Software-based telepresence means users can set up videoconferencing sessions in ordinary office space

Videoconferencing is one of those applications that has a high glamour quotient, and yet for most enterprises it hasn’t really caught on. In that respect it’s a lot more like voice recognition than commodity technologies such as email or document sharing. It has yet to become pervasive, and still faces barriers to implementation, such as the perceived cost and complexity of the equipment required to make it work as advertised.

These barriers have spurred videoconferencing vendors to come up with new ways to enable customers to leverage their existing systems as much as possible when adopting videoconferencing solutions. And advances in videoconferencing software have increasingly given vendors the ability to deliver to that demand.

Videoconferencing provider Vidyo Inc. has released what it says is the industry’s first ultra-HD soft room videoconferencing system. The company has announced the VidyoRoom Soft Edition, along with a free 4K ultra-HD rendering upgrade for customers of the company’s VidyoRoom HD-230 and VidyoPanorama 600 platforms.

Vidyo says that the software based videoconferencing products are the first to market with ultra-HD rendering of content and video, and 4K-ready infrastructure and 4K rendering endpoints as software-only upgrades. The end result, the company says, outperforms immersive telepresence systems.

The VidyoRoom SE can be employed in any office space. The software instals on the customer’s general purpose devices such as the Intel NUC, which means customers avoid the expense of expensive specialized videoconferencing hardware. Key features include:

  • a UI that accommodates remote control capabilities, including camera operation by remote session attendees (“Far End Camera Control”);
  • an integrated calendar for meeting setup;
  • automatic rendering of shared content on a second screen, if one is in use;
  • as-application installation on an open compute platform, which can run other apps and provide simplified access to content for sharing and collaboration.

The 4K upgrade to VidyoRoom HD-320 and VidyoPanorama 600 is available to current customers of those systems who are already on a maintenance and support plan. It is also being offered as an option for new VidyoRoom SE customers.

The 4K upgrade comes in response to the drop in ultra-HD resolution screens, which has brought 4K rendering capabilities within reach for organizations of all sizes, Vidyo says. The company says that its solution, unlike others billed as 4K, allows native ultra-HD rendering on the local display, “so there is no sacrifice in detail and quality,” as opposed to assembling a 4K package by upscaling from lower-resolution legacy devices and MCUs.

Features include:

  • rendering of HD-plus content in native resolution;
  • ultra HD with the same pixel count as a 4 X 1080p display, without the bezels dividing multiple screens;
  • simple single-screen deployment that frees up flexible screen space for the rendering of 4 X 1080p or 9 X 720p participant streams.

VidyoRoom SE and the 4K upgrades will be globally available in July. Pricing was not disclosed. Vidyo Inc. supplies telepresence products to customers in the health care, financial services, legal, retail, education and government markets, among others.

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