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Vidyo Aims to Lower Price of Telepresence

Vidyo Inc. is hoping to jump-start the telepresence market by introducing a much less expensive service option that offers high-quality video on a range of devices from a smartphone all the way up to a high-end video conferencing room, and scales a single session to include as many as 20 screens. (See Vidyo Breaks Telepresence Price Barrier.)

The move puts Vidyo, which has been selling desktop and room systems, in even more direct competition with the likes of Cisco and Polycom by moving them into the high-end telepresence service -- with a major twist.

Vidyo's pricing is about 10 percent of the existing players' highest-end systems -- the ones that use special furniture and lighting to create immersive telepresence experience -- and its approach is more about connecting many different endpoints than reproducing the impact of a face-to-face executive session.

"We have been working with a lot of medium-to-larger-sized companies who needed a larger room solution," says Young-Sae Song, vice president of product marketing. "So we have come up with a solution that can scale to a large number of screens and many different devices. It's videoconferencing to fit the way you work."

The idea is to get telepresence out of the executive suite and make it part of a broader approach to improving productivity. In the process, Vidyo wants to boost what it sees as a flat telepresence market.

Vidyo's adaptive video layer technology delivers the appropriate resolution and video type to each device over the network, making it possible for more types of devices to easily access a video conference. In addition, Vidyo uses a display mosaic that allows all participants from multiple sites to be viewed, not just the immediate speaker.

Why this matters:
Telepresence was launched with great fanfare and has continued to grow, but has a limit because of its price tag. At a lower cost, video becomes accessible for applications including health care, education and government. Vidyo claims to be growing at about three times the pace of the rest of the industry, with 2010 growth of 25 percent versus about 7 percent for telepresence overall.

For more information: Here's a closer look at Vidyo:

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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