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Vidyo has announced plug-in for Lotus SameTime that it claims offers videoconferencing capabilities comparable to Cisco Telepresence. Vidyo calls it "personal telepresence," and it may soon be available on your desktop, if you're a user of IBM's Lotus SameTime.
"Just as SameTime users can go into a voice communication from an IM chat session they'll be able to do HD-quality multi-point videoconferencing," said Vidyo director of product marketing Mark Noble.
The difference between average videoconferencing and what Cisco Telepresence offers is latency, Noble, explained. Cisco solved the latency problem with expensive switches. "With our video router architecture we've eliminated transcoding from our network, too. We then leverage the general Intel architecture and can deliver a lower-cost version of low latency.
"On an i7 laptop, I can decode 1080P resolution at 30 frames a second, and with an Intel dual core processor I can encode 720P at 30 frames per second," he explained. "These end points can be connected with high-end room systems," like those offered by Cisco, "down to mobile devices, on the same call, with everyone getting everything they need. Because the system is monitoring all the end points, scaling the video streams to the end points, not everyone throttles down to the lowest common denominator, and we're not wasting bandwidth."
Cisco says it has been working to make its telepresence technology available to home users for a year. Many analysts question whether it has been successful, suggesting that the high cost of equipment and special lines makes it cost-prohibitive.
These market realities are said to be behind its acquisition of WebEx in 2007 and Tandberg in 2009, as well as the open sourcing of its Telepresence Interoperability Protocol in 2010. The IBM announcement is certain to put more price pressure on the videoconferencing leader.
The Vidyo solution which integrates with IBM Sametime is based on the H.264 Scalable Video Coding (SVC) standard, and will be demonstrated at IBM's Lotusphere event in Orlando starting Sunday, January 30. Lotus Notes has about 145 million users worldwide.
After I recounted to Noble how I braved Atlanta's ice storm recently to attend a Cisco videoconference 25 miles from my office, he admitted having been stuck in Los Angeles by the same storm, just before an important family event. Fortunately, he had his own product with him.
"I was able to use the cable modem in my hotel to do a teleconference with my family in New Jersey." he said.
The plug-in supports IBM Sametime Connect Client Version 7.5.1 or 8.0.2, IBM Lotus Domino Community Server Version 7.5.1, and runs on Windows XP and 32-bit or 64-bit Windows Vista, Windows 7, and the Mac OS.