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Video Room System? There is An App for That!

June 5, 2014 | David S. Maldow, Esq.


Up until now, room videoconferencing and desktop videoconferencing had one major difference. You bought a box to power your room system, and you downloaded software for your desktop VC. Today, many meeting rooms have a decently powerful PC already in place and connected to a big monitor. If only there was a software room system that could run off of that PC and provide a business class experience. That would give us the best of both worlds, true meeting room VC, without the complexity and expense of additional hardware.

Some of you may be thinking that this isn't anything new. We already have downloadable VC software running in meeting rooms. Whether it be a consumer offering like Skype, or a business class desktop client, the software has long been available. Vidyo itself offers VidyoDesktop which could be installed on any meeting room PC. The key difference is that these are all desktop applications. They are designed for the fixed camera, close up, desktop setup. Yes, you can use them in a meeting room and it will be an improvement over a phone call, but it is still a compromise compared to a true VC room solution. The new VidyoRoom SE offering is an actual meeting room system, with a UI visible at 10 feet, support for far end camera control, etc. In fact, rather than being a less powerful version of a hardware system, this new software room system is actually leading with 4k resolution support (allowing for 9 images on screen, "brady bunch style," all at a full 720p resolution each, or four images at a full 1080p each).


VidyoRoom SE is the no compromise solution, and Vidyo is uniquely positioned to lead in the software room system space. In truth, Vidyo has always been a software company. Their solutions have always been designed to work on generic hardware, whereas the other top room VC vendors have all designed and built custom hardware to power their offerings. Vidyo has packaged its software with generic hardware in the past to make it available to their customers. Basically, they sold boxes because that is how VC was purchased in the market of the time, but they have aggressively been virtualizing their offerings piece by piece to allow for software only deployments.

(Obviously some hardware is required, but new affordable meeting room cameras, like the Logitech CC3000e pair perfectly with VidyoRoom SE)

Now that generic meeting room PCs are pretty much ubiquitous, Vidyo can finally offer the last remaining piece of their video platform in software only form. You can now download the appropriate Vidyo app to your device in all cases, whether it be your desktop, phone, tablet, or meeting room system. Even the infrastructure behind the scenes can be downloaded and installed on your virtualized infrastructure servers. Whether you are looking for a full head to toe VC deployment, or expanding your existing environment, Vidyo "has an app for that" ready to run on your existing hardware.

A software only solution is particularly compelling in the international market. Shipping hardware overseas can cause political headaches. If some of our overseas friends would feel more comfortable using their own hardware, then Vidyo becomes an easy choice out of the major VC providers. Another compelling aspect of Vidyo's software approach is that it can be supported by a range of hardware options. Looking to keep the budget down, stick a little Nuc on the back of your monitor and you can run VidyoRoom SE off of that. If you happen to have a full powered PC in the room, install VidyoRoom SE there for the full 4k experience.


Vidyo Continues to "Appify" Themselves
I spoke with Marty Hollander, Vidyo Evangelist, about this new offering, and he shared some insight into Vidyo's current strategy and direction. I've been writing recently about an exciting trend in video, and Vidyo is well aware of it and wants to be ahead of the curve. The trend is the growing implementation of video technology into other solutions and platforms. As recently as a few years ago, VC was still so complicated that it was a big victory to just get a basic meeting room VC session to work. A lot has changed and now VC tech is reliable, affordable, and most importantly, flexible. This allows for a number of new integrations and uses of VC beyond the boardroom.

The healthcare industry has long been an early adopter of VC technology. Vidyo has nurtured a close relationship with the healthcare industry, touting many high profile partnerships. One of the benefits of this relationship is that it gives Vidyo an opportunity to try new things and incorporate their technology into a number of new platforms. It isn't just about increasing access to doctors in remote places anymore, it is about integration into key hospital workflow and processes. For example, in healthcare your "electronic medical record" (EMR) is an essential tool to allow heathcare providers to track and deliver the proper care. Vidyo's technology has been integrated into several EMR platforms so that calls and remote examinations are automatically incorporated into the EMR. This capability has allowed for Vidyo usage to grow to cover 30% of integrated medical delivery networks.


With recent announcements from state medical boards determining that video exams are medically equivalent to in-person meetings in certain cases, these visits become insurable, which means telehealth is poised for some massive growth, which Vidyo (designed for unlimited scalability) is ready to support.

As exciting as the healthcare story is, the numerous Vidyo partnerships and successes are just an indicator of their greater strategy. It isn't about healthcare, it is about "appifying" videoconferencing so that other verticals and platforms can easily add video to their solutions and offerings. Whether it's adding VC to your call center, shop kiosks, telemedicine network, sales networks, education services, or new uses that we haven't even begun to explore, Vidyo wants to be the easy plug in to make it all work.

This doesn't mean that Vidyo is abandoning the enterprise VC market. Despite all the doom and gloom from the financial analysts, business VC is continuing to grow. It is just transitioning from hardware to software. While the rest of the market struggles to reinvent themselves as software companies, Vidyo has always been a software vendor, somewhat disguised as a traditional VC box seller. Now they can drop the act and be themselves, and the best part is the world is not only ready for it, but begging for it.

About the Author
David_Maldow, Esq.David Maldow, Esq. is a visual collaboration technologist and analyst with the Human Productivity Lab and an associate publisher at Telepresence Options. David has extensive expertise in testing, evaluating, and explaining telepresence and other visual collaboration / rich media solutions. David is focused on providing third-party independent analysis and opinion of these technologies and helping end users better secure their visual collaboration environments. You can follow David on Twitter.

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