HP Teams with Vidyo to Extend Halo to Desktops

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The HP Halo Studio is the Cadillac of video conferencing solutions--delivering unsurpassed quality at a premium price. HP has teamed up with Vidyo to reduce costs and extend the HP Halo portfolio with video conferencing tools for conference rooms, and desktop endpoints.

HP is teaming with Vidyo to offer cost-effective video conferencing solutions to complement its premium Halo Studio offering.
The new HP-branded video conferencing options are intended to deliver a high-quality experience over standard network architecture--lowering the total cost of ownership and making visual collaboration a more affordable solution. The new HP tools will be interoperable with existing video conferencing endpoint solutions, as well as with HP Halo Studios.

"Companies need a complete portfolio of endpoint solutions, including video at the desktop, on mobile devices and in conference rooms, so they can collaborate more effectively," said Rob Scott, vice president and general manager, Halo Telepresence Solutions for HP in a press release. "Together with Vidyo, we will provide customers with quality desktop and conference room video experiences that run over the internet or wireless networks, are highly reliable and can seamlessly connect to our existing high-end video collaboration offerings."

The new offerings will rely on Vidyo's VidyoConferencing series of software-based desktop and conference room solutions running on HP servers. The use of standard HP hardware should dramatically reduce the overall investment required in network and video architecture, and the Vidyo software to deliver high-quality, high-definition video over that infrastructure.

According to the press release about the new partnership, "Vidyo's technology is able to optimize the user's video experience to reduce latency with H.264 Scalable Video Coding (SVC), an adaptive codec that can ensure a more reliable video experience on best-effort networks. This also eliminates the need for a costly multipoint control unit (MCU). "

Ofer Shapiro, co-founder and CEO of Vidyo, states in the HP press release,"Vidyo and HP will offer a set of solutions that bring together the best aspects in high-end videoconferencing whether at the desktop, in conference rooms or in Halo studios. Vidyo looks forward to partnering with HP to help enterprises achieve new efficiencies in global video collaboration from this software-based architecture."

Video conferencing has emerged as a hot technology--especially in the wake of the global economic meltdown. Companies can drastically reduce costs associated with travel and streamline teamwork at the same time by using video conferencing and visual collaboration in place of flying around the globe for face to face meetings.

HP faces stiff competition from Cisco--which recently finalized its purchase of Tandberg, and Logitech--which acquired LifeSize to move into the video conferencing big leagues. Microsoft, with the video conferencing capabilities of Office Communicator, and its innovative Roundtable conference room video camera (now marketed by Polycom as the CX5000) also offers a cost-effective option for online meetings and collaboration.

I followed up with Darren Podrabsky, marketing manager for HP Halo regarding the expected pricing for the new HP-branded Vidyo solutions. Podrabsky told me that HP is not yet sharing pricing details, but that because the solutions run over the public Internet and traditional network architecture as opposed to a dedicated private network there will be significant cost savings.

I asked whether customers have to have HP Halo to take advantage of the new Vidyo solutions, and how the video conferencing options interact with competing platforms. Podrabsky explained, "Customers do not need HP Halo. The solutions can be purchased just at the desktop or conference room level to connect workers. However, it is a smart way to expand the reach of existing HP Halo rooms or video conferencing that already exists in the company as the solutions will be interoperable with current Halo studios and existing H.323 endpoints."

The HP Vidyo solutions will also work with the Microsoft OCS (Office Communications Server) platform. Podrabsky added that HP and Vidyo will be working together to expand the interoperability to other platforms.

The solutions offered by HP will include an executive desktop solution running on an HP TouchSmart PC. HP and Vidyo will begin jointly marketing these solutions later this year through channel partners and will be targeted at small and medium businesses as well as larger enterprises.

You can follow Tony on his Facebook page , or contact him by e-mail at tony_bradley@pcworld.com . He also tweets as @Tony_BradleyPCW .

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