On the day that Bloomberg reports client CounterPath announcing video being added to Bria for the iPhone, Slashgear is reporting the demise of Cisco's Umi. Umi was going to be a $600 set up that would deliver Telepresence.
There didn't seem to be a lot of takers for Umi, as single purpose hardware is pretty much on the decline due to the growth of apps on tablets like the iPad and Android. Based on testing I've done in the beta trial, the Bria for iPhone client can provide high quality audio and video on the go, which is why this is SIP standards based is so timely.
Reports are however swirling that Cisco, which acquired Tandberg a few years ago, will also be moving more deeply into the video softphone market with a updated verison of Movi and possible expansion into the iOS and Android markets. Polycom has also previously announced, RealPresence, their software for the iPad, and Android that connects to their video conferencing hardware.
Like Umi was, and Movi is, the Polycom solutions are geared to work with primarily each companies branded platforms much the same way that Vidyo's Mobile software for iPhones and iPads does, albeit in a cloud server environment. Bria, on the other hand works with SIP based providers.
I've been testing the iPhone client for a few weeks and have been making calls into client Vidtel's MeetMe cloud managed conferencing bridge to talk to multiple people, and point to point calls using OnSip, fiding the portable experience to be a worthy rival to a Cisco E20 which I use when at my desk. The MeetMe service is the result of former Broadsoft VP of Marketing Scott Wharton's foresight. Wharton, looked at the video conferencing market and decided there was a better way to do things and along with his wife, Mariette Johnson Wharton launched Meet Me. The standards based video bridge now provides me with the opportunity to have people on my team, and clients as well as friends, connect via Skype, GoogleTalk, Bria on Mac's and PCs as well as room and desk based hardware from Polycom, Lifesize and Cisco, without any hassle. This agnostic, come one, come all approach, when combined with the portability of a mobile client makes life on the go for people like me far more video friendly.
Given one of my New Year's resolutions is to see more friends and clients face to face, while another is to travel less, video calling and video conferencing is helping me keep that resolution as I'm seeing video as the new voice.