By Howard Solomon
Assistant editor, Network World Canada

I suppose it was inevitable, but HD video conferencing from laptops is coming. As if there already isn’t enough going on to suck up your organization’s bandwidth. The latest sign that it’s on the way came last month when Tandberg demonstrated the upcoming version of its Movi software at Intel’s developer forum in San Francisco.
When released early next year, Movi will be able to shoot 720p images down pipes to eager recipients. Mind you, the demo had an assist — there aren’t any HD Webcams yet (Microsoft’s building one for Tandberg), so big HD camera was used. But Bruce Zieper, a senior Tandberg product manager, told me the demo on Intel quad- and dual- core laptops went fine. Who wants HD video conferencing? Apparently, some feel standard definition video images shall we say diminish people seen side by side on a widescreen telepresence HD system. Which may be why he claims that demand for Movi 2 among his customers is “staggering.” What Movi 2 will give is “business quality” images. That’s if the bandwidth is there. Tandberg and Intel haven’t finished tuning things yet, but Zieper believes Movi 2 will need 1.5Mbps for two-way HD conferencing. You’ll get that from an office, and maybe from home. But not from a shared wireless network at an airport or Starbucks — at least not without a price premium. Will mobile HD videoconferencing be a curse or a blessing? Well, what do you think of your network performance now? Exactly.

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