New Faces at Vidyo

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2015 was a momentous year for Vidyo! We brought new and innovative Vidyo-based use cases to market through our growing ecosystem of partners, celebrated our 100th patent, were named a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Group Video Systems and received validation from Kaiser Permanente Ventures, the Department of Defense, and others of the unmatched value of the VidyoWorks platform.

In 2015 I also stepped into the role of CEO and President and remain more passionate than ever about our market-leading platform and technology and the difference Vidyo will continue to make in the communications marketplace. As CEO I have aimed to establish a customer-centric culture of innovation built upon top talent and because of this effort I am thrilled to welcome Nicholas Reid and Fahim Siddiqui to the leadership team at Vidyo.

Nic ReidNic is Senior Vice President of Product Management and will lead the team responsible for defining, designing and planning the upcoming feature roadmap and user experience for all Vidyo products. Nic is a passionate leader with nearly 20 years experience in product, engineering and technical management. We look forward to the transformative video collaboration experiences Nic and his team will bring to life.

fahimnewhead175.jpgFahim joins Vidyo as Senior Vice President of Cloud Services and is responsible for strategy, business planning and execution of Vidyo’s Public and Private cloud strategy and offerings. Fahim will ensure a frictionless experience for customers using Vidyo’s cloud-based video collaboration platform while fostering developer and partner ecosystems. Fahim brings more than 25 years of experience to Vidyo and we are excited for him to lead this new frontier.

We are building the future of Vidyo and visual collaboration and couldn’t be more excited about the strong team we have assembled. Central to everything we do at Vidyo is the experience our technology provides. When experience and quality matter the most, Vidyo is the clear choice. From telehealth to financial services to customer engagement to field services; customers and vendor partners recognize the competitive advantage of the quality of video that we provide. Video is quickly becoming ubiquitous and we are looking forward to a watershed year in 2016!

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.

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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.

Kaiser Makes Strategic Investment in Vidyo

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Health care companies are actively embracing video-based visits with patients. The general public is more comfortable with video-based interactions. From policy makers to care providers to patients we’re seeing a groundswell for telemedicine. Highest quality, easily available video is an integral piece of the multi-billion dollar healthcare market moving forward and a critical advantage for both healthcare providers and vendors alike.

ipad300x200As we announced earlier today Kaiser Permanente Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Kaiser Permanente, made a strategic $10M investment in Vidyo.

We see this investment as validation of the ability of the VidyoWorks platform to address the various needs of major telehealth implementations, especially our ability to seamlessly embed HD quality, reliable video interactions into workflows and applications at scale. Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard Tyson is “betting big on videoconference technology that will improve online healthcare,” and is “distributing care out of the hospital.”* There is tremendous growth opportunity in the telehealth market, which is projected to reach $34B by 2020.

Vidyo is already strong in telemedicine, nearly half of the top 100 healthcare delivery networks in the U.S. rely on Vidyo for their telehealth applications including Partners Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente, UPMC, Mercy and Carolinas. We have seen significant growth in deployment of integrated solutions like teleICU, patient portals and clinician EHR interfaces. Ours is the only video platform integrated into major Electronic Health Record (EHR) providers, like EPIC and Cerner, accounting for more than 50% of the EHR market, and Vidyo is the platform of choice for Philips Healthcare ICU beds, GetWell Network interactive patient engagement solutions, kiosks deployed in drug stores across the country and virtual care offerings through American Well. Today, there is broad recognition that the future of healthcare is beyond the hospital’s four walls and into the home, and the focus is on implementation.

cart300What sets Vidyo apart is the experience the technology provides. When it comes to making critical health decisions, “good enough” video is not good enough. Vidyo is able to deliver the most reliable, highest quality visual experience that can be completely embedded into applications, workflows or endpoints. Making Vidyo communication a seamless part of the experience is key to driving adoption. We believe that seamless integrations can help eliminate the “tele” in telehealth, and that caring for patients at a distance will become a standard of care that is just part of how medicine is practiced and care is delivered in the future.

Vidyo has seen tremendous traction in healthcare, in fact many times our clinical applications drive interest in Vidyo in non-clinical settings. Telemedicine is a great example of the power of our platform to transform an industry and we are very excited to replicate this success in Customer Engagement, Financial Services, Government and other industries.

* Fortune, April 29th, 2015: The prognosis for U.S. healthcare? Better than you think.

Why Settle for “Good Enough” Video Collaboration in Your Contact Center? 

Video-enabled Customer Engagement

Vidyo Adapter for GenesysToday Vidyo shared customer engagement news on a new integration with Genesys using the Vidyo Adapter. The Vidyo Adapter for Genesys will seamlessly integrate into the Genesys customer experience platform and provides a native experience for video-enabled Genesys content center agents who want to visually connect with customers.

This integration with Genesys is just one example of Vidyo’s Ecosystem and Connector Strategy at work. The VidyoWorksTM platform is used to enable applications, workflows and endpoints with high quality reliable video collaboration. With the creation of multiple connectors, or integration points, to the VidyoWorks platform we can natively video-enable millions of new applications, services, workflows and more to visually connect businesses and individuals anywhere, anytime on virtually any device or form factor.  This strategy is driving the creation of new applications every day such as video-enabled contact centers, help desks and telemedicine applications.

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Central to the connector strategy and really at the core of every thing we do at Vidyo – is the experience our technology provides. When the experience, the quality, matters the most, Vidyo is the clear choice. When “good enough” is not good enough, that is when Vidyo shines. We firmly believe our patented technology provides the highest quality, most reliable alternative to in-person communication, that’s why companies are joining our ecosystem of partners.

Don’t settle for unreliable, low-quality video interactions, learn more about how high quality interactions are driving innovation across industries in the VidyoWorks Showcase today.

Mitel Ups the Ante for Visual Collaboration with Vidyo

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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!

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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 Commits to Growth and Innovation

Growth and innovation are top priorities for Vidyo. A strong global brand and partner ecosystem are key components to Vidyo’s ongoing growth so, we have combined the Marketing and Business Development teams to accelerate momentum and leverage synergies.

Vidyo Sam Waicberg

Sam Waicberg will head this effort as Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development. Sam assumes immediate responsibility for all of Vidyo’s Marketing and Business Development activities including global alliances, strategic partners and ecosystem.

Prior to Vidyo Sam was with GENBAND, serving in two capacities, initially as their Chief Marketing Officer and then as Executive Vice President of Business Development and Strategy. Leading up to GENBAND, Sam served as the President and CEO at Iperia, a unified messaging platform provider.

Vidyo has a history of driving innovation and video conferencing has never been more mainstream than it is right now. We are at a moment in time where user adoption, technology advances, and the promise of “smart” connectivity through the Internet of Things, are coalescing and enhancing the way we communicate in our every day lives. Vidyo is uniquely positioned to deliver the technology necessary to bring video-enabled healthcare, banking and safety applications to life.- connecting people for better face-to-face communication.

As we look forward toward what’s next for Vidyo, a key area is the opportunity to expedite growth through fostering our ecosystem of partners. “Enabling partners to develop and deploy new and innovative solutions, based on the VidyoWorks Platform, will propel us into global markets with greater scale and reach, faster than what we can achieve on our own,” said Waicberg. “It’s an exciting time to be at Vidyo and I look forward to addressing the many areas of opportunities with the support of this powerful, combined team!”

I am happy to welcome Sam into this new role and am excited to see the impactful work this team will generate.