Thinking about Vidyo

Still cleaning out draft blog posts…

In March I had a long conversation with a representative from Vidyo (a software company) because I want to understand where videoconferencing is going, and what options may be coming down the pike to do curriculum videoconferencing on a scale in every classroom. Before you read my scribbles, review this:

Trend

  • There is a movement to push the processing to the endpoint instead of the MCU: i.e. the Vidyo endpoint (desktop software).

What is SVC?

  • SVC is scaleable videoconferencing – but it doesn’t seem to connect to other svc vendors
  • Vidyo licensed their technology to Google and Cisco, but those are then proprietary, so they don’t connect to each other. I don’t really understand that yet.
  • Vidyo is using annex 6 part of the h.264 standards suite

How Do You Connect?

  • Connecting to other sites is done with a guest link (sending a URL). It uses up a $5 software install for them to download and install it, or if they have it already it doesn’t cost anything…  (you prebuy the software licenses).
  • To call in with H323 you dial alias@IP of of the gateway.
  • To call out to an H323 site it’s extension plus IP of the other site.

Cost Structure
I probably shouldn’t share the costs they gave me because they will change. But here’s what you’re looking at:

  • A per seat per year cost
  • A gateway server to connect to H323
  • A software license for the number of ports you want / multipoint calls
  • A portal server to manage the seats and licenses

I’m not sure about Vidyo for curriculum videoconferencing. There’s a lot of content providers out there via H323 that you would need the gateway server for; and if just a school bought that, you might as well get a nice H323 videoconferencing cart for the cost of the gateway server. But would it make sense to do this at a regional level? For a regional just getting started with VC? I don’t know.

Have any of you tried Vidyo and what do you think of it?

0 replies on “Thinking about Vidyo”

  1. Mike Hamilton says:

    We started using Vidyo about a month ago. In terms of quality, I’ve never seen anything as responsive as Vidyo (except perhaps for really expensive telepresence gear). Because Vidyo uses individual H.264 streams for each endpoint. The real requirement is that each endpoint needs a fair amount of processing power (dual core ideally) to both encode their audio/video stream and decode the other participants. The entire solution is outside of the H.323 spec and if you really look at it, the technology is pretty much what videoconferencing would be were it designed from scratch now rather than bringing along all of the complex baggage of H.320 that H.323 brings. The only drawback is that you do have to have a gateway to talk to H.323 capable endpoints and the gateway does not yet support all of the features that direct Vidyo calls do. Our frequent videoconference users have had nothing but positive things to say about it. The biggest compliment being that interaction is near real time (very low latency with good speech sync).
    Having had 8 years of experience in H.320 and H.323, I was really skeptical to go outside of that world and look at a solution and I have to say I was immediately blown away by Vidyo. I reluctantly clicked on the link sent to me by our rep and could not believe how easily the conference call started. Mouths move with speech and people tend to look much more natural than in conference room calls using really expensive gear.
    The bottom line to keep in mind is that your end users have to have decent hardware to implement Vidyo. Having said that however, a dual core PC is considerably less expensive than even entry level H.323 appliances. I’m seriously considering replacing all of our conference room gear with PCs just so we can use Vidyo in more places.

  2. Alistair Wilson says:

    To Mike and Janine

    I have been looking for a solution to a problem we have in my organisation.

    We are doing a trial of the VidyoRouter and VidyoGateway system with a VidyoRoom HD200 unit in our VC environment. This environment includes both Polycom and Tandberg VC endpointss which talk through a Cisoc 3725 Gatekeeper and we also have a Codian MCU which is used for multipoint calls and external calls trhough a ISDN Gateway.

    The problem I am having is when trying to contact the Vidyo Desktop or Room units from the Polycom or Tandberg units I am unable to do so – no problems going from Vidyo to them.

    I suspect the fact that all of our units register with the Cisco Gateway causes the problem, – I have managed to register an E164 number for the VidyoGateway against the Cisco Gateway and this appears to be passed on to the MCU when I connect to it from a Vidyo Unit.

    Are you aware of anyone else who has a combination of units such as we do that may have experienced the problem, or have you guys experienced it yourself?

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    Alistair

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