Avaya, Tandberg Expand Video Conferencing Capabilities

Tandberg is unveiling the EX90, a telepresence offering that brings the immersive video collaboration technology to the desk. At the same time, Avaya is teaming up with LifeSize to add more video conferencing capabilities to its Aura platform.

Tandberg and Avaya are making moves in the video collaboration space.

Tandberg on March 18 launched EX90, which extends the company's telepresence capabilities to the desk.

The EX90 brings the functions available in Tandberg's Telepresence offerings-including video and audio quality, and InTouch touch-screen interface-to a personal video collaboration experience. The technology will give business executives an easier way to communicate with employees, customers and partners through a telepresence environment, according to Tandberg officials.

"Business driven by emails and phone calls is a thing of the past," Tandberg CEO Fredrik Halvorsen said in a statement. "[Executives] must be able to connect face-to-face with anyone at anytime, at a moment's notice. The EX90 enables executives to engage with customers, experts and employees as if they were sitting across the desk."

Immersive telepresence technologies are designed to give users the impression that they're in the same room with the people they're meeting with, even if those people are somewhere else in the world. High-end systems from the likes of Cisco Systems and Tandberg include large screens and rooms in different locations set up to look similar.

However, vendors are looking to extend the telepresence experience outside of specially designed rooms, and outside of the company firewall.

Cisco officials March 11 introduced its Intercompany Media Engine, which is designed to let people at different companies more easily collaborate via video conference calls.

Cisco is in the process of buying Tandberg for $3.4 billion.

Tandberg's EX90 connects with any standards-based video or telepresence systems through InTouch, in full 1080p30 resolution. InTouch is an 8-inch screen interface that lets users make high-definition video calls, share content and use advanced features.

The system uses a 24-inch screen, and users can add up to three other participants to the call. When not in use, the screen can be used as a PC monitor, and users can add a second monitor if necessary.

For its part, Avaya on March 17 announced that it is including LifeSize Communications' HD video conferencing systems to its Aura UC (unified communications) platform.

The goal is to combine the HD video experience from LifeSize with the centralized UC management functions of the SIP (Session Initiation Protocol)-based Aura. The combination will mean enabling such video conferencing capabilities in multiple locations with multivendor environments.

"As working environments become increasingly distributed, video communications provide an outstanding ability to draw teams together and enable effective collaboration as part of a cohesive unified communication experience," Alan Baratz, senior vice president and president of Avaya's Global Communications Solutions unit, said in a statement.

LifeSize last fall was bought by Logitech for $405 million.