Vidyo bets on virtual video conferencing for desktop adoption

Vidyo is banking on virtual video conferencing software to drive desktop video adoption among businesses, claiming high growth in advance.

ORLANDO -- Vidyo, Inc., announced a fully virtualized, scalable infrastructure for video conferencing designed to ease enterprise desktop video deployment. Available in Q2, the software will be available in a flat-fee licensing model.

The software versions of Vidyo's video gateway and router -- VidyoGateway and VidyoPortal Virtual Editions (VE), respectively -- are designed to offer customers an end-to-end virtualized video conferencing infrastructure for the desktop.

Announcing the new products at Enterprise Connect 2013, Vidyo said it is seeing incredible video-conferencing growth among its customers who have adopted earlier editions of its products. While the private company didn't offer hard numbers, Vidyo Product Marketing Vice President Joan Vandermate suggested its year-over-year growth would be 68% over 2012. The company also claimed that Cisco and Polycom have seen a drop in video-conferencing sales of 17% and 1%, respectively.

"While virtualization has been rapidly implemented across IT application servers, storage and desktops for core workloads, [the] virtualization of video-conferencing infrastructure is a more recent development," said Frost and Sullivan Principal Analyst Roopam Jain explained.

Most companies are working toward 100% virtualization of their business-critical applications, but there are still challenges. Most industry analysts and vendors estimate a 10-20% decrease in application performance running in virtual versus hosted environments, which means virtualized video conferencing isn't out of the woods in terms of performance.

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Delivering multimedia communications in a virtualized environment presented challenges in the past as the processing power required by real-time video and audio conferencing have demanded dedicated servers. Those issues are being addressed by a new generation of virtualized solutions that are optimized for real-time video and audio," Jain said.

"Performance tests show that VidyoRouter VE running on the VMware vSphere platform meets its rated capacity of up to 100 simultaneous conference participants at HD resolutions, while operating within the recommended resource reservation levels," Vidyo's Senior Product Marketing Manager, Eric Tooley, wrote in a white paper.

Virtual video solutions trend upward

LifeSize and Avaya also offer end-to-end virtualized video-conferencing infrastructure. Vidyo's new $950-per-license payment model will appeal to some enterprises when compared to buying the hardware component, which runs anywhere from $2,000 to $12,000. Each license or "line" runs on a concurrent-use model that represents a Vidyo caller in a session. When a user ends the call, the license is released and returned to the license pool so it can be used by another user. This allows enterprises to test the waters with a desktop video rollout. A licensing model offers enterprises more flexibility in terms of adding or decreasing video-conferencing capabilities.

"We expect this trend to continue as users seek more affordable and flexible video-conferencing solutions that are accessible to a broader range of customers," Jain said. "Mid-market companies in particular find the traditional fixed-capacity, dedicated-server approach out of their reach due to high costs and management complexities. Virtualized video-conferencing solutions offer many inherent operational, environmental and business cost savings," she added.

 Interoperability high among desktop video barriers

Interoperability has been another barrier to desktop video adoption. While Vidyo claims its hardware and software solutions are interoperable with Microsoft Lync and legacy H.323 / SIP-based systems (like Polycom, Tandberg/Cisco, Lifesize and other brands), Vidyo does not offer Skype integration. Yet Vidyo is one of the few vendors that integrates with the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN)."We support native integration with Lync (via plug in), IBM Sametime, Mitel and Shoretel unified communications solutions. POTS [plain old telephone service] is natively supported in all Vidyo solutions," Vidyo's Product Marketing Vice President Joan Vandermate said.

While the virtual editions of their hardware products are only available on VMware today, Vidyo plans to add KVM and Xen in the near future.

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