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Vidyo, Ricoh Partner On UC

Cisco Umi
Slideshow: Cisco Umi Takes Telepresence To The Home

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Ricoh, a maker of digital office equipment, plans to launch this year unified communications hardware that will use Vidyo's video-conferencing technology.

Vidyo CEO Ofer Shapiro said in an interview Monday that Japan-based Ricoh would use the software maker's product in a portable UC device and a video-conferencing system for an office or conference room. The new products are scheduled to be available this year.

The deal is a long-term agreement that calls for a "per unit royalty arrangement" for use of Vidyo software, Shapiro said, declining to provide details. The agreement marks Ricoh's entry into video conferencing, which will be part of its unified communications unit. The company expects its UC business to reach $1.25 billion in revenue by 2015.

Vidyo announcing the latest deal two months after unveiling an agreement with Japanese carrier KDDI, which will offer Vidyo-based video conferencing services to its customers. Vidyo's technology also is licensed by Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi, Teliris, and Google.

In January, Vidyo released a plug-in for IBM's Lotus SameTime. The Vidyo software makes it possible for users of IBM's UC platform to do multi-point videoconferencing as easily as they move into voice communications from an instant messaging session, according to Vidyo.

Vidyo positions its software as a less expensive alternative to Cisco's telepresence products for business. Vidyo claims its video router architecture running on commodity servers make for a cheaper system than using Cisco proprietary technology.

Vidyo released its video-conferencing system a year ago. A full-fledged system, including software, high-definition cameras and screens, high-quality audio, and the traffic-shaping Vidyo router, costs from $25,000 to $30,000. A high-end Cisco telepresence system can run $250,000.

Vidyo uses the public Internet as its transport mechanism. The company recommends at last a 2 Mb per second connections.

Gartner predicts that by 2015, more than 200 million people worldwide will have desktop videoconferencing capabilities at work. Cisco is also going after the consumer market. Last October, the company debuted Umi (pronounced You-me), which comprises a video camera and device that sit between a broadband connection and a flat-panel TV. The system costs $600, plus a monthly service charge of $25 for unlimited video calling.


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