HP, Vidyo Team Up on Video Conferencing

Hewlett-Packard is partnering with video conferencing software maker Vidyo to expand the collaboration capabilities of its Halo telepresence products. HP will begin offering desktops and other devices integrated with Vidyo's VidyoConferencing software.

Hewlett-Packard is looking to drive down the cost and expand the customer base of its Halo telepresence products through a partnership with Vidyo.

Through the partnership, which was announced June 9, HP will integrate Vidyo's VidyoConferencing software into HP PCs and other products to offer high-definition desktop video conferencing over enterprise networks.

Included in the offerings will be an executive desktop package that runs on an HP TouchSmart PC. The products, which will begin appearing later in 2010, will be HP-branded, though they will be jointly marketed.

The HP-Vidyo partnership announcement comes amid a host of other video conferencing and telepresence news from the InfoComm show, in Las Vegas. Cisco System officials announced June 8 that Cisco will be putting its Telepresence Interoperability Protocol into Tandberg telepresence products, and is rolling out TelePresence Commercial Express, a low-cost immersive video collaboration offering for small and midsize businesses.

Polycom officials on June 7 rolled out the OTX 300 telepresence offering, which is designed to drive down the bandwidth needed and costs of telepresence sessions. For its part, Vidyo at the show announced free multipoint conferencing for room systems.

For HP, the partnership with Vidyo will enable it to offer video conferencing within its Halo portfolio at a much lower cost. Like Cisco's TelePresence offerings, HP's Halo telepresence products require businesses to buy life-sized monitors, which can run more than $100,000, and dedicated Internet hookups that can cost $10,000 or more per month.

These immersive video collaboration offerings can also include furniture and other amenities. The idea is to create an environment in which people in the video conference feel they are in the same room, even though they may be half a world away.

The telepresence offerings also include other collaboration tools, such as for document sharing and editing.

With Vidyo's video conferencing software, HP can now bring its capabilities to the desktop and to mobile devices, which in turn will help drive down costs for businesses and increase HP's customer base.

"This is important because enterprise customers continue to demand high-quality, low-cost solutions for the desktop that are fully interoperable with traditional video conferencing endpoints as well as HP Halo," Darren Podrabsky, marketing manager for HP's Halo business, said in an e-mail to eWEEK. "This agreement between Vidyo and HP now brings a high-quality video experience to desktops and conference rooms while operating on infrastructure that delivers a lower total cost of ownership."

Vidyo's products run on H.264 Scalable Video Coding, which reduces latency and removes the need for a costly multipoint control unit, which will give HP's offerings highly reliable video capabilities.

"HP is the leader in desktop computing systems and, together with Vidyo's disruptive H.264 SVC VidyoConferencing solutions, HP is now the de facto leader in desktop video conferencing," Vidyo CEO Ofer Shapiro said in an e-mail to eWEEK.

Adoption of video conferencing tools is growing as businesses look to increase productivity while reducing costs, including travel expenses. They also see the technology as a way of increasing collaboration with partners and customers.

Cisco has been selling its TelePresence products for about five years, and company officials have said they expect the global telepresence market to grow from $3 billion in 2010 to about $10 billion in the next five to seven years.