Vidyo is bringing its video-collaboration technology to the cloud.
Vidyo officials on Nov. 8 unveiled the Virtualized VidyoRouter, an all-software version of its Vidyo Router appliance that can be run on virtual machines from the likes of VMware and be deployed in hybrid, private or public clouds, such as Amazon Web Services. The offering greatly expands the reach of video conferencing and can drive down both the capital and operational expenses associated with the technology, according to Mark Noble, director of product marketing for Vidyo.
Vidyo's move to the cloud is illustrative of the larger trend in video conferencing away from expensive hardware in corporate conference rooms to more software-based offerings that let users leverage video-collaboration technology from anywhere and any device, from desktop and laptop PCs to tablets and smartphones.
"There's a paradigm shift from the room to the person," Noble said in an interview with eWEEK.
Other video conferencing players also are moving with the transition from hardware-centric products to more software-based offerings. Polycom last month introduced an aggressive software-based strategy, and soon after bought software-maker Vivu. In addition, Polycom, Cisco Systems, Vidyo, Radvision and ShoreTel all announced in recent weeks that they were bringing video conferencing capabilities to mobile devices-in particular, smartphones and tablets-through applications that can be downloaded onto the devices.
Vidyo, which competes against larger rivals like Cisco, Polycom and Logitech's LifeSize Communications business, has been pushing its technology as an alternative to the more expensive offerings from those competitors. A key to the company's message is that with its technology, businesses can offer video-collaboration capabilities that can bring not only people in conference rooms into a meeting, but also those using desktops, laptops and mobile devices, and all without the need for expensive multipoint control units (MCUs).
Instead, Vidyo created the VidyoRouter, which is based on the company's Adaptive Video Layering platform and H.264 scalable video coding (SVC) architecture. However, the VidyoRouter was still a piece of hardware. That has changed with Virtualized VidyoRouter, a move that Noble said will continue to differentiate Vidyo's offerings from those from Cisco, Polycom and LifeSize.
The key is the dependence of competing products on the MCU, according to Noble. Until now, virtualization in video conferencing has been limited to call control; with Virtualized VidyoRouter, it now can also encompass the media plane, he said. In addition, MCUs bring with them geographical limitations, Noble said. If a business wants to have video conferences around the world, MCUs are needed in different regions. Virtualized VidyoRouter can be redeployed through the cloud.
Virtualizing the technology will continue to drive down the cost of video conferencing, Noble said. There's no longer any need to buy a hardware appliance, and bringing the technology to the cloud will drive down the cost of a video conference from dollars-per-minute to cents-per-minute, bringing it into the cost range of a traditional audio call, he said.
The Virtualized VidyoRouter also can be set up in about 10 minutes, and can scale to 100 concurrent high-definition connections, Noble said. The technology can be used by enterprises, but is seen as a great fit for service providers, giving them one more offering to bring to customers.
The Virtualized VidyoRouter will be released in 2012, Noble said.