From science fiction to desktop for telepresence

Star Trek

Telepresence was science fiction in the 50s, a Disneyland attraction in the 60s, and eventually morphed into costly corporate “telepresence rooms” and other high-end systems, which relied on expensive dedicated communications lines.

Vidyo, a start-up company in New Jersey, says it has invented the next generation of teleconferencing that is cheaper and more portable, in part by using the Web to transmit, getting around the need for special communications lines and instead using the Web. It says that it will make teleconferencing available in offices, homes and hotels – and not just in boardrooms.

“Our product is a breakthrough to democratize telepresence and make it more affordable and portable,”  said Ofer Shapiro, chief executive of Vidyo.  Shapiro knows the earlier generation. He led the design team at Radvision in the 1990s that designed a key piece of equipment called a Multipoint Control Unit, or MCU, still in use today. Shapiro thinks it  obsolete.

Most teleconferencing offered today by such dominant players as Tandberg and Polycom, depends on MCUs, which are refrigerator-sized appliances that take television pictures from individual feeds, re-digest them and then put them together as Hollywood Square style pictures on a single screen.

The companies are players in a market projected to explode. Research firm Gartner says Teleconferencing among corporate users is projected to increase nearly 30-fold by 2015, to 200 million from 7 million last year.

from DealZone:

Next in M&A: the WordPress Hug?

Maybe it's time to add a new weapon to the old M&A arsenal of poison pills, dawn raids, and white knights -- the corporate blog. You could call it the WordPress Hug.

Late on Monday, Cisco's Ned Hooper used the company's blog to insist it had offered "a very good price" for Tandberg, after some shareholders of the Norwegian videoconferencing company said the price was too low. (See his full post here.)

The "Driving Conversations" blog of General Motors Europe has also been a source of news on the long-running (and now abandoned) talks to sell Opel, hosting posts from GM's chief negotiator, John Smith. (See some of his posts on the topic here.)