Vidyo Launches Free VidyoWay Cloud-Based Service

Vidyo's interconnectivity service will enable simple interoperability between such video conferencing platforms as Cisco, Polycom and LifeSize.

Vidyo, among the fastest-growing vendors in a highly competitive video conferencing market that includes the likes of Cisco Systems and Polycom, is rolling out a free service designed to address the gnarly issue of multi-vendor interoperability and€”hopefully€”add more fuel to Vidyo€™s rapid ascension.

Vidyo is unveiling its VidyoWay video conferencing service, a free cloud-based interconnectivity offering that enables business users to engage in video collaboration with others, regardless of vendor platform or endpoint devices being used€”conference room telepresence systems from Cisco or Polycom, Microsoft Lync clients or mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets.

The VidyoWay service, announced July 23, offers a simple self-service interface that businesses can use to quickly schedule and create a video conference, add invitees and participate, according to Ofer Shapiro, founder and CEO of Vidyo. A demonstration of the VidyoWay service can be found on the company€™s Website.

There are multiple goals to the new service, Shapiro told eWEEK. Interoperability between vendor platforms has been a key challenge to wide adoption of video conferencing, though there are numerous efforts under way to make it less complex. For example, Cisco officials in 2010 introduced the Telepresence Interoperability Protocol (TIP), aimed at immersive video collaboration solutions. Polycom last year helped found the Open Visual Communications Consortium (OVCC) to help push interoperability solutions among video conferencing platforms, and has the support of such vendors as Cisco, AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Microsoft.

Vidyo is one of several vendors looking to leverage the cloud to increase interoperability. Blue Jeans Network in March unveiled a cloud-based video conference bridging solution designed to enable easy interoperability between systems from the likes of Cisco, Polycom, LifeSize and Skype, and to eliminate the need for costly multipoint control units (MCUs).

VidyoWay is designed to provide an easy way to create wide interoperability, Shapiro said. At the same time, the hope is that as businesses see how effective and simple the Vidyo technology is, they will want to expand their use of Vidyo technology and buy more solutions, he said. The VidyoWay service hopefully will become the go-to video conferencing interconnectivity option for enterprises.

€œJust like Skype has become the default way for customers [to do video conferencing with friends and relatives], we would like to be the same way with businesses,€ Shapiro said.

He estimated that the VidyoWay service, with the wide range of vendor platforms and devices it supports, can cover as much as 95 percent of businesses using video conferencing. The service supports video conferencing systems from larger rivals such as Cisco, Polycom and Logitech€™s LifeSize Communications business, as well as other room systems based on H.323 and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) standards.

With a few clicks, users can get a meeting scheduled and started, invite new people to the meeting or participate. They also can send out invites via their own address books.

Video collaboration is a fast-growing segment in the communications space, as companies look to increase employee productivity and find new ways to connect with workers, partners and customers. At the same time, they can reduce their expenses, particularly travel costs. Analysts with market research firm IDC said in March that worldwide enterprise video conferencing revenue grew to about $2.7 billion in 2011 and could grow to $3.2 billion this year.

Still, there was a slowing in the market in the first quarter, IDC analysts said in May. Cisco and Polycom continued to lead the market, but their more expensive systems are being challenged by cost-effective software from smaller vendors like Vidyo, they said. The trend also has pushed Cisco and Polycom to focus more on software.

"The high-end, immersive telepresence market has been taking a hit lately as lower-cost, HD-quality video solutions, along with a range of new video deployment options for customers, have emerged," Rich Costello, senior analyst for IDC€™s Enterprise Communications Infrastructure business, said in a statement in May.

Vidyo has thrived in recent quarters. Shapiro said the company saw more than 90 percent revenue growth in the first quarter over the same time last year and that it now has more than 1,850 customers and is powering Google€™s Google+ social network.

€œWe are growing much, much, much faster than the rest of the industry,€ he said. €œWe do provide the system of the future.€

Vidyo€™s success has gotten the attention of investors, including Juniper Networks, which in May said it was investing in Vidyo and is planning to integrate Vidyo€™s video conferencing technology into its own products.