Vidyo telepresence will let more sites join in

The company's VidyoPanorama system will allow for up to 20 screens in a meeting

Videoconferencing underdog Vidyo says it will outshine and undercut its bigger rivals with VidyoPanorama, a high-definition telepresence system that eventually will be able to run on 20 screens in one location.

Having 20 screens displaying videoconference participants simultaneously will allow more remote workers to join in on meetings through desktops and on mobile devices, which Vidyo's software works on and which Vidyo and others see as the future of videoconferencing. VidyoPanorama will be able to run on Apple's iPhone and iPad devices and on Android phones and tablets including the Motorola Xoom and Samsung Galaxy.

Room systems for immersive videoconferencing from big names such as Polycom and Cisco Systems are only designed with up to four screens in a given location, which forces those systems to switch the displays among the participants if there are many sites represented. Vidyo says it has raised that limit, opening the door to bigger meetings as well as specialized uses such as remote monitoring stations for nurses to watch patients, said Young-Sae Song, vice president of product marketing at Vidyo.

Vidyo has also raised the bar on display quality with VidyoPanorama, supporting resolution as high as 1080p at 60fps (frames per second), up from the industry standard of 1080p at 30fps.

Unlike the big-name videoconferencing vendors, Vidyo builds its business around its software, which runs on standard servers and uses off-the-shelf components. Because it doesn't make its own displays, cameras, microphones and furniture, Vidyo can price its systems lower than those from major rivals, Song said. VidyoPanorama platforms start at less than US$40,000 for a four-screen configuration with 720p and 60fps. A 20-screen system, which should be available early next year, will cost about $4,500 per screen, Song said. By contrast, Cisco's TelePresence Meeting System is priced well into six figures for a three-screen room system.

Vidyo sets itself apart from other vendors with its video coding software, which uses bandwidth more efficiently and allows Vidyo's systems to run over the open Internet rather than specialized networks. This can cut operational costs. But this capability, and the company's embrace of third-party hardware, also should give Vidyo an edge in extending videoconferencing to tablets and smartphones, said Wainhouse Research analyst Andrew Davis.

"Their technology lends itself better to extremely heterogeneous environments," Davis said. Like Vidyo and some other vendors, Davis believes mobile devices represent the future of videoconferencing.

However, mobile participants won't be able to join in at the highest quality Vidyo offers, and the super-high definition that VidyoPanorama supports won't be able to go over narrow Internet connections. Song estimated that a 720p signal at 30fps could run over a 500K bps (bit-per-second) link but a 1080p, 60fps signal would require 2M bps. Those bandwidth requirements are for each screen at a given site. Video quality from a given participant depends on the camera quality and processing power of the device, plus the network connection, Song said.

Allowing for more screens in a room will help with sessions with individual participants joining from many locations, but not with meetings between larger groups in a few sites, Davis said. By contrast, room systems from Cisco and other vendors are designed with multiple cameras per location to accommodate several participants who appear at full size, he said.

"It has a different spin," Davis said. "It makes sense to me only in a multipoint environment."

Vidyo's advantage in resolution may make images more realistic with smoother motions, but it is likely to be a passing advantage as competitors release 1080p/60 fps systems themselves, Davis said.

Song downplayed the impact of Polycom's acquisition of the videoconferencing business of Hewlett-Packard, which offered Vidyo's technology through an original equipment manufacturer agreement. HP said it would exclusively resell Polycom systems. The details have not yet been worked out, Song said, but he claimed the deal would have a limited effect on the company's business, because HP represented only about 10 percent of Vidyo's revenue.

VidyoPanorama will become generally available worldwide in the fourth quarter with systems as large as nine screens. The 20-screen systems are due early next year.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesVidyoTelephony/conferencinginternet

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?