Ten months ago, pal Michael Graves wrote a very detailing post about two new hardware devices, TelyHD which works with Skype, and Biscotti, which uses GoogleTalk as its signaling and media transport layer that on face look very similar. Like many of us who live on the cutting edge, those devices and news of them was very early in the making, as the early adopters took to them, but not much in the way of mass adoption. You can read Michael's post to get the lowdown on both companies, but this post is about the implications I see coming from the developments both companies have made.
You see, when it comes to video in the home and small business offices, I think there is going to be change in adoption and use cases this year, and the reasons are:
Processors inside smartphones, Mobile networks with LTE, Cloud and Broadband to the home getting faster.
Those four reasons together all spell the ability for mobile and fixed line video calling to work more easily together, as well as to propel it's growth. Gone are the days where developers at services and apps like SightSpeed (now part of Logitech) needed to/prayed for the next generation of processors, while figuring out how to get more compression into video and audio streams. Now we have the power in the processors and the speed in the networks to produce and deliver full motion video without much hesitation to use it.
We are also seeing total integration into the endpoint, the camera, with upgradeable software and encoding tools. By putting codecs in the endpoints, that can be updated, much like Apple TV's, video cameras become like telephones of old. We never updated our phones, the telephone company upgraded the network and our phones kept working. And that's the beauty of both TelyHD and Biscotti and once they go 1080P will be even better than 720p, but when you think about carrying video, sometimes size doesn't matter as much, or actually, it does.
What TelyHD and Biscotti both do is bring video calling to the home and office for less than the price of expensive Polycom and Cisco desktop phones. They also use two widely deployed networks with millions of users already connected every minute of every day. While Biscotti seems to be angel backed, TelyHD has funding from both Comcast and Rogers, two of the biggest cable MSO's on the planet. It will be interesting to see just how integrated the programs to sell in TelyHD into business markets really are, because both Comcast and Rogers are very siloed as companies go, and like many venture arms of large communications companies, not always knitted to the fabric of the business.
Perhaps, Yahoo wll jump into this space with an acquisition of one of these companies because as Yahoo moves mobile, one of its biggest strengths is Yahoo Messenger, an app that has always had video and never really exploited it. On an International level it remains one of the most installed chat apps around.
Watch video get even more in home use, as apps and devices from Biscotti and TelyHD arrive under the tree this year.
If you haven't been using Google Hangouts for free multiparty video conferences and presentations, your missing out. Long time friend Randy Resnick at VoIP User Conference has been bullish on them since the start and has begun blending the cutting edge free "on air" service into the communities weekly calls, as have many others.
One of the things I love about my friend Peter Csathy, a reformed Harvard Law School grad, is that he never forgot how to build his case and tell it so he can go out and sell it.
After working with Peter for four years on SightSpeed, where he led them to his third exit, (and one of my 21 to date) --having it happen in the down market I might add--the Rancho Santa Fe, CA resident got immediately back in the game with Sorenson Media, already then the market leader in the video production tools space. When Peter was considering joining Sorenson he clearly had a vision that was not where they were then, but where they needed to be. Some may have said, he had his head in the cloud, and he was right, even if two years or so back the idea of cloud encoding and cloud production wasn't even close to being relevant. Well it is today, and Peter's guest post on Streaming Media pretty much nails the facts the way a good lawyer builds his case.
As I sit here at the AT&T Developer Summit and listen to Ralph De La Vega tell us that there will be twenty new 4G devices on the AT&T Network this year, and as Motorola Mobility's CEO and San Diego area resident, Sanjay Jah unveils the new Atrix Android phone, or as Samsung and HTC talk about their next new devices, I keep flipping back to Csathy's article about the need to be able to be future proofing and have flexibility when it comes to the devices and the codecs they use. As the networks get faster, that means more and more content comes out in richer, more HD formats. Terms like HTML5 are coming out of every mouth over every speaker and that follows on the Apple iPad, iPhone model of being Flash light. But yet, Flash is still the desktop/laptop flavor for streaming, along with QuickTime, Real and Windows Media. H.264 remains the best for HD, so being able to stream, or download HD content means more than producing in just three formats these days. It also means having the ability to write once, encode in many formats on the fly and deliver it as the end points need it.
And that's the case Peter has built saying, we're ready today for what's coming tomorrow. If he had been at today's AT&T Developer Summit he would have been smiling ear to ear, saying to others, "bring it on."