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HP Signs Up with Vidyo - Wainhouse Research's coverage and Interview with Vidyo's Shapiro and HP's Podrabsky

June 21, 2010 | Howard Lichtman
From Left to right: Darren Podrabsky, Marketing Manager, Halo Collaboration Products, HP, Ofer Shapiro, CEO, Vidyo via Vidyo and Rob Scott, Vice President & General Manager, Halo Telepresence Solutions

Here is some excellent coverage of the partnership of Vidyo and HP that was announced at InfoComm from this week's always insightful Wainhouse Research Bulletin.  The deal will expand HP's Halo visual collaboration portfolio to include conference room systems and desktop solutions.   The article features the thoughts and analysis of Senior Partner Andrew Davis on the partnership, a look at the new HP Vidyo portfolio, and an interview with Vidyo CEO Ofer Shapiro and HP Halo Marketing Manager Darren Podrabsky.

HP Signs Up with Vidyo

By Andrew Davis, Senior Partner - Wainhouse Research
via The Wainhouse Research Bulletin #14 - June 21st, 2010

In my humble opinion, this was the most newsworthy event at last week's InfoComm show in Las Vegas. According to the press release, this is an agreement to expand HP's Halo portfolio to include conference room and desktop endpoints that run on enterprise networks (and enterprise servers - no surprise). The solutions based on Vidyo technology will be branded as HP products and available through HP and channel partners. The solutions will be interoperable with traditional videoconferencing endpoints and current Halo Studios. So much for the press release, here's what I think and check out the Q&A session below.

  • This announcement really puts Vidyo on the map. It also puts scalable video coding on the map. But the Vidyo story is more interesting since it was less inevitable. Last issue of the WRB I jokingly referred to Vidyo's making a move of desperation with their pricing strategy; this announcement clears up any thoughts about their future. You have to assume that HP did a thorough evaluation of their videoconferencing alternatives and decided that the rogue, the disrupter, the innovator, had technology worth pursuing. The value of the HP name behind the Vidyo products cannot be overestimated.

The HP Halo Meeting Room Telepresence Environment

  • No question now that HP is getting serious about video. Vidyo gives HP a complete product line extending from the telepresence suite to the desktop and ultimately the distinct advantages of both SVC and the innovative Vidyo architecture.

  • No question either that HP is getting serious about taking on Cisco. Add videoconferencing and collaboration to servers, routers, switches and networked storage as areas where the companies will compete head to head. Add HP's strategic partnership with Microsoft in the UC space to the competitive mix as well. And while Cisco has a strong IP telephony story, HP will have Microsoft's OCS and Wave 14's VoIP story to sell.

  • Then of course there's the interesting situation with Polycom. The Vidyo announcement must have been greeted in Pleasanton much like news of an underwater oil leak - a bad situation with potentially devastating consequences. HP's services division (ES) is a reseller of Polycom gear (Tandberg also if you believe the press releases). Now HP is offering its own videoconferencing products - solutions running on HP servers, capable of scaling in multiple dimensions, and not requiring expensive DSP-based MCUs. The services group will service anything and everything, but where will they focus their marketing and sales efforts? Will HP evolve from being a Polycom partner to a Polycom competitor? Short term, I think Polycom is too important to HP - the HDX appliance architecture hits the mainstream market and directly counters TnpoC. But long term, the situation could be very different and HP-branded and supported Vidyo products could be aggressive market share gainers.

  • While the Vidyo-HP announcement would seem to be negative for Polycom, I see that Polycom stock has gone straight up since the announcement, which tells you what I know. That's why whenever I get the urge to invest in stocks, I lie down until the urge passes.
  • When I asked Polycom about the HP-Vidyo deal, I received the following. "Polycom has a strong relationship with HP Network Services and EDS, who are currently selling a full Polycom portfolio, from the desktop to fully immersive telepresence room systems. In fact, since the beginning of the year HP and Polycom have worked together to on-board approximately 200 HP sellers globally and have closed several transactions. This announcement by HP is non-exclusive and is around the expansion of their Halo telepresence solution to the desktop and into the conference room over time through partnering with Vidyo. It is but a single component of the HP video solution strategy overall.  Given our Polycom Open Collaboration Network strategy and our agnostic position, we fully support the expansion of these desktop and PC-based video solutions as we have tight integrations to the primary UC providers, such as Microsoft and IBM."

One on Two with Vidyo's Ofer Shapiro and HP's Darren Podrabsky


WRB: HP has announced a strategic partnership with Vidyo. What does this entail?
OS: HP is committed to an end-to-end leadership offering with its HP Halo visual collaboration portfolio and they'll be branding, marketing, selling and supporting the complete line of VidyoConferencing desktop and room systems. The branded solutions will be available through HP and their channel partners and will be fully interoperable with traditional video conferencing endpoints and current Halo Studios.

WRB: What happens to Vidyo's current channels?
OS: There's no change there. Vidyo's channels will continue to sell Vidyo's complete line of VidyoConferencing solutions as they always have to the same markets they've addressed. The difference is that Vidyo will now also be sold through HP channels as well. HP has a strong footprint in the Fortune 1000 which is a great addition to Vidyo's existing channels. The HP name and validation from this partnership brings greater visibility and credibility for our existing channels to leverage.

WRB: What does this announcement mean for the industry?
OS: HP's partnership validates Vidyo's H.264 SVC-based architecture, and will enable large organizations to confidently choose this solution because it will be backed by HP. We understand that the best technology doesn't always win and that many larger organizations have greater comfort level with one stop shopping from a large vendor like HP. Now they don't have to compromise or settle for an MCU- based, high-latency, low-quality system. HP clearly understands the offerings available in the market today and we're pleased to have been selected as HP's partner in Visual Collaboration.

The Vidyo Router provides multipoint capabilities without a costly MCU

WRB: Why is HP offering this particular technology from Vidyo?
DP: HP feels the combined HP-Vidyo offerings bring great value to the videoconferencing marketplace because of Vidyo's patented software-based architecture, which leverages H.264 SVC - and delivers great experiences on best-effort networks. This software-based offering has a lower total cost of ownership because it runs on an x86 appliance, and HP servers - and eliminates the need for a costly (multipoint control unit) MCU.

WRB: HP not too long ago announced a reseller agreement with Polycom and Polycom has been promoting HP as a strategic partner. What impact will the Vidyo announcement have on the HP-Polycom relationship? Also, if perhaps you could add some clarification: is the Polycom relationship with HP Network Services and EDS, or with the Halo group, or am I confused? I thought Polycom was being integrated into the Halo product offering?

DP: This agreement with Vidyo is not exclusive; HP Technology Services (TS), Enterprise
Services (ES) and NSS (Network Services) organizations will continue to position Polycom's offerings as a choice for customers. HP also continues to work toward deeper interoperability with Polycom and other leading vendors in standards bodies and the recently formed UCIF. This partnership with Vidyo is much more extensive than the reseller agreement with Polycom. The Vidyo relationship allows HP to deliver HP branded video solutions that expand Halo's portfolio to the conference room and desktop, providing solutions that deliver high quality video experiences on enterprise networks. Vidyo's software-based SVC technologies running on HP servers will also deliver dramatically lower total cost of ownership for enterprise customers.

The Vidyo Executive Desktop uses a touchscreen HP PC today. The Vidyo 220 (below, right) will be integrated onto HP desktops. 

vidyo_hd220.pngWRB: When will these Vidyo offerings be available and what will they consist of?
DP: The solutions will be available later this year, and they will include an executive desktop solution including an HP TouchScreen; a software-based desktop client that is downloaded to PCs, and includes a webcam and audio solution; a conference room solution that will include a room appliance, monitors, camera, and audio solution. The solutions will operate on HP servers running Vidyo's application to provide call management, routing, interoperability, and IT administration capabilities. The solutions will include value added services from HP or HP channel partners including concierge or helpdesk; network evaluation, project management, and install and break/fix services.

WRB: What does this mean to the customers who are looking at both you and Cisco?
DP: HP and Cisco have both long been focused on offering customers value in visual collaboration and telepresence. HP, with Vidyo, is now offering customers another option to expand telepresence to the desktop and conference room. HP is the market leader in servers and PCs and now, with this partnership with Vidyo and their innovative videoconferencing architecture, HP is now the defacto leader in desktop videoconferencing.

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