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Five years after it entered the virtual conferencing market
with its immersive Halo telepresence technology, Hewlett-Packard on Wednesday
introduced a new line of high-definition videoconferencing products for
desktops, laptops and traditional conference rooms. The new products can be
operated on corporate or public networks.
"This is a new area for HP, and we feel the time is
absolutely right to get in," HP Visual Collaboration product management
director Marcio Macedo told BTN.
"It's a big investment that HP is making in this space."
The new products are based on scalable video coding
technology provided by HP partner Vidyo Inc. that Macedo said "is much
more friendly to customers' networks and lowers the latency on multi-party
calls. That's something that plagued videoconferencing in the past, the delay."
Suppliers for years have launched and refined desktop
videoconferencing solutions with varying degrees of success, but Macedo said HP
believes the SVC technology to be the key to a successful deployment. "The
SVC technology is just the right fit to scale into customers' networks without
bringing down the network," he said.
The cost of a software license for the new videoconferencing
product should average about $100 per desktop, Macedo said, and conference room
solution pricing starts at "just under $5,000," a number that will
vary based on the room's size, shape and camera requirements.
Though the new product line is a major departure from Halo,
Macedo said HP would continue to develop immersive telepresence as well.
"Halo's been very successful, but it is only one of
many applications, and it's at the high end of the all the possible experiences
you can have, so we feel the need to expand our presence and leverage the experience
we've had with Halo." Macedo said. "This is a big, addressable market
and leverages a lot of technology we already provide to customers through other
businesses, be it the servers, HP networking or the global range of services
that we have in networks and visual collaboration.
"Halo is a segment that is growing very, very quickly,
[but] as customers deploy visual collaboration technologies, most users will
experience it through their PC or in a traditional conference room versus a dedicated
studio," he continued.
The new Visual Collaboration line of products cannot
connect to Halo rooms, though Macedo said HP plans to offer such a
connection next year.