Lots of News in the World of Videoconferencing
In a week, the videoconferencing sector progressed on several fronts. If the third week of September is any measure, meetings over telecommunications infrastructure — long a promising but somewhat disappointing discipline — seem to be generating some genuine momentum.
Many people believe in videoconferencing. There is a difference between conceptually believing and actually ponying up cold hard cash, however. At least four investors — Menlo Ventures, Rho Ventures, Star Ventures and Four Rivers Group — are doing the latter with a $22.5 million round of funding for Vidyo. The company's total funding since its founding in 2005, according to eWeek, is a cool $96 million.
Meanwhile, desktop videoconferencing provider ViVu made high-definition multi-party conferencing applications available for the iPhone 4 and iPad 2. The company says that the system, which uses a technology called MXTP, is the first to offer HD multi-party conferences from the two devices. EFactor, which calls itself the "world's largest network for entrepreneurs," will use ViVu's platform.
Though it is unclear precisely what it is announcing in the press release, Nefsis did indeed issue one. It says that its approach virtualizes — pushes up into the cloud — much of the gear that formerly sat at end-user sites. This includes multipoint video-control units, desktop gateways and collaboration servers, according to the company.
For those who are having trouble dealing with all this videoconferencing news, The New York Times posted a story this week about videoconferencing between therapists and their patients. All kidding aside, the benefits — which parallel those of business meetings — are hard to argue with:
“In three years, this will take off like a rocket,” said Eric A. Harris, a lawyer and psychologist who consults with the American Psychological Association Insurance Trust. “Everyone will have real-time audiovisual availability. There will be a group of true believers who will think that being in a room with a client is special and you can't replicate that by remote involvement. But a lot of people, especially younger clinicians, will feel there is no basis for thinking this. Still, appropriate professional standards will have to be followed.”
The bottom line is that it is an active time for videoconferencing, be it on premise, in the cloud or at the psychiatrist's office.