Industry News

Telepresence Has the Potential to Cut Millions of Tons of CO2

This past century has seen emerging communications markets skip an entire generation of technology infrastructure, namely, the wired telephone system. Large portions of the population in countries like India and China now have cell phones in areas that never had traditional landlines. 

If these countries build a transportation infrastructure based on the model in the United States, the emissions could have a major impact on the climate. However, if they choose to skip a generation of infrastructure, emissions growth will be far more manageable. In an effort to do this very thing, China has been investing heavily in modern mass transit, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT). They have surpassed the United States in both these areas and yet Americans cling to the outdated model. 

Can we achieve a similar critical dematerialization of communications through telepresence as an effective substitute for much repetitive business travel? We need to do it, and we now have the technology to do it. So my best guess is—to coin a phrase—‘yes we can’.

Paul Dickinson, as CEO of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), used these words to rally his troops behind the telepresence revolution. As part of their ‘yes we can’ attitude the CDP conducted a comprehensive study examining the environmental and economic benefits of using telepresence in the short term, and after long-term, large-scale adoption of this technology. 

The CDP study piggybacked on the Smart 2020 Report that forecasts an emissions savings of 7.8 billion tons of CO2 by 2020 through the smart integration of ICT in the workplace, and personal space. In an effort to better quantify the environmental and financial impact of telepresence, the CDP collected data from 15 of the Global 500 companies that have already upgraded to the telepresence model. 

The CDP concluded that telepresence could avoid millions of tons of CO2. A single business with four telepresence rooms can reduce CO2 emissions by the equivalent of 400 passenger vehicles in the span of five years, 2,271 metric tons. Implementing telepresence throughout the US has the potential to reduce emissions by almost a million metric tons per year. 

Besides the environmental benefits, the CDP study also concluded that deployment of telepresence in businesses with annual revenues of more than $1 billion could see an economy wide financial benefit of $3.5 billion by 2020 and this is in the US alone. 


Google Enlists the Help of Vidyo for Improving Video Quality

Vidyo, batipi's powerful telepresence technology, has gotten another vote of confidence from the world of technology. Google has recently enlisted the help of Vidyo to improve the video quality of web-native applications that do not require plugins or special software. It's not a new partnership, necessarily. Google previously called on Vidyo to power Google+ Hangouts. Seeing the effectiveness of Vidyo's scaleable video coding (SVC), they expect the technology to aid WebRTC improvements.

The magic of Vidyo is in its responsive design. With SVC extensions, video and audio automatically adjust quality and bandwidth depending on the characteristics of the device accessing the content. 

The partnership will serve as a great boost to WebRTC, Google's current protocol for responsive real time communication (RTC). Expectations are that the power of WebRTC and the expertise of Vidyo will create a sort of RTC dream team. Web-native content will be more responsive and app-like, giving the user a better real-time experience.

Those signed onto a telepresence service powered by Vidyo already understand the importance of the technology in video conferencing. Responsive design allows browser-to-browser and browser-to-server communications to give every participant in the video conference a quality experience, no matter where they are or what device they're using. Mobile and field players are better brought into the fold.

Organizations looking for a cost-effective and eco-friendly way to link team members and partners separated by satellite and field offices, can trust in clear communications with minimum technical glitches. Vidyo's responsive design minimizes clumsy load times and sporadic disconnections that interrupt important discussions and hinder productivity. They can do so without the cost and carbon footprint of extensive travel.

Google understands the power of Vidyo's technology, and we do, too. For more information about how Vidyo's telepresence technology can improve your video conferencing, contact us.

 

U.S. Government Seeks to Save $15 Billion With Video Conferencing

Video conferencing has many benefits, not the least of which is economical. As travel costs rise and travel budgets tighten, many in business have moved toward online, real-time communication tools. According to The Business of Federal Technology, it appears that the U.S. government may be following suit. This July, the U.S. House of Representatives introduced legislation that would potentially cut $15 billion in travel expenses incurred annually by federal agencies through the increased use of videoconferencing.

The bill, titled "Cut the Waste, Stay in Place Act of 2013," and introduced by Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick, (R-Pa.), would call on the director of the Office of Management and Budget to develop a plan to reduce the federal government’s travel expenditures by as much as 50 percent by 2017. 

Specifically, the bill calls on the use of video conferencing to achieve a significant budget cut. Writers of the bill claim the following three benefits to adopting this new measure:

  1. Video conferencing has been under-utilized thus far, and therefore its full potential has not been completely realized.
  2. The move from hardware-based software to browser-based software makes video conferencing technology less expensive and more accessible to more parties.
  3. Video conferencing enhances communication, improves problem-solving, reduces carbon footprints, facilitates better collaboration, and shortens project time periods, among many other benefits.

This new bill builds on previous orders issued via the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010, which already calls for agencies to reduce travel expenditures by 30 percent compared to 2010 levels. Under the umbrella of previous initiatives, many agencies have already made motions toward collaborative technology.

NASA is one such agency. It saved $21 million in fiscal 2012 by replacing travel with video conferencing when it was possible. The Naval Safety & Environmental Training Center has successfully used video conferencing for better training programs--providing video-based education to over 10,000 government civilians and Navy personnel all over the world. The Center also adapted its mission-critical U.S. Navy Safety Professional Development, replacing its San Diego conference with a video broadcast. This adaptation reduced a potential $1.5 million travel tab to less than $100,000.

The budget saving advantages of video conferencing are undeniable, and the U.S. government agrees. Real-time communication benefits are realized while maintaining a responsible hold on expenditures.

CERN Switches to Vidyo

When it comes to videoconferencing, no one is pickier than CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.  Founded in 1954 and straddling the border between France and Switzerland, this massive facility is home to some of the most cutting-edge research in physics.

Home to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest and most powerful partical accelerator, CERN houses research by over half of the world's particle physicists - about 6500 people. They come from over 500 universities in 80 countries.

CERN's staff also includes highly specialized engineers, technicians, designers and craftspeople. All told, about 3000 people are employed to prepare, run, analyze and interpret the complex scientific experiments that make CERN a successful scientific organization. 

So when CERN made the decision to retire its proprietary video conferencing system and switch to Vidyo, it made headlines.

According to Dr. Tom Smith, the leader of Collaboration and Information Services Group at CERN’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, commercial products often lag behind those created by CERN when it comes to capabilities.   “Quite often what we do is invent our own because of a need we can’t meet,” he says.

To that effect, CERN has used a privately developed videoconferencing system since 1996, which has remained in use until this year.  This system outstripped anything commercially available for years.

But CERN is not in the business of lagging behind the time, and the researchers kept an eye out for new technologies to service their needs. 

In that vein, CERN piloted Vidyo’s conferencing gear roughly in 2009 or 2010, he says, to see whether it could scale to the needs of the organization, which supports 250 conferences per day, with 3,000 individuals participating in those conferences. The largest single conference had more than 250 participants, and overall provided connectivity for 3,000 connections of independent users in a day.

While CERN hasn't completely moved over to Vidyo, the product's support for iOS devices and scalable video coding (SVC) makes it very attractive.  

The equipment supports devices running Windows, iOS, Linux and Android. In a pinch participants could use smartphones and they have, but that’s a last resort as when a conference participant has to catch a plane and the only option is to conference in from the airport, Smith says. Support for iOS devices was something the proprietary system lacked, he says.

CERN is best known to non-scientists as the facility that discovered the so-called "God Particle," also known as the Higgs Boson, in 2012.  While the discovery made front page news, most lay people have no idea what the Higgs boson--or any boson, for that matter--even is.  According to Jonathan Atteberry at HowStuffWorks.com,

Some physicists have described bosons as weights anchored by mysterious rubber bands to the matter particles that generate them. Using this analogy, we can think of the particles constantly snapping back out of existence in an instant and yet equally capable of getting entangled with other rubber bands attached to other bosons (and imparting force in the process).

Finding the boson was no easy task.  It required time, money, communication, and tons and tons of data.  As Cornell associate professor Peter Wittich explains,

...the Large Hadron Collider works by smashing beams of protons together, with the collisions recorded by cameras taking 40 million pictures a second. “We think of ourselves as big data pioneers,” said Wittich, describing the analysis necessary to find significant events. “It’s the ultimate needle in a haystack. Out of 6 million billion collisions there are maybe 100,000 Higgs events, and we can find maybe 1 percent of them.”

While Higgs may be the most famous of the CERN experiments, it isn't the only one.  Here are a few other projects they are working on.

  • ALPHA: A project which makes, captures and studies atoms of antihydrogen to compare to regular hydrogen atoms.
  • CAST: A project searching for hypothetical particles called axions, which could explain differences between matter and antimatter.
  • OSQAR: An experiment seeking particle components of dark matter in order to explain why our universe is made of matter instead of antimatter.

And not content to seek answers in the tiny recesses of atomic space, CERN researchers are also on a quest to discover a rare archeological find - the very first Web page!

The key to the success of these and other large scale experiments lies in the ability of scientist, researchers and support personel to quickly and efficiently share data and ideas.  That's where video conferencing comes in, and that's where Vidyo shines!

Vidyo Sees 68% Growth in Billings With New Round of Investors

Vidyo, a growing leader in video conferencing, has announced a 68% growth in billings after a new round of investors led by Triangle Peak Partners, LP, an investment firm specializing in technology, energy, and alternative energy. This brings the total funding since the company's inception in 2005, to $116M.

In an article written for venturebeat.com, Joe Koetsier suggests three reasons for the growing confidence in Vidyo's telepresence technology. First, Koetsier suggests Vidyo continues to build and attract new investors, largely due to its reliance on cheaper, built-in components, as opposed to room-based video conferencing, which is significantly more expensive. Secondly, it's appealing in its utilization of the cloud, which yields versatility in solutions. Finally, Vidyo's sales model positions the company to pour resources into technology development, which is the crux of telepresence services.

Vidyo's's sale's model relies on revenue sharing partnerships. This reduces the amount of resources required for sales, as the network expands organically through those of their partners. With a smaller focus on sales and marketing, new funding from investors can be used on the development of technology. In the world of video conferencing, technology development makes for sustainable and reliable services. Sustainable and reliable services make for satisfied consumers.

Such a large investment from Triangle Peak Partners, LP, an investment firm with a specific interest in and research base revolving around technology, speaks confidently of Vidyo's future. According to Ryan Lawler from techcrunch.com, Vidyo currently boasts 26 patents with an additional 56 pending. It's housed in 13 offices around the world, and with this new funding, consumers can expect to see services expand globally and the technology improve even more.

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