Does Video Matter to Contact Center KPIs?

Net Promoter Score (NPS) Success - Vidyo

You know that moment when you learn something new and then notice it everywhere immediately afterwards, wondering why we hadn’t noticed it before? Well this time it was a Contact Center KPI called Net Promoter Score (NPS) at the Gartner Symposium in Barcelona, Spain.

That first mention of NPS came from a Vidyo customer on stage, who said that his organization’s NPS “doubled” when it moved users from audio to video. No sooner had I heard that, an e-mail popped into my inbox from one of our customer trials talking of a NPS score of 78%. In the booth, one of the conversations with a CIO was about improving the loyalty of their customers and improving the NPS!

For those who are now asking “what’s NPS?”, well its very simple: the Net Promoter System is a methodology for measuring the Engagement level of a customer. This is often presented as a “would you recommend us to your friends” type question, with an answer on a scale from 1-10. The answer is simply translated as follows

Net Promoter Score (NPS) Diagram - Vidyo

  • 1-6 = Detractor – somebody who would be negative about your company or brand
  • 7-8 = Passive – neither detractor or promoter
  • 9-10 = Promoters – somebody that would promote, recommend or speak positively about you

You calculate the Net Promoter Score by deducting the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters. Thus the higher the NPS the more people you have promoting your brand within their network. Some light research on the web on NPS indicates that there is a strong correlation between NPS and revenue. One Online Retailer speaks of a 30% increase in revenue from customers whom they service using video

So why is this relevant to a video enabled world?

NPS is a statistic that crosses over both audio and video. It’s a consistent measure, linked to a very key business metric – revenue – and allows us to measure the business impact of a technology, not just quantitative measures of a how efficient a call center is.

Let’s use banks as an example. A Bank needs to balance Engagement, Cost and Convenience. Neither online nor branch completely deliver on all 3 fronts:

Net Promoter Score (NPS) on Banking - Vidyo

Yet video enabled banking addresses all 3 at the same time, its convenient, its low cost and yet its delivering well on the Engagement level which typical Online Banking does not. And it’s this Engagement aspect that is measured in terms of the NPS.

During the Gartner Symposium Vidyo spoke to well over 350 senior decision makers about video enabled Customer Engagement and every single one of them could easily see that Vidyo was leading in this space. Vidyo now powers over 50 video enabled Customer Engagement projects worldwide in financial services alone!

What decision makers were all looking for in a partner was a technology that:

  • Scales: The Vidyo platform can scale to huge numbers, with IndusInd Bank in India offering their Vidyo powered ‘Video Branch” service to 8 million account holders
  • Highest Quality & Reliability: Vidyo is designed to deliver the best quality over any network such as 3G, 4G, Wifi etc, to virtually any endpoint, including mobile.
  • Proven & Mature: Vidyo has 4000 customers, millions of users, hundreds of telemedicine deployments and over 50 customers using Vidyo enabled Customer engagements in financial services.
  • Highly Secure: With customers such as the US Department of Defense, banks around the world & compliance with the likes of JITC, FIPS & HIPAA, Vidyo takes security very seriously

When you take a technology such as ours and integrate it into an existing Contact Center, webchat tool, mobile app, call recording technology etc., you can introduce new, engaging ways to serve your customers over a video channel. For each use case that you enable with video, you provide the basis to improve upon your NPS and increase your revenue.

So there you go. NPS. Net Promoter Score, something that can be improved dramatically by video enabling your Customer Engagement platforms. I learn something new every day and I hope you did too!

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”

Vidyo wins Frost & Sullivan Video Conferencing Award

Vidyo was honored tonight as the recipient of the  2011 winner of the Frost & Sullivan Global Product Differentiation Excellence Award for Videoconferencing Infrastructure Systems.

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices team of industry experts presents awards to companies demonstrating best practices in a variety of regional and global markets.  These Best Practices Awards recognize the superior planning and execution of product launches, strategic alliances, distribution strategies, technological innovations, customer service, and mergers and acquisitions. A host of other crucial marketing factors such as leadership, strategy, service, innovation, integration, and development are also considered as part of the award methodology.

“In a marketplace defined by technological advancements, Vidyo has been at the forefront of innovation, launching products that have positioned the company for growth,” said Roopam Jain, Industry Director, Unified Communications and Collaboration, Frost & Sullivan.  “In terms of innovation, technical excellence, scalability and adaptability to varied videoconferencing environments, the VidyoConferencing suite of solutions is impressive and market disruptive. Vidyo’s technology allows new entrants a low barrier of entry to create new, differentiated and cost-effective applications at a desired price performance.”

Young-Sae Song, Vidyo VP of Product Marketing and Art Robbins, president of Frost & Sullivan's North American operations

Vidyo is seeing success based on new and innovative products that address end user pain points. In its best practices report on Vidyo, Frost & Sullivan cites that currently, several products in Vidyo’s portfolio – the VidyoRouter, VidyoRouter Cloud Edition, VidyoPanorama and VidyoMobile enjoy a “first mover advantage” in terms of a high quality solution at a reasonable price point, “clearly jettisoning Vidyo to a prominent position in the fast growing videoconferencing market.”

For more information, you can read the full press release and check out Frost & Sullivan’s Best Practices Research report on Vidyo.

 

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.

 

Vidyo Wins Large Telemedicine Network Deal

The world is changing… and there is, perhaps, no better evidence of the shift in global macro conditions and demographics than in the area of healthcare.  An aging population in western countries, rising medical costs, the push for ubiquitous service offerings to rural areas, the evolution of broadband Internet and mobile broadband, are but a few pronounced changes.  To address these changes, there is a need for innovative technology to meet a variety of new needs and provide better products and services to healthcare practitioners.  Perhaps, above all, these changes demand a shift in the way healthcare is delivered, lower costs and enhanced access to high quality care.

Since we first introduced Vidyo for Healthcare 15 months ago, we have met and worked with many visionary individuals and healthcare groups who are dedicated to furthering telemedicine practices in their respective regions.  Our most recent partnership has been with the Ontario Telemedicine Network, an enterprise that has been pioneering province-wide telemedicine programs for many years. Through this experience, OTN developed a sophisticated management system that covers all aspects of a large scale telemedicine deployment.

Today, with the integration of Vidyo’s technology into their products, OTN is now able to expand its reach beyond their existing thousands of sites to remote clinics, doctors’ home offices and patient homes, adding in the missing link for a complete and comprehensive telemedicine solution, fully integrated and interoperable with their existing managed environment that is based on legacy video conferencing systems.

Vidyo is enabling OTN and other medical organizations to achieve a necessary new level in the delivery of healthcare.  Other partners who are embracing Vidyo for Healthcare include:

Vidyo for Healthcare is a true breakthrough in TeleHealthcare, allowing practitioners to accomplish what could never be done before.  It is the only market solution that affordably extends the reach of healthcare beyond traditional facilities to anywhere with Internet access, connecting practitioners and patients interactively via “off-the-shelf” computers and mobile devices.  We are truly excited to be part of the next generation of global healthcare solutions.

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Amnon Gavish, Vidyo's SVP of Vertical Solutions

Amnon Gavish 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 VP 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 was the CEO and co-Founder of Surf Communications, where he was responsible for all activities, from product inception, through go-to-market strategy, strategic partnerships and sales.

Overcoming Network Limitations for Universal Video Conferencing

The promise of video conferencing offers benefits that are appealing to almost any company:  employees can collaborate across geographies and time zones without the need to travel, saving companies money and improving the work life balance.   As a result, employees are happier and more productive.  Although the adoption of video conferencing has steadily increased, one of the key constraints has been particularly difficult to overcome to make video conferencing a truly universal tool that can be used by any employee in a company.  Vidyo’s Adaptive Video Layering overcomes this critical constraint to deliver universal video conferencing.

Despite the promise, when it comes down to real life deployments, video conferencing faces a basic problem when trying to achieve universal availability.  Video conferencing requires a high quality broadband connection, and this just cannot be achieved cost effectively in all cases.  High quality can be defined as a connection that delivers high enough bandwidth to avoid congestion or one where the priority of the traffic can be controlled.  This requirement can significantly increase the cost of a video conferencing deployment by requiring a business class service with MPLS for quality of service (QoS).  Although pricing may vary from carrier to carrier, the average price for a nationwide MPLS service adds approximately $100* per month for a T1 access circuit.  For a 100 site deployment, that’s an additional $10,000 per month in added operational expense.

Over the past 10 years, companies have redesigned their data and communications infrastructure to leverage the cost advantages of IP networks.  The TDM networks of the past consisted of network silos where a separate network was built out for each individual application or service.  With IP convergence, a common IP transport is leveraged with multiple applications leveraging the common infrastructure.  Ironically, the suggested approach to video conferencing from some of the larger vendors is to go backwards in time and build out a separate video conferencing network. Figure 1 below compares the different approaches to video conferencing and how Vidyo’s technology allows companies to further leverage the benefits of a converged IP network rather than building out an expensive overlay network.

Figure 1

There is no argument that video conferencing increases the bandwidth requirements of a network.  The traditional view has been to build out a separate overlay network designed to support the performance requirements of video.  Vidyo has taken a very different approach and created a technology that can actually adapt to the network itself.  Adaptive Video Layering optimizes a video stream based on the network characteristics and endpoint capabilities.  The significance of this innovation is that it allows any endpoint to become a video conferencing device, and it can work over a broadband connection starting at about 500 kbps.

With this approach, companies do not need to deploy expensive overlay networks using expensive business class services such as nxT1s with MPLS.  Rather, they can leverage the lowest cost broadband Internet access available including consumer grade xDSL or cable service.  This drastically changes the network economics of deploying a universal video conferencing solution that can be used by any employee.  High speed broadband is becoming more and more widely available.  However, solutions from the traditional video conferencing vendors work best with business class bandwidth of approximately 3 to 5 Mpbs, which is just not available cost effectively everywhere.  Vidyo has taken on this challenge with its patented Adaptive Video Layering to make high definition video conferencing not just a promise for the future but a promise with concrete benefits that can be delivered to every employee today.

Source:

*Industry analysis from carrier pricing from ILECs and CLECs.

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Young-Sae Song

Young-Sae is Vidyo’s vice president of product and channel marketing. He has over 10 years of experience in the networking and telecommunications industry.  He joined Vidyo from Covad Communications, where he developed and introduced nationwide Ethernet and MPLS services.   Prior to Covad, Young-Sae worked at leading networking and software vendors such as Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent, and Microsoft.  He 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.  


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