Vidyo Intros Scalable Enterprise Videoconferencing

By deploying software-based routers in multiple regions, the VidyoConference Cloud Edition can deliver telepresence to tens of thousands of mobile device users.

Antone Gonsalves

February 22, 2011

3 Min Read
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Cisco Umi

Cisco Umi

Slideshow: Cisco Umi Takes Telepresence To The Home (click image for larger view and for slideshow)

Vidyo has introduced an Internet-based videoconferencing architecture that can scale to tens of thousands of users on a variety of mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets, or laptops.

The company unveiled Tuesday the Cloud Edition of its VidyoConference architecture, making it possible to network as many VidyoRouters as are needed to meet user demand. The VidyoRouter is software that can run on any commodity hardware, such as an Intel-based, x86 server.

The company's core technology leverages the latest enhancement to the H.264 standard for video compression, called scalable video coding, in order to deliver telepresence over an Internet protocol network, whether public or private. What's new in Cloud Edition is the ability for a large enterprise or telecom carrier to deploy routers in multiple regions, where they can handle local traffic while communicating with each other in order to reduce bandwidth and minimize network latency.

The way that is done is by stripping unnecessary data transmitting from the endpoints, Ashish Gupta, chief marketing officer for Vidyo, said in an interview. For example, if seven people in London are on a video call with seven people in New York, but only one person on each side of the Atlantic is talking, then only that data will move between routers and be delivered to end users. Routers at the local level manage the data traffic from the end users to make sure only information that has changed is transmitted to the participating parties.

Another major feature of the latest architecture is the ability to establish secure communications between a VidyoRouter behind a corporate firewall with one on the public network, Gupta said. This protects the corporate network from intrusion while still providing video communications.

Vidyo claims its new architecture uses significantly less bandwidth on a wide area network than legacy systems, such as multiprotocol label switching (MPLS). Where 16 megabits per second of bandwidth is required to serve four users on a WAN using an MPLS, only a total of 4 Mbps of bandwidth is needed using Vidyo's technology, which would deliver the same video quality, according to Gupta.

Vidyo last week demonstrated at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, Spain, the use of its VidyoRouter to deliver live 4G multi-content gaming between Barcelona and the United States. The technology also was used to establish videoconferencing between passengers driving long-term evolution (LTE) equipped Audi A8 automobiles. The router delivers standard or high-definition video, depending on the available bandwidth, as well as the end user's device.

Vidyo's major competitors include Cisco, which offers high-end videoconferencing between corporate meeting rooms in different locations. The company introduced last October the consumer version of its telepresence technology, which the company calls Umi. The system comprises a videocamera and a device that sit between a broadband connection and a flat-panel TV. The equipment costs $599, plus a monthly service charge of $24.99 for unlimited calling.

Umi competes with services such as Skype, while Cisco's corporate telepresence technology competes with Vidyo. The latter company is hoping to grab share from its larger rival by delivering enterprise-level videoconferencing at a fraction of the cost. Where a Cisco system can run tens of thousands of dollars, each VidyoRouter costs about $6,000. That price doesn't change for the Cloud Edition, Gupta said.

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