Vidyo officials want to make it easier and less expensive for organizations to bring high-end video conferencing to their meeting rooms.
The company next month will launch VidyoRoom SE (Software Edition), a version of its VidyoRoom technology that that will enable businesses to use off-the-shelf computers to create high-definition video capabilities in any meeting room, and also will offer software upgrades to bring UltraHD (4K) video support to the vendor's VidyoRoom HD-230 and VidyoPanorama 600 solutions.
VidyoRoom SE also will support 4K displays, according to Vidyo officials.
Businesses currently have many meeting rooms that don't include video capabilities because of the high costs and relatively poor user experience, according to Mark Noble, vice president of strategic marketing at Vidyo. The vendor is using its software-only approach to offer a good user experience with support for 4K while keeping costs low by enabling businesses to use PCs and other commodity hardware rather than expensive video equipment to create their video conferencing environments.
"Vidyo's uniquely adaptive software-based architecture has always leveraged the performance benefits of the ever-evolving PC market," Noble wrote in a post on the company blog, noting that bringing 4K support to its software offerings is the latest example "of how software solutions protect customer investments where competitive hardware approaches end up obsolete within months of purchase. To make video more pervasive throughout collaboration spaces, the enterprise needs to think differently about the makeup of a group solution for huddle rooms or conference spaces … and now they can."
During a Webcast event in March, Rowan Trollope, senior vice president of Cisco Systems' Technology Group, noted that 93 percent of conference rooms worldwide currently have no video conferencing equipment, and in the 7 percent that do, that equipment is not always being used, it's not always easy to use and can be pricey.
Vidyo's Noble found the same situation.
"If yours is like most companies, there are a significant number of collaboration spaces in your organization that are not yet video conferencing-enabled," he wrote. "Given the global nature of our economy today and the well-documented productivity benefits of visual collaboration, it begs the question, 'Why haven't group video conferencing solutions become more pervasive?' The answer boils down to cost and user experience."
The video conferencing market is continuing to undergo a painful transition as user interest shifts away from hardware-based systems to software- and cloud-based offerings. IDC analysts late last month said that first-quarter sales of video conferencing equipment fell another 15.9 percent from the same period in 2013, continuing a trend that has been ongoing for several quarters.
Rich Costello, senior analyst for enterprise communications infrastructure at IDC, said the industry is continuing to see "the impact of delayed customer buying decisions, lower-cost systems, more software-centric products, and competitive cloud-based video service offerings on the worldwide enterprise video equipment market."
Vendors like Cisco, Polycom and LifeSize Communications, which have a legacy in hardware systems, are aggressively building out their software- and cloud-based offerings, while smaller competitors like Vidyo, Blue Jeans Network and Zoom Communications are making inroads in the space with their software- and cloud-only offerings.
Vidyo CEO Ofer Shapiro said in a statement that with the new VidyoRoom SE offering and the 4K support, customers "get better performance than multi-screen telepresence at a fraction of the cost and installation complexity."
That will be helped further with the expected reduction in 4K display costs. For example, Intel officials at Computex 2014 in Taiwan said this week that the chip maker is partnering with Samsung and others to cut the price of 4K monitors in half. According to reports, low-end 4K monitors currently run about $800; Intel has set a target price for such devices at $400.