage Vidyo APIs to embed Vidyo’s industry-leading, software technology into various Mitel solutions including its MiCollab application. Mitel, one of the fastest growing cloud communications providers, powers more than 2 billion connections daily for 60 million end users. This new agreement means that today any of Mitel’s 3,500 channel partners worldwide are able to deliver the best in scalable video conferencing and collaboration to virtually any endpoint!

MiCollab Desktop - Vidyo

MiCollab Desktop Client Integrated with Vidyo

BluCurrent Credit Union in Springfield, MO is one Mitel customer who has already taken advantage of the deepened relationship between Vidyo and Mitel to better serve its clients.

BluCurrent Credit Union is Springfield’s largest credit union with nearly 20,000 members, 3 branch locations, and over $140 million in assets. BluCurrent provides access to more than 6,800 shared branches through its unique CU Service Center affiliation, and nearly 30,000 free ATMs nationwide through its CO-OP Network membership.

“We are confident that face-to-face video communication is revolutionary for banking – empowering our members to communicate with our representatives to do business more easily and efficiently,” said Jesse Jantz, VP of Information Systems, BluCurrent Credit Union.

Currently BluCurrent uses MiCollab, integrated with Vidyo, to facilitate convenient face-to-face interactions between customers and advisors that may be located elsewhere in the region.

“Our members are able to come in to any of our locations, and do a face-to-face video call with our skilled professionals in our central location. Centralizing with this technology enables us to more quickly and effectively service all of our locations without asking members to have to come to our main office. Vidyo and Mitel allow us the ability to offer our members the choice to meet with a virtual advisor, without physically coming into a branch. With just one click of a button, members will be able to connect from their desktop or mobile device in the near future,” Jantz added.

Companies across industries are adopting video-based communications to facilitate easier, more productive interactions with end customers. In financial services, the benefits of a strong digital collaboration strategy can lead to improved customer engagement and retention, according to a recent study from Fidelity Investments. According to the report better tech, like video conferencing, helps build the practices of financial advisers. The study states that advisers who use the latest tech tools had almost 40% more assets under management and more client investors from Generation X and Y.

Ready for more? Find a Mitel partner near you and ask about Vidyo-enabled MiCollab!

Connect with Vidyo at Gartner Symposium /ITExpo 2015

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It’s that time of year again, Gartner IT Symposium and Expo in Orlando! Don’t miss this opportunity to see first-hand the ecosystem of Vidyo-enabled applications for Healthcare, Customer Engagement, Financial Services, Field Services, Vidyo on drones, smart glasses and much more!

Vidyo’s CEO Eran Westman will be speaking to attendees on Video-Enabled Workflows as Part of a Digital Leadership StrategyTuesday October 6, 10:30-11:15 ET in Europe 10

You can find Vidyo at our booth in the Visual Collaboration Zone at the Yacht Club and on the IT Expo show floor (booth #328).

Don’t miss Vidyo at Gartner IT Symposium 2015! Schedule a meeting and add Eran’s keynote to your Gartner itinerary today!

 

Vidyo Surpasses 100 Patents and 10 years of Video Conferencing Innovation

Vidyo recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary. It’s amazing to contrast the range of products that we offer today, and the number of people that we reach every day through our software solutions with the first meetings of the early days. What started off as mere concepts on whiteboards and presentation slides has translated to technology that has changed our industry in very significant ways.

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Vidyo’s software-based approach limits the need for transcoding and associated infrastructure.

I could describe these changes in various terms – changes in product architectures, standards, industry best practices, and so on – but there is a great measurement of innovation that has the benefit of originating from objective third parties: patent offices. As it turns out, Vidyo recently celebrated the issuance of its 100th worldwide patent.

Vidyo was founded in order to build a disruptive, new architecture for large-scale, very high quality video communication, on virtually any network and device. From day one, as a new company in a space of considerable technological complexity, it sought to protect its innovations through patent applications filed in the US and elsewhere around the globe. These patent applications started producing results within a few years, with our first patent being issued in the US on September 22, 2009 (US Pat. Nr. 7,593,032) and the 100th being issued in the US on July 7, 2015 (US Pat. Nr. 9,078,004). As of today Vidyo has a total of 108 patents worldwide.

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Vidyo’s First Patent issued in the United States – September 22, 2009

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Vidyo’s 100th Patent issued in the United States – July 7, 2015

Vidyo’s patents span a wide range of subjects. Some relate directly to our products, some have been found essential to practice certain industry standards in video compression and communication, and some describe more strategic technology explorations. Several apply to more than one category.

Although each patent has its own history and background, I chose to highlight here two particular patent “families.” (By patent family we typically refer to an invention for which patents are being pursued at multiple jurisdictions around the world, and which may result even in multiple actual patents in the same jurisdiction.)

The first family happens to include our very first issued patent, US Pat. Nr. 7,593,032.  The title, “System and Method for a Conference Server Architecture for Low Delay and Distributed Conferencing Applications,” describes certain aspects of the operation of our VidyoRouter. The VidyoRouter is a cornerstone of Vidyo’s technical architecture, in that it takes advantage of scalable video coding to deliver an unprecedented range of features (error resilience and localization, rate adaptation, personalized layout, cascading, etc.) with extremely low delay (an order of magnitude less than a typical MCU) and at a massive scale – and all that without any signal processing at the server. The VidyoRouter’s design did not exist as a concept in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) specifications when it was first introduced in our products in 2008.  For example, the RTP Topologies RFC, RFC 5117, published at the same time, did not foresee it. We have subsequently introduced the concept of the “Selective Forwarding Unit” (SFU), now incorporated into the RTP Topologies update (which should replace RFC 5117 soon), to cover this design using a generic, non-commercial term.

The second patent family that I would like to highlight includes US Pat. Nr. 9,077,964, “Systems and Methods for Error Resilience and Random Access in Video Communication Systems.” As the title suggests this patent deals with error resilience. It covers a key concept for achieving error resilience through the use of temporal scalability. The concept is very simple: by using temporal scalability, one merely has to protect the lowest temporal layer, typically one fourth or one half of the original pictures, rather than the entire set of pictures. Since these pictures are now at two or four times the temporal distance, the system can use retransmission to recover any parts of them that may be lost.  Using a design that allows the system to detect such loss with the very first packet that it correctly receives, one can achieve error resilience that is an order of magnitude higher than techniques that use non-scalable video. At Vidyo we decided that the parameters used in this technique would be of significant value to the entire industry and so proposed their inclusion in all RTP payload formats of relevant codecs: H.264 SVC (RFC 6190), H.265VP8, and VP9. We submitted intellectual property rights (IPR) disclosures at the IETF that ensure that people who implement these standards can use them*. At the same time, certain claims of the 9,077,964 patent and other Vidyo patents have also been found essential for implementing the H.264 SVC and H.265 codecs, and we have licensed the relevant claims through the corresponding patent pools managed by MPEG-LA, thus making it easier for people to make use of these standards as well.

These two patent families highlight two important dimensions of Vidyo’s technology development efforts, which form a continuous balancing act. Some innovations we maintain exclusively to Vidyo, as they are part of what makes Vidyo unique. Some others we believe are better suited to be incorporated into standards so that anybody can have access to them, thus benefitting the entire industry – both producers and users (ourselves included, of course!). As the industry matures further, one can expect more and more technical features to become standardized, as new ones come in to define differentiation. This has been the traditional development cycle of standardization and innovation for a long time, and one in which we expect to continue to be an active participant.

It’s been a fascinating journey – and a real privilege to be part of the team that is making it happen. On to the next 100!

*Please refer to the specific IPR disclosures for the precise legal framework surrounding these disclosures.

Vidyo in India: Embracing Video Conferencing

Over the past few years in India, Vidyo has seen a significant upswing in adoption of its video conferencing technology, deployment of integrated video communications applications, as well as partnerships across verticals and with service providers– a true testament to the scale, flexibility and value of the VidyoWorks™ platform!

India Government Mobile Video Conferencing

VidyoMobile™ being used by the Government of Andhra Pradesh on a tablet. 

Because Vidyo works on virtually any device and network, either in the cloud or on premises – it is the perfect fit for the specific market challenges in India. With bandwidth being a constant obstacle, Vidyo is the foolproof solution to connect and collaborate using public Internet and wireless networks that can affordably scale as needed.

The need for reliable, scalable technology has become particularly relevant in the Government sector. The Andhra Pradesh & Telangana Conferencing Facility is an example of a colossal Vidyo deployment at the state level where more than 1,200 Vidyo rooms have been deployed across Andhra Pradesh & Telangana’s 23 districts and 1,100 Mandals.

To learn more on the Andhra Pradesh & Telangana Conferencing Facility watch this video case study.

Andhra Pradesh Technology Services (APTS) launched the massive network that provides the State Secretariat in Hyderbad with a direct video conferencing connection to all 1007 district zones across the state, facilitating visual interaction between top level officials and field level personnel.

The national and state governments’ focus on ensuring digital workflows has driven large scale adoption of Vidyo’s technology across multiple departments, from State High Courts to the Department of Financial Services and Department of Education to Premier Government Technical and Management Colleges such as the Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institute of Management (IIMs).

Vidyo partnerships with top service providers like SIFY and Arkadin have also contributed significantly to Vidyo’s success in India. Most recently, our partnership with Airtel, India’s number one telecom provider, has allowed Vidyo to not only grow its footprint, but has given us the opportunity to act as a key thought leader in the video communication and collaboration arena.

Airtel and Vidyo Economic Times

Every month over the course of the next year, Vidyo and Airtel, in conjunction with the Economic Times will be presenting to customers and prospects on the value of video conferencing in business work flow. Listen to our first cooperated effort on the power and potential of video collaboration and watch our TV segment on ET Now: Empowering Enterprises.

But of course Vidyo’s versatile technology is permeating several industries across India! Powerful integrations in the financial services space, such as IndusInd, provided India with the first “face-to-face” online banking experience, and Reliance Mutual, a top Capital Asset Management company in India, also uses Vidyo to power their Video Chat function that allows distributors to connect with Reliance Mutual experts. Together these companies are driving interest in Vidyo across banking services throughout India!

IndusInd Mobile Video Banking

VidyoWorks powers Video Branch, a mobile and desktop-based banking service deployed across India. 

And keep your ear to the ground for new Vidyo applications in Healthcare – yet another vertical that is recognizing the immense benefits of real time video communication. Multiple VidyoWorks integrations are on the horizon that will boost the quality of care and promote better patient outcomes in various healthcare platforms across the country.

With a population of more than 1.25 billion people, almost 980 million mobile connections, the impending launch of 4G services nationwide and around 300 million Internet connections* – the Indian market is ready to embrace the next generation of video communication.

Sunny Rao is general manager of India and can be reached at sarao@vidyo.com

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*http://gadgets.ndtv.com/telecom/news/telephone-connections-in-india-cross-1-billion-mark-telecom-minister-712083

Vidyo Teams with Logitech to Put Customers First

Vidyo is very proud to announce our participation in the Logitech Collaboration Program! Together, we will provide our customers with an exceptional integrated collaboration experience, by enhancing business solutions with seamless, face-to-face video communication. Vidyo’s group and personal solutions work with a broad range of industry standard peripheral devices for VidyoRoom™ and VidyoDesktop™ deployments. See a full list and details here.

Logitech LCP

“Vidyo’s software based platform delivers high definition, multipoint visual communications on virtually any device and network,” said Mark Noble, Vice President, Strategic Marketing, Vidyo. “Professional grade cameras like Logitech’s CC3000e deliver superb HD quality pictures that complement and leverage Vidyo’s industry-leading video conferencing technology. We are happy to support this Logitech camera, among others, for our growing customer base who have come to expect the best quality the market has to offer.”

Vidyo’s patented, innovative technology puts high definition, multipoint video communications within reach of anyone on any device and network. We are excited to be working with Logitech to deliver the best experiences and solutions for our customers.

“The Logitech Collaboration Program will focus on an exceptional user experience by enhancing business communications with end-to-end solutions that simply work,” said Jason Moss, general manager of Logitech’s collaboration group. “Working together with industry-leading technology companies on the integration of Logitech products will provide improved product functionality, customized user experiences, and will accelerate new innovations into the collaboration market.”

Some Logitech® Cameras that Vidyo supports include:

Logitech supported-cameras

You can learn more about the Logitech Collaboration Partner Program here.

Vidyo Positioned as Leader in Gartner Magic Quadrant!

Vidyo Group Conference

Great news! Gartner issued their first Magic Quadrant for the topic of Group Video Systems and Vidyo was one of only three companies positioned in the critically important “Leaders” quadrant!* We see this as a tremendous acknowledgment of both Vidyo’s vision and Vidyo’s ability to execute. Read more about the report in our latest Gartner Newsletter!

According to Gartner, “The introduction of innovative new form factors, software infrastructure and cloud services is reshaping enterprise video collaboration. The following vendors offer potential for greater reach, scale and interoperability while addressing the most critical video user cases.”

Gartner goes on to say, “Group video systems primarily serve the need for high-quality video interaction across a range of meeting room sizes. In addition to one or more screens of video, these systems allow for content sharing, as well as integration with unified communications (UC) platforms. As participants join meetings from outside the conference room, these systems also accommodate desktop and mobile endpoint add-on while providing continuity of experience.”

We believe that being placed as a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant is confirmation of Vidyo’s market momentum. Today customers of all sizes including those requiring extreme security are using Vidyo to visually connect their global teams, and customers, providing the highest level of collaboration tailored to the specific needs of each company.

The VidyoWorks™ platform is being selected by enterprise companies, financial services, telemedicine providers and government agencies and offers an innovative alternative to incumbent providers. Vidyo offers enterprise companies the best and most affordable way to connect and collaborate and as our customers tell us, ‘it just works.’

Don’t forget to learn more about the report in our latest Gartner Newsletter.

* Source: Gartner, Inc., Magic Quadrant for Group Video Systems, by Robert Mason and Tom Eagle, July 15, 2015

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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 or other designation. 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.

Customer Engagement Best Practices: Adding Video Communication to Existing Compliance Recording and WFO Solutions

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In his 2014 book The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance, Jim Blasingame states that the Internet, mobile devices and associated applications have changed the millennia-old balance of power between sellers and customers and, for the first time in history, the customer is now in charge of the relationship. In The Age of the Customer, the customer controls the flow of information and increasingly expects sellers to connect with them on their terms.

If you are in the banking, insurance, healthcare or any other highly competitive and customer-centric market, you are no doubt experiencing this phenomenon as your customers demand mobile apps, online and personalized services available 24×7. The price for not keeping up with the trend? Lost customers, declining revenue and reduced wallet share.

Customer-Engagement-Webpage

In response, unprecedented numbers of businesses are launching video enabled customer services via ATMs, kiosks, embedding video communication capabilities into websites, and on mobile apps. In highly regulated industries, and in any business where recording and work force optimization (WFO) tools have been deployed, it is essential to leverage the existing contact center recording and work force optimization systems so the same level of regulatory compliance and analytics can be applied to video-based interactions as to traditional service channels. Vidyo’s real time interactive video communication engine can now be integrated with market leading recording and WFO solutions from industry leaders like NICE Systems.

If your customers have put you on the hot seat to add video to your customer service mix, you can feel confident that your investment in a compliance recording and workforce optimization solution can be extended to include video interactions