Printer and office supply vendor Ricoh is getting into the highly competitive unified communications market, and is getting help from video collaboration company Vidyo.
Ricoh officials earlier this year announced their intention of getting into the UC field, and partnered with Vidyo in February on the video side of the equation. Ricoh on July 29 announced the first product in its UC efforts, the Ricoh Unified Communication System P3000, a video-conferencing device that leverage's Vidyo's technology.
The slim portable device-all 3.5 pounds-offers a built-in camera, microphone, speaker and wired or wireless LAN port, and enables multi-point high-definition video conferencing. In addition, users can share documents, photos and video via the device, which also includes a foldable camera arm that is easy to set up and adjust, offers a user-friendly interface and a control panel.
Users can bring others into the video conference through a personalized contact list.
The new system, which will be released in Japan in August, leverages Vidyo's technology that is based on its H.264 SVC (scalable video coding) architecture. The partnership and technology enable Ricoh to quickly bring its UC System P3000 to market, according to Hidefumi Nakamura, General Manager, UCS Business Department
"We were able to use Vidyo's APIs and dramatically decrease the time to market for this compelling new product," Nakamura said in a statement. "In the end, it is our corporate and enterprise customers who benefit from the speed and ease with which we were able to unveil this extremely high-quality and stress-free unified communications product."
Ricoh is getting into a UC market that is dominated by the likes of Cisco, Avaya, Alcatel-Lucent and Microsoft.
Young-Sae Song, vice president of product and channel marketing for Vidyo, said in an interview with eWEEK that Vidyo's partnership with such a major tech vendor as Ricoh-which generates more than $23 billion in revenues and has more than 109,000 employees around the world-is an important one for his company. Song noted earlier statements by Ricoh officials that they expect to generate about $1.25 billion in UC revenue by 2015.
"Ricoh is going to be a company to watch in unified communications," he said.
Vidyo, which also has partnerships with Google and Hitachi, is best known for its software, which enables users to collaborate visually over their desktops. However, the company has aggressively pursued partnerships and innovations that are driving it into more direct competition with such heavyweights as Cisco Systems and Polycom, which this year bulked up its capabilities by buying Hewlett-Packard's visual communications business, including the Halo telepresence products.
Vidyo in June made a push into the telepresence field with the release of VidyoPanorama, an HD system that increases the number of people who can participate in a video conference. VidyoPanorama also is designed to help businesses get the HD video collaboration environment they demand at a fraction of the price that Cisco and Polycom charge for telepresence products. Vidyo officials said their offering can drive down the cost of HD telepresence from as much as $500,000 to $44,000 for comparable capabilities.
Vidyo officials also argued that their systems were easier and faster to set up. Ricoh and Vidyo officials made the same point about Ricoh's video conference system. By connecting the device to any video-output equipment, they can get the Ricoh system running within 30 seconds.
Ricoh is leveraging Vidyo's VidyoRouter, which is based on the company's Adaptive Video Layering architecture and H.264 SVC. The technology eliminates the need for an MCU (multipoint control unit). Video conferencing offerings traditionally need an MCU port for every room system that connects, calls and transcodes video. Eliminating the MCU helps drive down costs.
The Vidyo technology also means that Ricoh's device will offer high-quality video over the Internet, LTE (long-term evolution), 3G and 4G networks.