Federal E-Rate Program Helping K-12 Classrooms Travel the Globe

It’s easy to forget that one of the greatest discoveries of modern science began with a field trip. An inquisitive undergraduate at Cambridge University with a fascination for the natural world was given an opportunity to leave the classroom and set sail. This voyage from England to the shores of South America resulted in the theory of natural selection and catapulted the amateur naturalist, Charles Darwin, into the history books.

We can all recall participating in field trips of our own during our school years. Those bumpy rides at the back of museum-bound yellow buses may have helped us identify with Darwin’s bouts with seasickness, but our destination was most likely some place across town and not the exotic Galapagos. New technology, however, is helping resurrect the adventuresome spirit of Darwin, offering children access to learning opportunities not just around the block but around the globe.

We recently had the good fortune to see this new kind of learning in action at the San Carlos Charter Learning Center (SCCLC). Vidyo’s platform for education provided 22 California middle-schoolers the opportunity to spend an afternoon at a museum in Denver, 1,289 miles from their Bay Area classroom. The students participated in a virtual class on the circulatory system, and in the true spirit of scientific inquiry, they each got the chance to virtually dissect a sheep’s heart.

“The students and I formed a relationship with the science educator in Denver, and at a point, the monitor disappeared and it was as if he was in our classroom as one of us.”

“Seeing a heart on an iPad made learning accessible and interactive in a new way the students had never experienced before,” explained Ben Sibrack, a science and language teacher at SCCLC.  “The students and I formed a relationship with the science educator in Denver, and at a point, the monitor disappeared and it was as if he was in our classroom as one of us.”

Virtual field trips can bring course material to life in ways not possible with traditional, less interactive learning.  “We got to have our lesson in a whole new way. I thought it was really cool, different and fun,” explained one young student.  Another 6th grader surprised us by revealing, “I liked the virtual trip better than a real field trip because I can focus better in the classroom.”

Only a few short years ago, video conferencing was reserved for the Fortune 500 and universities with deep pockets. Today, however, HD-quality, multi-person conferences can take place over ordinary broadband networks and off-the-shelf computers already installed in most classrooms. To help schools make video conferencing an affordable reality, Vidyo is announcing that our education products are now eligible for discounts through E-Rate, a federally funded program that provides assistance for schools and libraries to purchase telecommunications and Internet access.

Museums, zoos, research institutes and theaters are embracing virtual fieldtrips via video conferencing as a way to expand their educational mission and reach a wider array of learners. A classroom today can travel to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, LA to learn about the attack on Pearl Harbor, visit The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center to take a virtual walk through forest canopies, or learn how to prepare a space shuttle for lift-off at NASA’s America’s Spaceport: John F. Kennedy Space Center. We hope that E-Rate and virtual field trips will help to democratize education by making world-class learning resources available to all learners.

“There’s so much potential with what we can do with HD, multiparty video conferencing over the Internet.  It gives us the opportunity to really break down barriers and change how we educate, in a way that was never thought possible a few years ago,” explained Mr. Sibrack. “With the kind of video conferencing that Vidyo delivers, we’re able to easily set up collaborative educational communities between schools within the Bay Area.  For that matter, we’ll now be able to set up collaborative communities across the U.S. and internationally as well.  These possibilities are amazing.”

I came to the United States to study and be part of the computer revolution.  Today, our schools are challenged to provide the level of educational exposure required to keep our students competitive with the world.  I believe one of the issues is that schools don’t have access to experts locally but, ironically, the United States has the largest resources of such experts in country – making it a distribution problem. Vidyo conferencing and communications solves this problem by bringing the experts closer to students and by making educational content available virtually from everywhere.

Click here to learn more about bringing Vidyo to your classroom through the E-Rate program.

Who’s First? The Race for Mobile Video Conferencing…

…And does it really matter?

      • December 2010 – Elisa service on Galaxy- first mobile service offering
        by a telecom provider on a tab and phone
      • August 2011 – Vidyo’s mobile client is available in the Apple App Store
        delivering multipoint HD videoconferencing for both iPhone and iPad
      • October 2011 – Polycom announces first enterprise HD video software
        solution for tablets

Who was first? Others have called out Polycom for making this false claim.  While Vidyo was both first to demo multipoint video conferencing on a mobile device (January 2010 in Paul Otellini’s CES keynote) as well as deliver multi-party videoconferencing on a smartphone and tablet, the real issue for enterprise decision makers is not about who is first, but about who can deliver a complete solution. With the memory of Steve Jobs still in sharp focus, I’m reminded that it is not about a specific product, but about delivering for the user the most satisfying effortless experience.

With the memory of Steve Jobs still in sharp focus, I’m reminded that it is not about a specific product, but about delivering for the user the most satisfying effortless experience.

In videoconferencing, porting an application to run on a device is only a small part of the requirement—this just delivers the potential for a personal video communication device. Having an intuitive UI for entering and interacting within a videoconference is another part of the experience. But the most important aspect is the actual video interaction that makes the communication experience natural and engaging. The challenge is that mobile devices use wireless networks—WiFi, 3G or 4G—and packets will be dropped and bandwidth may be limited as well as highly variable. And, an enterprise quality solution must be capable of multi-party conferences that enable communication with other mobile devices as well as desktop and room system participants who may encode at far higher resolutions.

Delivering on this challenge requires a completely different infrastructure architecture than what is offered by the old market leaders such as Polycom whose MCU architecture was designed for perfect connectivity such as provided by ISDN, and has now developed Band-Aid approaches including Forward Error Correction, Loss Packet Recovery and others to deal with the Wireless.Wild.West non-guaranteed QoS bandwidth. The result is lackluster performance and increased overhead that further exacerbates the challenging network conditions.

And the bad news gets worse for legacy MCU architectures when it comes to multipoint. When you have a mobile device interacting with another mobile device and an HD room system, the MCU transcodes and gives the gift of additional latency. Since it must transcode to enable disparate devices to be in the same multiparty meeting, it degrades the video quality in the process as well as adds delay. The problem is that for a natural interaction to occur on a mobile device, there just is not any time available for transcoding. Sure you can do it, but the experience is no longer satisfying. You’ll speak over each other, develop a tendency to pause before speaking, and other unnatural behaviors that will make you long for just a phone call or in-person meeting. Clearly, not an “Apple-quality” solution.

Vidyo was built with mobile devices in mind. Vidyo pioneered the use of the recent video compression standard—H.264 SVC— in video conferencing because it enables a latency-free way to adapt to packet loss.  Vidyo created an architecture that intelligently routes packets to each participant’s device based upon the resolution required, computational capability and bandwidth available, and to do so by dynamically adapting many times a second to changing conditions. And in a multiparty conference, it does this without transcoding so it maintains original video quality and adds less than 10msec delay because it makes packet routing decisions with no need to perform complex computational gymnastics. The user experiences natural HD quality multiparty videoconferencing that is engaging.

While this alone differentiates the Vidyo solution, the win for an enterprise deployment is that the Vidyo infrastructure can be deployed for 10% of the cost of the old Polycom MCU architecture. A single 1U VidyoRouter device can support 100 simultaneous participants. VidyoRouters can be geographically deployed to minimize bandwidth consumption. Since Vidyo is a software solution with central capacity license management, the full pool of licenses is available to all VidyoRouters as needed. The result is a dramatically lower number of licenses required to be purchased. And best of all, Vidyo only needs non-guaranteed QoS networks including internal bandwidth. The cost savings of moving away from dedicated video networks may pay for the entire Vidyo infrastructure!

So maybe this is why Polycom resorts to a misleading announcement. It craves for leadership, but it’s saddled with an old architecture that just can’t.

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Marty Hollander

Marty Hollander is Vidyo’s SVP of Market Development. With more than 20 years of high-tech marketing experience, Marty specializes in developing lasting strategic assets through creative market development. Previously, Marty served as Vice President of Marketing at Cemaphore Systems, Latitude Communications (later acquired by Cisco) and ProactiveNet (later acquired by BMC). He also founded CollectiveSpace and IntelliCorp, where he played a variety of executive roles. Marty has also held senior level positions at Silicon Graphics and Storm Technology. Marty earned an MBA from Stanford University as well as an MS from Carnegie-Mellon University.

 

Video Conferencing on the iPad, iPhone and Android Tablets and Smartphones

While VidyoMobile makes it possible to participate in unbelievably high quality multi-party video conferences over the broadband mobile network while you’re barreling down the highway, only do so from the passenger seat! Texting while driving has become a significant road hazard and is responsible for countless accidents—and texting has very limited engagement.  Just imagine how much more difficult it would be to concentrate on driving if you had a natural HD video interaction that made it feel like the participants were sitting in the car with you.

But there are so many other “safe” ways to use VidyoMobile that improves your flexibility to meet people face-to-face, and independently of whether the “far-end” participants are using mobile devices, laptop or desktop computers, SVC or H.323 appliance based room systems, or immersive telepresence systems. Assuming the iPad2 as the platform (and it really is a video conferencing endpoint in tablet clothing), there are three compelling modalities for the use of VidyoMobile.

Desktop Video Phone

VidyoMobile on a docked iPad 2 joining an HD multipoint video conference at 720p with 4 other laptops. (Note: This picture has not been photoshopped in any way.)

One of the nice things about using popular commercially available devices is ready access to low cost and very cool peripherals. Using an off-the-shelf speaker dock, VidyoMobile can turn your iPad2 into a very handy desktop video phone with a slim foot print.  This enables the user to have a stable hands-free experience with rich audio.  Since VidyoMobile supports shared content viewing and the neat zoom in/ zoom out pinch gestures provided by iOS, the collaborative experience is compelling.  And of course, when you are not VidyoConferencing, you can use it to add music to your work environment.

Mobile Access

VidyoMobile on Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 viewing a shared PowerPoint presentation while joining a multipoint video conference with 4 other laptops. (Note: This picture has not been photoshopped in any way.)

Not all mobility happens in cars.  Could be that a doctor wants to walk down the hall to pick up lab results, in which case she could just pull the VidyoMobile device off of the dock and take the conference with her.  Since VidyoMobile on the iPad2 offers the ability to switch between front and rear facing cameras, mobility also means delivering “see what I see” capability into a conference. For a customer support specialist who is showing an engineer in a remote lab a problem on customer site, a process engineer who wants to show the design house a manufacturability issue on the production line, or a biologist in the field showing a rare plant life to a life sciences class half way around the world, this is mobility at its best.  Of course, mobility may also mean face to face interaction from the back of a cab, on board a train or in an airport.

Ad-hoc Room System

VidyoMobile on iPad 2 joining an HD multipoint video conference at 720p with 4 other laptops and a room system. (Note: This picture has not been photoshopped in any way.)

Did you know that there is an optional HDMI dongle for the iPad2?  Even better, the dongle also supports simultaneous connection to power.  So now the same device that you are able to use in a dock as a desktop video phone, and then undock and continue to use in-transit, can now connect to a large screen 1080P display when you get to your destination so that multiple people can participate in the conference from the same location as the VidyoMobile device.  While the conference room is certainly a popular application, just image taking a meeting or connecting with friends and family from your couch with the conference on your living room TV.

So remember, even though VidyoMobile simplifies the user experience to a screen tap to enter a conference with no devices to configure or manage, please don’t video conference while behind the wheel of a car.  There are plenty of other safe and productive ways and opportunities to use VidyoMobile. Besides, with the ability to meet face-to-face with anyone, anytime, from anywhere, you’ll have less reason to be behind the wheel of your car in the first place.

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More info:

- VidyoMobile demonstration on iPad 2: View on YouTube.
- Full VidyoMobile press release: “Vidyo HD Multipoint Video Conferencing App for iPad2, iPhone Available Now”

Enabling Communication For Limited-English Speaking People in Healthcare and Education

Applications drive the use of technology. The success of the Apple i-product range is mostly driven by the 350,000 apps which are easily accessible. I have always been driven by the application philosophy in my own business of providing solutions to small and medium organizations. So I was excited when Roberto Fonts approached us to partner in a new service to provide language interpretation using video conferencing over the Internet.

Fonts’ company, Dialog One, is already established as a leading provider of phone and face to face interpretation but he saw shortcomings of these approaches in certain circumstances. For example in hospitals – getting an accurate diagnosis with a limited English speaking person usually needs more than just simple language translation. Being able to see the body language of the patient or for them to be able to point at the problem area can be key to enabling the doctor to get a quick and accurate assessment of the problem.

The service (Dialog One Video Interpreter, known as Dovi) allows customers to interact face to face with accredited language experts through a video conference interpretation over the Internet. The service is initially targeted at the healthcare and educational markets in Minnesota but will expand nationally over time.

“We have seen a continuously expanding need for language interpretation as the population becomes more language-diverse,” said Roberto Fonts, founder and President of Dialog One. “Schools and hospitals often need full-time staff to help conversations between staff, student, parents and patients but the problem is how to cover the number of languages now prevalent in Minnesota. Also there is a wide range of cultural differences and that is where we realized that the use of video can improve overall communication effectiveness. We researched the available technologies and chose Vidyo as the most cost effective, easy-to-use solution with the proven high definition that we need to make this service effective,” Fonts added. “Then we chose Phenomenal to be our technology partner so that we could focus on the interpretation.”

“We hear from Healthcare providers that they need to lower their interpreter service costs and get more work done.” said Fonts. “Using interpreters through video conferencing is faster and offers more flexibility. Customers pay only for the actual interpreter minutes being used rather than paying the industry standard 2 hour minimum for a 20-minute conversation. They are interested in faster response during and after business hours, weekends and holidays. They are looking for real solutions to their language barriers.”

Dovi customers often use a cart-based system that can be wheeled anywhere in the facility using wireless Internet connection.

Dovi is simple to use: the healthcare or education customer provides the computer hardware, web camera, a USB speakerphone all connected through a broadband connection to the Internet. They are often using a cart-based system that can be wheeled anywhere in the facility using wireless Internet connection. This way they can maintain maximum flexibility and lower cost.

Dovi also has a simple online procurement tool so that clients can schedule their video cultural mediation/interpretation session using secure login credentials. The user gets a confirmation email with the link to the video conference room for the interpretation session. Initially the service covers the dominant languages here in Minnesota including Somali, Hmong and Spanish but eventually will expand to the full 150 languages that Dialog One offers in their standard telephone and in-person translations.

Security and privacy are always major concerns for any communications and we have planned a high level of both data and voice communication security into the service. The high level of encryption available with Vidyo systems is a big selling point to meeting the strict regulatory requirements such as HIPAA and other privacy laws. We are all concerned about cost savings, improved services and better outcomes in all areas of Healthcare and Education. With Dovi and other associated applications, we can see improvements for all areas. One of the major cost problems is miss-diagnosis and minimizing this as well as providing a more comfortable environment for a limited-English speaking patient can create major cost savings.

So can businesses afford new solutions? The Holy Grail in this industry is achieving rapid ROI. The use of Dovi requires little to no investment in hardware technology & network to the end user. The concept is simple, and the user gets the experience of an onsite interpreter using video conferencing at the low cost of over-the-phone services. The ROI is quickly realized and the communication experience is heightened.

Also many of our customers see that, just like the iPad phenomenon, the Vidyo solution is a good general base technology on which to “stack” applications. So in addition to enabling language interpretation, the same system may also be used for general meeting teleconferencing, training, telemedicine and many other remote communication needs. The ability to go one-on-one or many-to-many gives great flexibility and, of course, strong cost justification.

…… and the service can also be used on iPads.

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Dave Shepherdson

Dave Shepherdson and wife Colleen sold their successful business in South Africa and moved to Minnesota in 2001. An advanced IT communications reseller/distributor, their company was rated in the Top 20 private businesses focusing on products from vendors like Lucent and Alcatel. They started Phenomenal Networks in 2001. In addition to being a Cisco Premier partner, the company became one of the first certified Vidyo resellers in 2008. Vidyo customers are currently mostly in the Healthcare and Education markets. As COO of Phenomenal, Dave brings 30 years of technology experience to identifying future business trends and advanced technology solutions.

Legal Industry is Poised for Explosive Growth in Personal Telepresence

Time is an expensive commodity. And few industries price time higher than in the legal profession.

So utilizing video conferencing to collaborate more efficiently and eliminate costly travel time, has been a high priority for law firms. Most major firms have been using the legacy video conferencing solutions.

A very large percentage of legal work involves collaboration, whether that is for attorneys working as a team or negotiating with counterparts representing the other side. While the legal profession has recognized the value of being able to meet face-to-face to accomplish their work, the video conferencing tools they’ve used have mainly been room-based. This experience has not been compelling because they’ve sat at traditional conference tables and had the experience of seeing their counterparts as barely recognizable figures around a large table. Well, times are changing for law firms, and today we just shared the Vedder Price story. Vedder Price upgraded from their Polycom legacy past to the modern Vidyo world.

Vedder Price has now used VidyoConferencing for almost a year. Vidyo was chosen to replace the firm’s legacy system which, according to the company, had become extremely limited in terms of flexibility and scalability, and wanted to ensure the new solution fit their UC strategy. Since they were a Polycom customer and had an investment in legacy room system and MCU hardware, they wanted to be sure that making the switch would deliver the desired benefits.

According to Lonnie Horvat, Vedder Price’s Audio-Visual Systems Specialist, “When I was approached about testing Vidyo as a possible component of our Unified Communications strategy, I was already familiar with the Vidyo online demo but hadn’t put the actual equipment to the test. We rigorously tested the VidyoGateway, VidyoRouter, VidyoPortal, VidyoRoom Units and VidyoDesktop for nearly 3 months. Our conclusion was that Vidyo provided the best high-quality image with the smallest network footprint; equipment and infrastructure cost was considerably lower than any other comparable option, and Vidyo provided the most flexible solution for now and into the future.”

Vidyo has other law firms as customers and many more doing their own trials. We are encouraged that the legal industry is coming to recognize that democratizing video communications to each person’s office or even to their iPad for mobile access is now the priority over just outfitting conference rooms for meetings. Having a major success within her firm, Vedder Price’s MIS Director says it better than I can:

“Vidyo offers significant advantages over other options, allowing us to easily and affordably expand into the future with incredible geographic flexibility, interoperability, and the choice of using a variety of different devices to access video conferences,” said Maureen Durack, Director of MIS at Vedder Price.  “After using Vidyo, we realized that legacy systems like Polycom are archaic solutions. Those companies can only go so far in reengineering what they have.  Vidyo’s one-of-a-kind SVC-based software platform with Adaptive Video Layering is a totally new approach that is much more suited for firms such as ours that have an immediate need for cost-effective, high quality video conferencing. With Vidyo we won’t have to worry about expansion and updating in coming years because they’re committed to staying on the forefront of technology and keeping up with new form factors such as mobile devices.”

Vedder Price is currently using VidyoConferencing for daily interactions among the firm’s attorneys across all of its locations, ongoing continuing legal education trainings for Vedder Price attorneys, and for remote depositions with clients and outside firms in various cities around the world.  We look forward to delivering this same value to all of the other major law firms and freeing them from the inflexible proprietary hardware architectures of the legacy video conferencing suppliers.

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Marty Hollander is Vidyo’s Senior Vice President, Market Development. With more than 20 years of high-tech marketing experience, Marty specializes in developing lasting strategic assets through creative market development. Previously, Marty served as Vice President of Marketing at Cemaphore Systems, Latitude Communications (later acquired by Cisco) and ProactiveNet (later acquired by BMC). He also founded CollectiveSpace and IntelliCorp, where he played a variety of executive roles. Marty has also held senior level positions at Silicon Graphics and Storm Technology. Marty earned an MBA from Stanford University as well as an MS from Carnegie-Mellon University.

 

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

 

Vidyo’s Telemedicine Platform Selected by Holy Cross Hospital

Vidyo’s versatile telehealth solution is being embraced globally by leading medical establishments (American Well, Massachusetts General Hospital, etc.), and today, Holy Cross Hospital’s innovative Virtual Care Services in Silver Spring, Maryland, is joining the healthcare revolution.  Holy Cross is using Vidyo’s technology to connect with patients, caregivers and other providers beyond the limits of the hospital, including extended care facilities, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities and even the homes of patients and their families.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5st8eB1bDk

Dr. Andrew Barbash, Medical Director for Neurosciences and Clinical Director of Virtual Care Services at Holy Cross Hospital, wrote for the Vidyo Blog about the meaning of virtual care and about what it can bring to healthcare:

What is “Virtual Care”, as opposed to “TeleHealth or TeleMedicine”?

Doctor Andrew Barbash

Healthcare is a “people process” – always has been and will be into the future. While “telemedicine” is an important component of virtual care, it is merely a subset of a more global process.  Virtual Care is more generic and implies that anyone should be able to receive the right level of prevention, pro-active care, diagnosis, decision-support, treatment and monitoring/follow up at the right time and place, from the best source of expertise, regardless of geography, personal demographic or economic status.  In order to achieve this we need to advance the “workflow process” of how PEOPLE support other PEOPLE along this path. The technologies are enablers, not the main drivers of success…the key is that all of this can now begin to take place “virtually” because the “tele” technologies have evolved to far greater levels of simplicity and affordability.

The essence of virtual care is that, by bringing the communications process into a ubiquitous, globally informed and highly affordable state (the clear trend that will never reverse)—people are empowered to connect with the right “other” people in order to make better decisions and manage their personal time resources far more effectively – all the while obtaining “better” and more effective care, independently from the traditional geographic or organizational silos. If people are educated as to HOW to achieve this, all of the tools, technologies, services and methods exist to bring this about.

Example: Engaging patients and family caregivers in shared decision-making in real time

A family had seen a specialist for a second opinion and wanted to review the findings with an endocrinologist who had known them for several years .The family was given a CD with some of the images and test results and had it in their hands, at home, 3 hours away. A time was arranged by email to have the latter physician connect with them by video chat, have them put the CD in their computer and display what was on their screen, so that all could discuss the likely findings in real time and avoid a long trip just for a follow up discussion. The family was happy to pay for the experience directly, but the process was so efficient for the physician, taking 15 minutes, that it was considered easier than trying to explain it all by phone or reviewing things by mail at some other time!.

Virtual care involves leveraging the entire continuous stream of advances in personalized communications while respecting the necessary boundaries that people require in order to function effectively.  It will involve the evolution of new models of collaboration and incentives to do so, well out of the bounds of the traditional model of healthcare delivery and financial remuneration for activity….probably more on an “availability model” than on a “specific service widget” one.

Join Vidyo on May 24th for an informative Web Seminar about how VidyoConferencing is transforming healthcare. Click here to register.

Example: Crossing the chasms of care

A hospital based physician is covering for the group of doctors who routine manage all the inpatients and are responsible for fielding phone calls about patients who had recently been transferred to other facilities. At 9PM a phone call arrives from a skilled nursing rehab center about a patient discharged from the hospital earlier that morning in stable condition.  The patient is having more trouble with some motor changes in the right arm, not specifically reported on admission or noted in the discharge documents received by fax. The nurse is not known to the doctor, the doctor is not familiar with that patient, and the physician is home, potentially with language obstacles between providers and/or staff.  The physician is able to “ping” a mobile device on wheels or any mobile computer within that facility near the nursing station, and request to have a quick video conversation with both the staff nurse and the patient or family attendant. Added history is obtained, an observation that the arm is really aching more than before, but not truly weaker, some local therapy recommendations made and a planned follow up visit the following morning by the staff attending physician is arranged.  A night time urgent transfer via 911 or ambulance was avoided

If it has made sense traditionally to have people come to “medical homes for primary care” and “multispecialty clinics” for integrated care, then it is perfectly reasonable to expect that advances in telecommunications should bring all of that expertise, when needed, right to where the patient, the family caregiver are at any time.  It becomes a partnership model of virtual collaboration in whatever level of instantaneity is appropriate to the task and eliminates the traditional obstacles to effective decision making that were based on physical access limitations.

Example: Real time collaboration of specialists with the medical home:

A busy primary care physician in a community health clinic for the under-insured has a patient with an interesting skin lesion or an unusual shaking of an arm that was noticed a few days ago. From any computer, phone, tablet or device within reach she “looks for and finds” a specialist who is accessible according to their “online personal availability” who arranges to “click back and drop in for a quick video consult” within the next 15-30 minutes.  A brief interaction takes place in which the specialist gets a bit more history, takes a look at the skin lesion or tremor, and provides some advice to the primary care physician or mid-level provider on interim management, with a plan to do a quick virtual follow up when the patient returns to the clinic next week. Nobody had to be inconvenienced–the patient, the family, the primary caregiver, the office staff, the remote specialist or his/her office staff, etc.  Everyone’s level of confidence was higher than if done any other way, and better care in the short term resulted.

Virtual Care means better care and better care means collaboration and shared decision-making that is not at all defined by physical boundaries or the constraints of clinic/hospital or other environments. It is not a virtual substitute for being physically present. It is about having knowledge and expert human support being far more present than ever before. Virtual care is the next phase in our evolution to far better and more effective care for anyone, any time, any place.”

Learn more about how Holy Cross selected Vidyo in the full press release.

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Related Links:

- Full Vidyo Press Release: “Vidyo’s Telemedicine Platform Delivers Unmatched Video Conferencing and Collaboration between Hospitals, Extended Care Facilities, Patients and Families”
- Doctor Barbash’s Blog: the NowDox Virtual Care Blog
- Our blog post: “American Well Chooses Vidyo’s Platform to Power its Online Care Services
- Our blog post:Massachusetts General Hospital Chooses Vidyo’s Technology for Telestroke Program


 

 

 

Australian Telemedicine Application Uses Vidyo

Attend Anywhere has been facilitating and managing the exchange of health services via video conference in Australia since 2001. Successful telehealth is a management, facilitation and integration challenge. System wide telehealth also requires an open peer to peer management and facilitation framework.  The Attend Anywhere web based management platform lets people locate services and each other and provides all the business integration, scheduling and management required.

Once doctors and patients have scheduled an appointment, they can join an HD video conferencing call from their laptops or computers, from anywhere, via Vidyo.

 

Secure, individual appointments are set up via the management platform using temporary video rooms that expire after the session is complete.

Many people who are still unfamiliar with Telemedicine are curious to know what it concretely consists of. To help getting a better idea of how video conferencing can be used in healthcare, here is an example of Vidyo and how the Attend Anywhere management platform can be used for chronic disease management.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tr5cm4oUGs

In 2011 telehealth is set to become a mainstream part of the Australian landscape as changes to government legislation and funding arrangements converge with systemic and business drivers, technology advances and social change. Recently, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard visited Monash University’s Alfred Hospital Campus in Melbourne to view real life applications of the technology to support access to clinical services via VidyoConferencing.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard attends a demonstration as a consultant physician (in the room) uses his laptop to consult with the patient in the Yarra Valley (top) with input from the surgeon (bottom).

The Prime Minister previously announced that from July 2011 a government funding program of $402.2 million over four years will provide:

– Medicare rebates for online consultations across a range of specialties
– Financial incentives for specialists, GPs and other health professionals to participate in delivering online services
– Expansion of the GP after hours helpline and include the capacity for the helpline to provide online triage and basic medical advice via videoconferencing
– Training and supervision for health professionals using online technologies

The Prime Minister and State Premier chat with patients and clinicians.

Healthcare is about human communication and telehealth heralds a radically evolved health system where traditional face to face services are delivered in the same way, but without travel.  The key is making the option of telehealth easy and sustainable for providers of healthcare services.  This means integrating the capability within everyday workflows and dealing with a range of facilitating considerations.  With the management and integration support offered by Attend Anywhere coupled with natural, HD quality video conferencing provided by Vidyo, telemedicine empowers healthcare professionals and their patients, lowering costs, cutting down on travel, and making personal health support and care affordable and universally available to an ever growing number of people from all over Australia.

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Related Links:

- Boston Globe article: “Partners stroke care going mobile
- Our blog post:
Massachusetts General Hospital Chooses Vidyo’s Technology for Telestroke Program”


Massachusetts General Hospital Selects Vidyo for Telestroke Program

As the American Telemedicine Association Expo in Tampa is soon approaching, discussions about the growth and importance of telemedicine are held all over the healthcare world. Early this week, the ATA has called on the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to waive the restrictions on the Medicare telemedicine statute for new accountable care organizations.

“Access to telemedicine is a crucial step toward realizing accountable care organizations visions, and the outdated Medicare restrictions cause a hindrance to those goals,” added ATA’s CEO Jonathan Linkous. In a formal letter written to CMS, ATA has proposed recommendations including home-based medical videoconferencing, among others.

Vidyo today, announced that the Partners Healthcare Telestroke Program at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) – supporting 27 hospitals throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine — has deployed a revolutionary telemedicine communication and collaboration solution based on Vidyo’s platform. The Vidyo telehealth solution will be used for video conferencing and sharing data to enable specialists from MGH to examine patients at remote hospitals miles away to diagnose and recommend treatments. MGH selected Vidyo for the next stage of its telestroke program.

We were looking for a telemedicine solution with very specific features and benefits,” said Dr. Lee Schwamm, M.D., Director of the Partners Telestroke Center in Boston, and Vice Chairman, Dept. of Neurology/Director of Acute Stroke Services at Massachusetts General Hospital. “The system had to work well, even with suboptimal network quality and also needed to be portable and flexible to allow us to work at a variety of different facilities, to expand our outpatient follow-up, non-acute care and provider-to-provider communications.”

MGH needed Vidyo to be interoperable with installed video conferencing systems at other hospitals outside of the MGH corporate network. The team also tested the Vidyo platform with the hospitals’ firewall configurations, “as-is,” to make sure the Vidyo platform would function with little or no support from IT people. They required that Vidyo be very adaptable to every environment with very little ‘tweaking’ from their IT group and that it deliver extremely natural, clear video fidelity. “When we conduct acute care stroke exams, video clarity is mandatory so that we can observe any subtleties of patient’s muscle movement and speech and detect problems; we need to clearly see the pupils in a patient’s eyes,” said Dr. Schwamm.

 

Vidyo will be at the 2011 ATA Conference in Tampa, Florida, from May 1 to May 4. Feel free to stop by our booth (#1517) and if you want to meet with us for a more in depth chat and demo, contact us!

 

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Related Links:

- Read about Massachusetts General Hospital and Vidyo on today’s Boston Globe article: “Partners stroke care going mobile
- Full Vidyo press release: “
Massachusetts General Hospital Telestroke Program Chooses Vidyo for Healthcare Video Conferencing and Telemedicine
- Full ATA press release: “
ATA: Removing Medicare Restrictions on Telemedicine is Key for Accountable Care

Vidyo Taking Mobile Video Conferencing to the Enterprise

Today, Vidyo announced VidyoMobile, a groundbreaking solution enabling enterprise mobile users on iOS or Android-based smart phones or tablets to join multipoint video conferences with desktops and HD room system participants.

“By enabling devices like smart phones and tablets to participate effectively in video conferences with room systems and desktop users, VidyoMobile is a giant step in making Vidyo’s vision of natural communications universally available a reality,” said Ofer Shapiro, CEO and co-founder of Vidyo. VidyoMobile delivers HD multipoint mobile video conferencing to the enterprise, untethering users and turning popular tablets and smart phones into high performance video communication endpoints with quality available only on desktop computers to date.”

Vidyo was announced as a finalist of the 2011 Best of Interop Award!

Vidyo was announced as a finalist of the 2011 Best of Interop Award!

Vidyodemonstrated the first TV quality multipoint video conference on a smart phone during the keynote address at CES 2010 and this year, Vidyo was honored at CTIA for Mobile Leadership and Innovation with the 2011 Mobility Trax Award for Enterprise Mobility / Mobile Video Conferencing.

Vidyo’s communication and collaboration platform was licensed last year by Elisa  Corporation of Finland which released  the first commercially available mobile multipoint video conferencing service on the Samsung Galaxy Tab and smart phone – the first such service  on any telecom network.

 

Vidyo used its SDK to enable the  Apple iPad 2 to participate in HD 720p multipoint video conferencing within hours of general availability of the device… and today, Vidyo was honored and delighted to be announced as a Finalist for the “Best of Interop” award!

 

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Related Links:

- Full Vidyo press release: “Vidyo Wins 2011 Mobility Award at CTIA for Outstanding Mobile Video Conferencing and Collaboration Solution
- Vidyo Blog post with a video demo of VidyoConferencing on a iPad 2: “See it NOW: Vidyo conferences on iPad 2!

- Vidyo Blog post with a video demo of VidyoConferencing on a Galaxy Tab: “Telepresence: Coming soon to a Galaxy Near You
- Jim O’Neill’s article in FierceVOIP: “VidyoMobile teleconferencing available on iOS, Android devices
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Full Vidyo press release: “Elisa Corporation to Pilot First Multi-Party TV-Quality Video Conferencing on Smart Phones and Tablets
- Full VidyoRouter Cloud Edition press release: “Vidyo Architecture Offers Unmatched Scalability and Economics for Large Enterprise and Carrier Video Conferencing”