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.

 

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”