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Teliris Releases 6th Generation Telepresence Platform, New CODEC, New Endpoints, New Infrastructure, New Customers

June 25, 2009 | Howard Lichtman

You don't hear a lot from Teliris on a day to day basis.� They do not publish press releases on every deal they win, or every incremental improvements in their product and while the general business press is covering their much larger competitors because of their size relative to the economy as a whole (and/or their marketing & PR muscle) Teliris tends to stay off the media radar.� They tend to save up their news and drop big bombs a couple of times a year with InfoComm being their favorite target.
2009 is no different.� This year the company with half a decade head start on Cisco, HP, Polycom, and TANDBERG in the telepresence game has proven again what persistent, practical, focused research and development can do for you.� Oh yeah... $51MM in venture capital over the past couple of years hasn't hurt either.

The $135,000 Three Screen Teliris Express Modular Group Telepresence System

An oft-repeated knock against Teliris use to be that they were a sophisticated systems integrator cobbling together the best components on the market and then tying them together with their own managed services and network.� This might have been true 3 years ago but with today's announcements added to a consistent track record of innovative R&D since they received their first $40MM in venture capital from Columbia Capital and Fidelity Investments in February of 2007, CEO Marc Trachtenberg and EVP R&D Steve Gage have proven that they can develop their own technology, skillfully integrate the technology of others, and out-innovate the big boys.


The big announcement is that Teliris has developed their own codec platform.� The platform is capable of 1080p, 60 frames per second and is so forgiving with respect to jitter (<40 ms) and packet-loss (<.2%) that it can work acceptably on lower cost, best-effort networks without quality-of-service vs. the higher cost true Quality-of-Service (QoS) networks demanded of other telepresence solutions. These are quality thresholds where other telepresence systems/video codecs will drop or terminate a call. The platform is built around the general purpose Intel I7 processor and licenses many of the standard-based audio & video codecs including Vidyo's version of H.264/SVC which gives the new platform its superb tolerance for jitter and packet-loss.

The Teliris Video CODEC platform transmits multiple video streams of varying quality.� The Decoder will subscribe to the highest quality streams that its bandwidth and processing power will support. If network quality is degraded then the decoder will adjust by reducing the video layers it is receiving vs. dropping the call.� When network conditions improve then the decoder will automatically begin processing more layers to decode the highest quality streams possible.� �

The New Teliris Multipoint Reflector - Video Network Infrastructure


The Teliris Multipoint Reflector is a rate-adaptive video switch built on the Vidyo Router platform which means it is a piece of video network infrastructure that handles many of the same functions as a traditional telepresence/videoconferencing Multipoint Control Unit (MCU) or similar piece of video network infrastructure.� The difference is that the switch doesn't have to computationally process multiple video streams to deliver multipoint calls but acts more like a traffic cop controlling streams between multiple Teliris endpoints.� The switch dynamically manages frame rates, resolution, and screen layout among multiple sites where bandwidth might dictate differing qualities and connections with the Teliris Telepresence Gateway which connects Teliris Telepresence systems to other vendor's standards-based telepresence and videoconferencing end-points.� Because the switch does not have to perform computationally challenging work the Reflector doesn't require the same processing power (and attendant costs) as an MCU which leads to dramatically lower costs per port and the ability to do multi-point without the latency associated with intermediary hardware.

Most interestingly the switch can be set up to redirect traffic outside of the corporate firewall which means that firewall policy can be set to allow video traffic to and from the switch which then redirects traffic to/from end-points in other companies.� I.E. You can conduct inter-company telepresence sessions without having to reconfigure firewall policy each and everytime you want to connect to a new business partner, customer, or vendor. ��

The system is controlled by Teliris' Dynamic Scenario Manager (DSM) which understand the geometry of both Teliris telepresence systems and the telepresence systems of other vendors.� The Teliris DSM also manages scheduling/resources and allows Teliris to establish the right room geometry to connect together disparate systems from disparate vendors I.E. What is the optimal way to connect a 4 screen Teliris VirtuaLive System with a camera over each screen with a 2 screen Polycom RPX with a center mounted camera array?
��� �

Teliris Express - New Modular Telepresence Systems
Better Form Factors & Lower Prices


Teliris has re-engineered Teliris Express Telepresence, the company's line of modular telepresence offerings that is comparable in form factor to modular group and small group systems including Cisco TelePresence 1000, 1300, & 3000, & 3200 the LifeSize Conference 200, the Polycom TPX, and TANDBERG T1 & T3, and Telanetix Digital Presence.� The new systems have 70% less equipment than their predecessors which has cut the install time down to five days for a three screen system.� Teliris VirtuaLive Telepresence the company's flagship system which addresses acoustics, lighting, and environmental consistency has been upgraded as well.� All the new systems have been engineered to be easily serviceable and upgradable.� All the electronic components have been productized into removable expansion packs.� Each system can hold between 2-6 expansion packs which means that Teliris can easily upgrade customers to new capabilities by updating features of an existing expansion pack via remote software updates, adding a pack, or can repair a system by easily swapping out a pack if there is a problem with a component.�

Version 2.0 of the InterACT TouchTable and InterACT Easel


Teliris also rolled out the next version of their InterACT TouchTable and InterACT Easel.� Some of the new features include: Introduction of blank documents to be used as paperboards and flipcharts, Annotation support for all documents, snapshot feature for all the documents, providing pictures of the captured areas that can be manipulated as any other document, Video stream support to use webcams and other capture devices, including views to other computers, Shade feature to quickly hide a document on the table, Redesigned document menu with the new features, Metadata management for the documents, including saves for the annotations and future business logic data, Multitouch file manager enabling the exploration of multi-folder structures, copy, renaming, drag and drop between different folders and multiple layouts (horizontal, vertical and grid) among others.

The New Teliris NanoPersonal Telepresence- Desktop Video Appliance

Artist Rendering of the upcoming Teliris NanoPersonal with a 22 inch screen

Teliris also announced a new desktop executive system that compliments its group and small group telepresence line up.� The Teliris NanoPersonal features a 22 inch screen, broadcast quality HD video at 720p / 30 frames per second, and a $7,995 price point.� The system is fully compatible with the other Teliris telepresence offerings and inter-operates with other standards-based telepresence and videoconferencing systems through the Teliris Telepresence Gateway.� I saw a prototype operating with a pro-sumer Logitech camera at InfoComm connected to Teliris telepresence room systems and the quality was excellent. � �

Human Productivity Lab President Howard Lichtman's
Thoughts and Analysis

� �

I must confess that 3 years ago when HP, Cisco, and Polycom entered the telepresence market I thought Teliris was going to get squashed like a bug.� I thought the big boys would outspend them on R&D, sales and marketing, demonstration capabilities, and everything in-between leaving Teliris nursing the bruises attained when Fortune 1000 trucks run over your small privately held company.� Three years and $51MM dollars in venture capital later they have not only survived but thrived convincing me that every dollar spent by a start up equals $2-3 dollars spent by larger bureaucratic organizations.�

There are two major developments here:

1.� Teliris has dropped the price point for HD three-screen continuous presence group telepresence systems down to $135,000 in a market where the majority of the competition is substantially higher.�

Teliris_comp2.jpgTeliris Express3 vs. other three-screen continuous presence group systems

The three screen continuous presence group system is the lion's share of the *true* telepresence market for a number of reasons:�

  • You can get an entire executive team and/or project team into the six seats.
  • You can do continuous presence telepresence multi-point (lifesize humans on each screen) with multiple locations I.E. two people from city A on screen #1, two people from city B on screen#2, etc.
  • Inter-operability among competitive telepresence systems with respect to room geometry, spatial audio, call control, etc. is coming to three screen group telepresence systems first.�
So having an HD, 60fps platform at $135K is a substantial cost savings vs. the competiton BUT that is only 1/2 the story:

2.� The new Teliris codec platform is the first commercial implementation of Vidyo's H.264 SVC codec SDK in the three screen group telepresence system market.� The company has other telepresence providers using the technology (DVE, WBS Connect, and Vidyo won "Best of Show" at IT Expo in September) but this marks the first implementation of the technology in a multi-screen implementation.� The significance is that the Teliris/Vidyo codec dramatically reduces the cost of bandwidth required to support three screen group telepresence systems.� For companies that are deploying private network to support telepresence applications the cost of bandwidth can be as costly or even more costly over three years than the cost of the system.� Because the new codec requires less bandwidth and can operate over lossy networks requiring no QoS, Teliris represents a cost savings of between 33% to 50% in bandwidth.�

Cons / Wishlist

One of my stock lines is that telepresence is a science of trade-offs and while the new Teliris platform is cost-effective� the picture quality, color, and motion-handling of their old three-chip HD cameras was much better than the new single chip cameras that have helped get the cost down.� Teliris says you can still get the three-chip cameras as an option and I believe the price difference is worth it for the companies with the budget.�� Even though Teliris redesigned the Teliris Express Telepresence line they still kept the cameras visible (one of my telepresence pet peeves as humans tend to behave differently in front of a visible camera). Finally, my usual lament at the launch of each new three screen, flat panel telepresence system: When is someone going to get us out of the box and develop a cost-effective, seamless, panoramic, immersive experience similar to the 400 Series Polycom RPX or the Digital Video Enterprises Tele-Immersion Room.� To CEO Marc Trachtenberg's credit he says he has it in the pipeline for 2010--codename: Hercules.��

About the Author
HSL_Headshot.jpgHoward Lichtman is the President of the Human Productivity Lab, an independent consultancy focused on telepresence and effective visual collaboration for organizations looking to improve productivity and reduce costs.� The Lab provides corporate clients with acquisition consulting, RFI/RFP creation, and ROI/TCO financial modeling on telepresence systems, telepresence managed services, and inter-networking telepresence. The Lab also provides investors with prescient insight into the rapidly growing telepresence industry.� Mr. Lichtman is also the publisher of Telepresence Options, the #1 website on the internet covering telepresence technologies.

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