Citrix Online jumped into the video-collaboration space with the introduction of the HDFaces technology for its GoToMeeting and GoToTraining offerings.
Citrix Online is bringing video capabilities to its online-collaboration
offerings, a move that will bring it up to par with rivals such as Cisco
Systems, Hewlett-Packard and Polycom.
At the Citrix Synergy show in Berlin Oct. 6, officials with
Citrix Online-a six-year-old division of Citrix Systems-introduced HDFaces, a
high-definition integrated video conferencing tool for its GoToMeeting,
GoToWebinar and GoToTraining Web-conferencing offerings. HDFaces features
Citrix's Multistream HD technology, which enables conference participants to
view up to six high-resolution video streams-a total maximum resolution of
1920p x 960p-in an HD session, and to view video and the presenter's shared
desktop on the same screen.
Citrix Online rolled out a beta version of HDFaces at the Berlin
show, with general availability scheduled for the first quarter of 2011.
HDFaces gives users a better experience than do comparable
products from competitors, according to Citrix Online CTO
"When customers say they want video capabilities combined
with Web conferencing, they don't mean tiny, choppy images-but that's what they
currently get with the products on the market today," Christiansen said in
a statement. "What they actually want is to see the details in others'
facial expressions just like in a face-to-face meeting or training session.
That's why it was so important to us to incorporate high-resolution video into
our collaboration products."
Video collaboration has become an important technology, as businesses
look for ways to reduce expenses-such as travel costs-while increasing employee
productivity. Vendors expect this demand will only grow-Cisco officials say
they expect video to be a key part of a collaboration market that will reach
$30 billion within the next few years.
The result has been a stream of acquisitions, partnerships and
new products, as companies look to gain greater traction in the market. Cisco
earlier this year bought video conferencing rival Tandberg for $3.4 billion to
bolster its offerings, and on Oct. 6 is expected to expand its TelePresence
technology into the consumer field.
Logitech jumped in a year ago with its purchase of LifeSize
Communications, and Polycom continues to expand its offerings and partner with
of Avaya, HP and Microsoft
. Avaya also is pushing into the video-collaboration
space, both through in-house innovation with its Avaya
and through alliances
with Polycom and Skype
Skype-which has a strong consumer business with a user base of
about 400 million-is looking to move into the corporate world, and it sees its
partnership with Avaya as another avenue into the business space. The company
earlier this year began testing a technology that allows multiple parties onto
the same video call.
Citrix Online officials began talking about offering
a video collaboration
technology earlier this year. In an interview with eWEEK
in June, Bernardo de Albergaria,
vice president and general manager of global marketing and e-commerce for
Citrix Online, said the company was working on the technology, but wanted to
ensure that what it came out with was something that businesses would want to
At the time, de Albergaria said Citrix Online would come out
with something within three quarters, but that it would be patient to ensure
the technology was ready.
"We're not just going to push it out there," he said.
Company officials are confident about HDFaces.
"We've made it so easy and natural to work on a shared
document in a video conference that I can't imagine why any businessperson
would ever want to use a standalone desktop video-conferencing solution again,"
Citrix Online's Christiansen said.
Key features include the Multistream HD technology-a video-conferencing
viewer integrated into the content screen that enables attendees to collaborate
on shared content and see each other at the same time-and video optimization
that will automatically adjust to fit with the hardware and network of each
attendee. In addition, because Citrix Online is using no proprietary
technology, HDFaces can be supported by any HD-capable video-conferencing
viewer. The technology also will be standard in GoToMeeting,
GoToWebinar and GoToTraining.