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Wainhouse Research Collaboration Futures Summit '09: Videoconferencing

We’ve heard it from vendors for awhile now — video is the wave of the future. So it came as no surprise when I stepped onto the exhibit floor at the Wainhouse Research Collaboration Futures Summit ’09 that the only demonstrations were HD videoconferencing products. In this video, I take you through each demo from four vendors: Radvision, LifeSize, Vidyo and Tandberg.

As you can hear me say in the video, the buzzword of the day was “scalable video coding.”  The comparison of the scalable video vs. the video with 3% packet loss was pretty interesting — I know my video quality itself wasn’t the best (ironic), but trust me when I say that the scalable video looked significantly clearer. There was not a bit of pixelation on the screen, whereas the 3% packet loss looked like satellite dish TV when there’s a major hurricane — very pixelated.

A few products were hardware-based, and others were software-based. Software-based products seem to be the best for desktop videoconferencing, as clunky hardware would clutter up one’s desk, and a simple webcam attached to a desktop will do the trick. Software is also generally cheaper, as a license and simplified hardware is easier to purchase than a full hardware system.

But for room-based videoconferencing, hardware seemed to provide better clarity. As the LifeSize rep pointed out, a hardware videoconferencing solution isn’t going to draw on your system’s processing power and make everything run slowly, depending on your system. Hardware has an inherently different (though not necessarily better) troubleshooting method as well, if anything should go wrong.

Videoconferencing wasn’t the only topic discussed at the Wainhouse Research Collaboration Summit. In my next blog entry, I’ll give a brief summary of the topics discussed during the sessions.

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