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Apple Invents Multi-Participant Video Conferencing Architecture

February 21, 2014 | Telepresence Options


Story and images by Patently Apple

On February 20, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a new architecture relating to Multi-Participant Conference Setup. The sophistication of Apple's architecture as noted in their patent pending invention, could suggest that Apple is contemplating a FaceTime Pro version of their application for the enterprise that might one day compete with the likes of Cisco's WebEx. Apple's push for iWork on iCloud�would definitely make future video conferencing at the enterprise level in the future much easier for sharing documents in real-time. This is definitely a future service to watch for down the road.


Apple's Patent Background

In recent years, users of local and wide area networks (e.g., the Internet) have upgraded to increasingly higher bandwidth connections. The common user also has access to greater computer hardware processing power. At the same time, the coders and decoders (codecs) for video transmission over a network connection have seen improvements such that an individual user has the capability to stream and receive real-time video over the Internet with off-the-shelf components. All this has allowed individual users to begin chatting, sharing, and videoconferencing with point-to-point technologies on their computers.

However, bandwidth remains a constrained resource that must be shared over many users. Likewise, processing power is typically shared by the operating system and several applications in a typical user's computer hardware. These factors have been barriers to the use of personal computers in establishing a conference with more than two participants. Such a conference will be referenced below as a multi-participant conference.

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