And the Winner of the 5K race is…VidyoRouter
VidyoConferencing demonstrates 5K; breaks the 4K barrier

And we didn’t even break a sweat doing it! Apple announced the availability of the 27” iMac with Retina 5K Display on October 16, 2014.  Many of the bloggers wondered if there would be applications for 5K screen resolution beyond having room for tool-bars while editing 4K videos. We, at Vidyo, saw an opportunity to innovate and had one of these devices in our possession about 10 days after launch.  Within hours, we experienced the world’s first 5K videoconference.

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 Click here for the full Vidyo 5K experience.

So what’s the big deal? Why would anyone need 5K videoconferencing?

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For starters, it’s an amazing experience for anyone who participates in group collaborations – think Apple Retina display vs. an older screen.  You can have up to 16 720p participants rendered in 1:1 pixel mapping on the screen at the same time. That’s 6x (611%) more pixels in your desktop conferencing than an expensive telepresence system.

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Oh, and if you’re into research, industrial design, financial modeling with dense spread sheets, or any other application that depends on detailed imagery, content sharing is important to your collaboration. Imagine seeing shared content from a device with an Apple Retina or 4K display in full native 4K resolution while having seven participants at 720P around it. Your eyes will breathe a sigh of relief, not having to squint or interpolate data in scaled down images of lower resolution endpoints.

10-years-of-Innovation-and-Leadership

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, 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.

Vidyo Pushes Full Steam Ahead in the World of WebRTC

WebRTC is a great engine for building video collaboration clients and fits perfectly with our existing VidyoWorks™ platform for developers, and complements our existing VidyoConferencing™ product portfolio. That’s why announcing WebRTC support for both, is the natural progression as we take our next step in our WebRTC strategy.

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The announcement includes a new VidyoWorks Java Script (JS) API that allows developers to connect WebRTC clients to Vidyo’s conferencing and communications infrastructure without requiring user installation. The company is also announcing the Vidyo Server for WebRTC that will give users with browsers supporting WebRTC full participant access to Vidyo calls with no download required.

Vidyo has the most advanced, best-performing platform for ultra-low delay, ultra high-quality multi-point video conferences, ranging from mobile screens to 5K.  By choosing Vidyo, application developers can combine the benefits of WebRTC’s open, free, browser-based endpoint architecture with those of a professional, rock-solid back-end that can easily scale to carrier-sized deployments.

At the WebRTC Conference and Expo V, we’ll demonstrate native interoperability of today’s VP8 based WebRTC clients with the VidyoWorks platform as well as our Vidyo Server for WebRTC. We’ll also share an update on our on-going Scalable VP9 work in partnership with Google. Schedule a meeting with us at the show!

Vidyo will be participating in many panels at the WebRTC Conference and will discuss the benefits of WebRTC during our keynote, by Vidyo’s Co-Founder and Chief Scientist, Alex Eleftheriadis, on Wednesday, November 19th at 12:10pm – please join us! See a full list of our speaking engagements below:

Tuesday, November 18th – 3:40-4:20pm
Plenary PanelWhat’s Next in WebRTC – Alex Eleftheriadis/Co-Founder & Chief Scientist

Wednesday, November 19th – 9:10-9:50am – Room 211B
WebRTC in HealthcareMark Noble/VP Strategic Marketing

Wednesday, November 19th 9:10-9:50am – Room 212C
Standards Update & DirectionAlex Eleftheriadis/Co-Founder & Chief Scientist

Wednesday, November 19th 9:50-10:20am – Room 212C
The Video ConundrumAlex Eleftheriadis/Co-Founder & Chief Scientist

Wednesday, November 19th 12:10pm
Keynote LuncheonAlex Eleftheriadis/ Co-Founder & Chief Scientist

Wednesday, November 19th 2:00-2:40pm – Room 211B
WebRTC in eCommerceSam Waicberg/SVP, Large Accounts

Wednesday, November 19th 2:40-3:20pm – Room 211B
WebRTC in FinanceMichal Raz/SVP Business Development

Thursday, November 20thth 1:00-1:50pm
Plenary PanelWhat is the WebRTC Killer App – Alex Eleftheriadis/ Co-Founder & Chief Scientist

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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, 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.

Amplify Jive Social Business Interaction with Real-Time Collaboration

Back in the day, employees gathered around the corporate water cooler to chat about everything from brainstorming the next great product innovation or closing on loose ends from the last team meeting. Regardless of the topic of discussion, the water cooler was a place where people connected with one another. In this simple way, team-based productivity was organically amplified, synergizing workers and increasing productivity. Such gatherings of like-minded individuals were often the spark that ignited innovative business strategies.

This idea carries through to today’s work environments, where quality team-based productivity begins when companies increase the ability for individuals to connect with one another. This can be a challenge, however, with remote and mobile employees often outnumbering their office-based associates. Enabling employee conversations and collaboration is just as vital to business objectives today as it was decades ago when the water cooler brought workers together. Now, however, companies must think outside of the box to keep employees connected.

Developing this capacity requires real-time communications solutions—enhanced with HD-quality and multipoint video. This technology enables modern day remote/mobile working teams to still have valuable collaboration experiences no matter where they are or from which devices they’re working. Just think about your own work style: chances are you and most of your peers already use video technologies at home, making it all the easier to quickly join a real time video session from whatever business communications process you’re using.

More and more people today are working in cloud applications vs. on-premise desktop applications. In fact a recent study by the 451 Group found that 45% of global enterprises are running production level cloud apps, and users want their communication tools available inside these apps. Recognizing this great need, Esna, the leader in embedded real-time collaboration, and Vidyo, the leader in software based video collaboration, have partnered up to bring business leaders and their teams the best of both worlds.

Esna’s mission is to enable users with the ability to communicate and collaborate with their peers, customers and partners without having to toggle in and out of different applications. We embed real-time collaboration into the cloud apps that people use everyday like Salesforce, Google Apps for Work, and now integrates the VidyoWorks™ platform with Jive Software to provide a scalable, affordable, unparalleled visual communications experience over any IP network, with just a click of a button.

Esna iLink

Esna iLink for Vidyo allows users to seamlessly join a conference with the click of a button.

Esna iLink for Vidyo seamlessly embeds the power of Vidyo’s software based platform inside Jive. With iLink for Vidyo, users can simply “click to Vidyo” to start and join video conferences with participants inside and outside their organization. They will also be able to:

  • Start an instant conference with any Jive user from their contact card or profile page
  • Initiate a conference with group members in a Jive group
  • Start a conference with co-authors from any Jive document
  • Post a conference with links into the Jive activity stream

Customers can expect to see Esna iLink for Vidyo integrated with Jive at JiveWorld 2014, taking place October 21-23 at the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas. iLink for Vidyo will be demonstrated in Esna booth S4 and Vidyo booth TS11. The solution is currently available as beta – click here for a free trial.

Esna takes pride in partnering with transformative industry leaders such as Vidyo who are fiercely committed to delivering on team connectivity. Jive is just the first of a variety of cloud applications in which Esna will be embedding Vidyo, so stay tuned!

LeeLee Ho, Vice President Marketing, Esna
Lee has nearly 20 years of leadership experience as a strategist and product pioneer in marketing, business development, product management and change facilitation. Lee has an extensive background in the creation and implementation of long-term growth strategies for enterprise solution providers.

 

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.

Vidyo Raises Additional Growth Capital from Silver Lake Waterman

Rounding out our recent fundraising activities, we are pleased to announce that we have closed additional growth financing from Silver Lake Waterman and view this capital as an important part of our expansion strategy.

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This round of growth capital will enable us to address the unprecedented demand we are seeing for visual communications to integrate face-to-face video into workflows and new applications, as part of the Internet of People. Vidyo is addressing emerging applications in healthcare, financial services, government and customer engagement that integrate video interaction via smart phones, tablets, “wearables” and millions of new IoT devices that connect businesses and individuals online, at work, home or in their car.

“Vidyo is uniquely positioned in the growing market for integrated video applications. We are excited to partner with the company and see a tremendous opportunity for Vidyo to continue to expand its footprint worldwide, leveraging its innovative software platform and suite of APIs that enable high-quality embedded video communication.” said Shawn O’Neill, Managing Director and Co-Head of Silver Lake Waterman.

The VidyoWorks TM platform and APIs allow developers and solution providers across a variety of markets and applications to integrate video communications into existing workflows like Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) or into new devices including “glasses” and other “wearables,” that are emerging every day. The VidyoRouter™ enables Vidyo to deliver the four key requirements critical to adding video into the new connected world: scalability, affordability, workflow integration and HD-quality over Internet and wireless networks.

Silver Lake Waterman focuses on providing flexible expansion capital to later-stage growth companies in the technology and technology-enabled industries. Silver Lake Waterman is part of Silver Lake, the global leader in technology investing with over $23 billion in combined assets under management and committed capital and a team of approximately 110 investment and value creation professionals located around the world

JaveedSiddiqui David is a veteran finance and administration executive with more than 25 years of diverse experience that includes significant positions overseeing all aspects of global financial, IT and business operations. Prior to joining Vidyo, David was Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of NTT Data Inc.(a combination of Keane, Inc., Intelligroup, Inc., MISI Inc., Revere Inc. and Vertex Inc.), where he oversaw global finance, IT management and Administrative Operations. David holds a Bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Bridgeport.

How to Best Utilize Telemedicine to Manage Chronic Care

Visual Communication Technology for Healthcare - Vidyo

A couple of weeks ago at the ATA Fall Forum conference, I participated on an industry panel titled, “Telemedicine & Chronic Care – What Does the Evidence Show? A Review of Findings from Scientific Studies.” The distinguished panel commented on the findings of Dr. Rashid Bashshur’s thorough studies on telemedicine and chronic care.

This is an extremely hot topic for healthcare systems as the number of chronic patients is on the rise. Due to many demographic and lifestyle reasons, chronic care is topping 70 percent of the healthcare expenditure and is expected to increase.

As the vendor representative on the panel, I provided commentary specific to the operational aspects of setting up a telemedicine program designed to help manage chronic care. To do this successfully, here are my two main recommendations:

1.     Think BIG!

Many of the healthcare programs established for chronic care management only covered a few hundreds or thousands of patients, and many of them were experimental and short-lived. It’s hard to examine the real impact on the quality of care and associated costs without such programs being mass deployed. Moving forward, in order for such programs to succeed, they should be designed accordingly, with the ability to scale and cover thousands or even tens of thousands of patients. Here are some of the considerations:

  • Commercial sustainabilityAnalyze what the cost of adding a new patient to the program would be, and the expected return on investment. Be sure to confirm the commitment of the investment source.  I have seen quite a few programs die when the grant that was used to start it dried up.
  • Measure criteria of success It’s important to define the criteria of success and related measurements to assure that the program stays on track.
  • Training and adoptionPrepare a training program for your staff as well as for patients. Don’t rely solely on a few enthusiastic champions to provide ad hoc guidance to all users and patients. Last I checked, they generally don’t teach how to properly sit and engage in front of a webcam during medical school.
  • Network designScalability is one of the most crucial factors to a telemedicine deployment. Design a scalable network topology with multiple datacenters, and one that is easily upgradable. My recommendation? Bet big on software.
  • Technical support The user experience is ultimately the key to adoption. Go with an intuitive user interface that minimizes the support required to onboard new clinicians and patients. Think about how many people you would need to staff at your helpdesk if your solution is difficult to learn and use.

 2.     Think FLEXIBLE!

We have witnessed that telehealth leads to behavioral change. You should design your service to be flexible and accommodate such change, while having the capability to adapt to different workflows.

One example that I like to use is from a Vidyo customer in the Netherlands that provides online telepsychiatry services. When visiting them a couple of months ago, they told me that when they introduced their telemedicine solution, the whole pattern of interaction between their therapists and patients changed. Instead of having one hour, pre-scheduled sessions with the therapist, patients are now moving to much shorter, more frequent ad-hoc sessions of about ten minutes each. They contact their therapists when they are actually in need of immediate consultation, not when the sessions are scheduled. This makes the service much more effective while also saving time for the providers, who can see patients at a moment when care is critical resulting in significantly improved patient outcomes.

Lastly, when designing a patient-facing telemedicine service, the healthcare system needs to prepare to adopt workflows that will undoubtedly change over time. When choosing a platform to enable the telemedicine service, it should provide the flexibility to address a number of different scenarios, such as adjusting scheduled meetings to ad-hoc, changing capacities and patterns of usage, and adopting new medical and consumer devices that integrate with other essential peripheral medical processes like Electronic Health Records (EHRs).

Have you successfully deployed a telemedicine solution to manage chronic care? What other considerations would you recommend?

Amnon Gavish - Senior Vice President, Vertical Solutions, Vidyo Amnon brings more than 15 years of experience in the telecommunications market. Before joining Vidyo in October 2009, Amnon was the Chief Technology Officer at Keisense Inc., an innovator in the field of textual user interface for Computer Electronics devices. Previously, he served as Vice President of Business Development at RADVISION, where he was responsible for the company’s strategic partnerships and for the definition of the company’s product offering to the service providers market. Amnon holds a Sc.D. Degree in Electrical Engineering from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology.

Vidyo Introduces Industry’s First Ultra HD Soft Room System

 

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 First Ultra HD Soft Room System perfect for customers that require remote participants to see fine details of shared content, like spreadsheets, CAD drawings or medical images.

If yours is like most companies, there are a significant number of collaboration spaces in your organization that are not yet videoconferencing enabled. Given the global nature of our economy today and the well documented productivity benefits of visual collaboration, it begs the question “why haven’t group video conferencing solutions become more pervasive?” The answer boils down to cost and user experience.

Vidyo’s uniquely adaptive software-based architecture has always leveraged the performance benefits of the ever-evolving PC market. It’s no exception that we are able to take advantage of new device enhancements, like 4K displays, to deliver an ever-improving user experience through software only upgrades. Ultra HD as a software only upgrade to our infrastructure, the VidyoRoom™ HD-230 and VidyoPanorama™ 600 are the latest examples of how software solutions protect customer investments where competitive hardware approaches end up obsolete within months of purchase. To make video more pervasive throughout collaboration spaces, the enterprise needs to think differently about the makeup of a group solution for huddle rooms or conference spaces…and now they can.

Today, Vidyo introduced the VidyoRoom SE (Software Edition), the world’s first Ultra HD capable software room system that supports the equivalent screen real estate of 4 x 1080p displays on a single seamless 4K elastic canvas that can be used to render greater than HD shared content in full native resolution. As an installable soft-client, VidyoRoom SE turns off-the-shelf computing platforms into fully functioning group systems with important features like:

  • Far End Camera Control (FECC)
  • Simple single button press calendar integration
  • Shared content automatically rendered on second screen when present
  • Remote controllability from room automation systems, tablets using the free VidyoRemote application or the hand-held remote control

Pair, for example, the VidyoRoom SE with the newest, most cutting edge USB PTZ camera, audio device and display – like off-the-shelf 4K or 1080p monitors, and you have a solution that sets a higher bar for room system performance while making it economically desirable to Vidyo-enable every collaboration space, in the enterprise, including huddle rooms.

 

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VidyoRoom SE turns a convenient meeting place into a Vidyo-enabled workspace or “huddle room”.

With game-shifting innovations from Vidyo, the economics and logistics of video collaboration are radically changing for the better. Businesses are free to choose “best-of-breed” solutions and build integrated, multivendor systems using off-the-shelf, commodity hardware that make prices much more affordable, and configured to their particular need.

To get more information on today’s announcement, click here!

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.

 

MarkNoble4aMark Noble is the VP of Strategic Marketing at Vidyo where he brings over 19 years of experience in the telecommunications and visual collaboration spaces. Mark works closely with customers and partners to develop new opportunities to lower their business and operations costs, while improving productivity and results, via Vidyo solutions. In addition, Mark works closely with the Sales and Marketing teams on positioning, messaging and product marketing programs. Mark’s experience ranges from engineering to business management. Before joining Vidyo, Mark worked at Bell Labs and on the AT&T Wireless account for Lucent. He also managed the development programs at UTStarcom for all wireless and IP softswitch products. Mark is adept at understanding new technologies and identifying new market opportunities that translate into profitable businesses.

 

Vidyo “Inside” the future of telehealth & telemedicine solutions

The traditional healthcare delivery model is undergoing a major transition, shaped by the increasing integration of technology we use daily within our personal and professional lives. From mobile applications to medical consultations via video, new telehealth practices and technologies are allowing patients healthcare access anytime, anywhere and on any device.

Because of our feature-rich APIs, Vidyo is leading the charge in the way telemedicine is being delivered around the world. Our technology allows video to be integrated into various telehealth platforms, networks and devices, at an easy-to-use, low price point unmatched by other video conferencing providers without sacrificing key features. A shining example of this is Mercy’s SafeWatch system, powered by Vidyo.

Mercy’s SafeWatch is the largest single-hub TeleICU in the country. Spanning across four states, 15 hospitals and monitoring close to 500 Philips TelelCU beds, this new telehealth service enables specialists to continually monitor critical patients and data, and interact via Vidyo with bedside medical teams, ICU patients and their families from one central command center. Deployed across a geographical region traditionally known to be difficult for patients to receive quick, acute healthcare and medical consultations due to its rural nature, Vidyo’s integration into Mercy’s SafeWatch system helps to provide timely, personalized care regardless of physical distance.

Check out more pictures below of Vidyo’s telemedicine solutions powering Mercy’s SafeWatch. We believe this state-of-the-art integrated system is central to the future of medicine, the expansion and delivery of patient care in the U.S., and one that will serve as a new model for healthcare systems across the world.

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Vidyo’s visual communications technology for telehealth is integrated into Mercy’s central TeleICU command center in Chesterfield. Healthcare practitioners are now able to rely on secure, encrypted remote doctor-patient and doctor-doctor interactions that are as close to face-to-face consultations as you can get.

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According to Wendy Deibert (pictured), vice president of Telehealth Services at Mercy, the health system expects to expand the use of Vidyo to even more beds and applications. “With Vidyo we are able to do many things a bedside physician can do, except physically touch a patient. We can see the entire room, from the drips to the ventilator panel, to how the patient looks. We can talk to the family, patient or nurses in the room.”

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As critical patient information and data must be communicated with medical practitioners quickly wherever they may be, Vidyo’s complete end-to-end solution allows for HD video communications and images to be accessed from virtually any device.

Please read our press release on how Mercy is using Vidyo, and our analyst report on Vidyo in Healthcare.

forbes_logo_main-180x45  Vidyo Gets The Jump on Next Generation Telemedicine

WSJ-Logo-170x601  Where Does It Hurt? Log On. The Doctor Is In (Vidyo Customer – American Well)

 

MPEG LA Shares License Terms for HEVC (H.265)

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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.