Video Unified Comms Device From Ricoh And Vidyo

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Ricoh is partnering Vidyo to bring its slim, portable Unified Communications System P3000 to market

Printer and office supply vendor Ricoh is getting into the highly competitive unified communications market, and is getting help from video collaboration company Vidyo.

Earlier this year, Ricoh  announced its intention of getting into the UC field and partnered with Vidyo on the video side of the equation in February. Ricoh has now announced the first product in its UC efforts, the Ricoh Unified Communication System P3000, a video-conferencing device that leverage’s Vidyo’s technology.

Slim, Portable And Flexible

The slim portable device – all 3.5 pounds (1.6kg) – offers a built-in camera, microphone, speaker and wired or wireless LAN port, and enables multi-point high-definition video conferencing. In addition, users can share documents, photos and video via the device, which also includes a foldable camera arm that is easy to set up and adjust. It also offers a user-friendly interface and a control panel that allows users to bring others into the video conference through a personalised contact list.

The new system, which will be released in Japan in August, leverages Vidyo’s technology that is based on its H.264 SVC (scalable video coding) architecture. The partnership and technology enable Ricoh to bring its UC System P3000 to market quickly, according to Hidefumi Nakamura, general manager for Ricoh’s UCS Business Department

“We were able to use Vidyo’s APIs and dramatically decrease the time to market for this compelling new product,” Nakamura said in a statement. “In the end, it is our corporate and enterprise customers who benefit from the speed and ease with which we were able to unveil this extremely high-quality and stress-free unified communications product.”

Ricoh is getting into a UC market that is dominated by the likes of Cisco, Avaya, Alcatel-Lucent and Microsoft.

In an interview with eWEEK, Young-Sae Song, vice president of product and channel marketing for Vidyo, said the Vidyo’s partnership with such a major tech vendor as Ricoh – which generates more than $23 billion (£14bn) in revenues and has more than 109,000 employees around the world – is an important one for his company. Song noted earlier statements by Ricoh officials that they expect to generate about $1.25 billion (£760m) in UC revenue by 2015.

“Ricoh is going to be a company to watch in unified communications,” he said.

Vidyo, which also has partnerships with Google and Hitachi, is best known for software that enables users to collaborate visually over their desktops. However, the company has aggressively pursued partnerships and products that are driving it into more direct competition with such heavyweights as Polycom and Cisco Systems. This year, Polycom bulked up its capabilities by buying Hewlett-Packard’s visual communications business, including the Halo telepresence products.

Vidyo Pushing For Recognition

In June, Vidyo made a push into the telepresence field with the release of VidyoPanorama, an HD system that increases the number of people who can participate in a video conference. VidyoPanorama is designed to help businesses get the HD video collaboration environment they demand at a fraction of the price that Cisco and Polycom charge for telepresence products, the company claims. Vidyo said its offering can drive down the cost of HD telepresence from as much as $500,000 (£305,000) to $44,000 (£27,000) for comparable capabilities.

Vidyo officials also argued that their systems were easier and faster to set up. Ricoh and Vidyo officials made the same point about Ricoh’s video conference system. By connecting the device to any video-output equipment, the Ricoh system can be up and running within 30 seconds, they claimed.

Ricoh is leveraging Vidyo’s VidyoRouter, which is based on the company’s Adaptive Video Layering architecture and H.264 SVC. The technology eliminates the need for a multipoint control unit (MCU). Video conferencing offerings traditionally need an MCU port for every room system that connects, calls and transcodes video. Eliminating the MCU helps drive down costs.

The Vidyo technology also means that Ricoh’s device will offer high-quality video over the Internet, LTE (long-term evolution), 3G and 4G networks.

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