Radvision launches videoconferencing appliance

Radvision Ltd. in Glen Rock, N.J., today is announcing a videoconferencing network appliance that works over both Internet Protocol and Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) networks.

Available today, the Invision product line starts at US$39,950, company officials said. It offers the ability to display 13 conference participants simultaneously on a PC screen.

“Radvision’s Invision product signifies the arrival of plug-and-play ‘appliances’ in the videoconferencing network products market, offering end users easy-to-use preconfigured products,” said Roopam Jain, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan in San Jose.

Invision’s ability to work with both ISDN and IP networks should position Radvision for growth as IP networking grows, Jain said. About half of all videoconferencing units being shipped are IP-only, but older ISDN has a strong foothold with some service providers and their customers. IP should become the predominant network in 2004, she said.

One videoconferencing user said the concept of a single videoconferencing appliance makes sense. “It will likely lead to shorter implementations,” said Mercedes DeLuca, vice-president of IT at Interwoven Inc. in Sunnyvale, Calif. Interwoven, a content management software maker, has deployed a Radvision bridge since June 2001 to videoconference between work sites.

“It allows us to hold face-to-face meetings without spending money on travel,” she said. The system is used in company-wide meetings as well as with customers.

“Deploying videoconferencing in the workplace can contribute to improved communications, productivity and reduced costs, provided that it is easy to use and is highly accessible,” DeLuca said.

Radvision’s principal competitor is Polycom Inc. in Pleasanton, Calif., but Tandberg Inc. in Reston, Va., recently entered the market for bridges and other gear, Jain said.