Sony and Codian announce videoconferencing partnership

HD solution supports existing installs

Sony and Codian, both manufacturers of videoconferencing products for IP and ISDN connectivity, today announced a partnership to deliver an end-to-end high definition (HD) solution, which supports existing installations.

Together, Sony and Codian aim to address the growing demand from business, education and government organisations, claiming HD reduces meeting fatigue and with continuous presence, delivers greater interaction, user satisfaction and participation.

Another key advantage of this end-to-end solution is its interoperability and seamless integration with existing installations of SD products, ensuring a single videoconferencing event, according to Mark Franklin, product manager at the business solutions division of Sony Australia.

"Users are offered an ideal infrastructure that exploits current investments in SD, while enabling a costeffective transition to an HD future.

"There is no need to replace an existing videoconferencing network; as this end-to-end solution has the advantage of mixing SD with HD, from multiple locations, during the same videoconference session across both IP and ISDN."

Videoconferencing is gaining popularity in the enterprise with vendors such as Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard focusing on the realism of videoconferencing -- they call it telepresence -- with their separate systems. Both companies rely on strict standards for the networks they use, as well as special rooms equipped with proper lighting and furnishings to improve video and sound.

But several vendors focused on videoconferencing products, such as Codian, Polycom and Tandberg, are embracing high-definition products as well, while also allowing customers to interoperate with other vendors' products using the Internet Protocol.

Codian has been at the forefront of these developments with a high-definition upgrade to its networking bridge, the Mult-point Control Unit (MCU) 4500.

The bridge works with endpoints from other vendors and provides high-definition video at 30 frames per second.

One company that is serious about videoconferencing is the World Health Organization which uses the technology to enable an estimated 2,000 employees to share valuable information without having to travel to headquarters in Washington.

"There is a large cost to bring everybody here to gather in a boardroom. The savings from reduced travel costs can be redirected into more programs," according to Dr. Richard Van West-Charles, the organization's information and knowledge management area director.

In a single year, the organization has had almost 1,500 videoconferencing sessions.

But Van West-Charles says costs are not the only benefit. Videoconferencing lets users stay entrenched in their locales without disruptions. "Our users are in communities trying to confront the local health needs," he said.

- with Sandra Gittlen

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