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”

Cisco’s InfoComm Announcements – What Were They Thinking?

Cisco made a big deal about a set of Telepresence announcements on June 14th that in any other industry would have been labeled as “bug fixes” and “playing catch up”. These announcements put into question how much in touch is Cisco with the industry or perhaps, Cisco thinks that their customers are unaware of what is going on in the market outside of “CiscoVille”.

According to Cisco: MX200 is Priced to Scale

Cisco introduces an HD videoconferencing room system endpoint for $21,600. At that price, it includes a 42” screen delivering 720p at 60 fps. What is amazing is that every other significant videoconferencing room system manufacturer has had lower priced, higher performance solutions available for years!

OK, it will natively connect to a $300,000 Cisco TP room without transcoding. But recognize that there is NO IMMERSIVE experience when the MX200 is involved in the meeting. It is just an HD videoconferencing room system. And if you want 1080p, rather than 720p, that upgrade will cost you even more!

To be fair, the real value is that it includes a monitor stand and is ready to run in just 15 minutes. For that wonderful convenience, Cisco views that its customers are willing to pay a tremendous premium for a run-of-the-mill HD videoconferencing room system. What game do they think they are playing?

According to Cisco: Telepresence Conductor Simplifies Multiparty Video Communications

Cisco customers have really needed this product for a long time—too bad that they still need to wait for the scheduled release in December. With this announcement, Cisco is admitting to the following:

  1. Customers want to have ad hoc meetings without having to schedule infrastructure resources.
  2. A hardware-based infrastructure creates a fixed limit on the number of multiparty participants.
  3. Smart meeting organizers reserve more hardware ports than they require just in case additional participants need to join. This practice guarantees unused, but yet unavailable hardware ports.
  4. A “switching” videoconferencing infrastructure architecture for telepresence combined with a “transcoding” MCU architecture for rooms and desktops causes an administrative nightmare.

People who use web conferencing, audio conferencing or VidyoConferencing will wonder how on earth anyone lives with these needless restrictions. Well, Cisco has realized that this complexity is getting unbearable for their customers, and risks Cisco’s ability to be competitive. In the very near future, Cisco customers will find more videoconferencing users who want to connect from personal devices—personal computers, tablets or smartphones—so Cisco has announced that Conductor will fix these problems. That is good news for 2012 planned upgrades.

If you look below the surface of Conductor to understand the problem it tries to solve, you begin to see the complexity caused by having different video infrastructure architectures.

  1. Cisco gives you a “switching architecture” for ensuring the low latency telepresence experience for the CTS Series endpoints.
  2. A more affordable “MCU architecture” provides transcoding to attach endpoints to a multiparty video conference, but needed ports may not be available.
    - A customer may have different MCU versions with some having SD hardware ports, and others having HD hardware ports that must be matched to the meeting requirements
    - MCUs may be physically located in a different geography than where the resources are needed at any time during the day.

So Cisco’s solution to addressing the administrator’s nightmare is to sell the Cisco Telepresence Conductor and remove the administrator from having to handle all of the choice management complexity. Since the hardware was inherently underutilized prior to Conductor, Cisco hopes that a customer can justify this new purchase on the basis that Conductor will hopefully better utilize the legacy architecture resources. Cisco realizes that without Conductor this nightmare is not sustainable as administrators face increased demand for more multiparty connections as users move to personal communication devices.

What is most surprising is that Cisco views these announcements as wonderful news for the industry! Putting a Band-Aid on Cisco’s high cost, high complexity, multipoint infrastructure with additional costly add-ons is not something most companies would proudly announce. But Cisco must view that with enough positive spin, customers will continue to be happy to buy Cisco, and pay more knowing that they are making the SAFE choice. But beware, not everyone plays CiscoVille (apologies to Zynga if this analogy is upsetting)

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Marty Hollander

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