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Collaborating With Streaming

"In our experience, the more that clients use video communications, themore likely they are to take the logical step of capturing and converting that information into online archives," said Mike Newman, CEO of Accordent Technologies. "These archives can be easily accessed by anyone from the desktop, which provides opportunity for videoconference attendees to review a meeting—or for those who couldn't attend to catch up on what they missed."

LifeSize, having recently released its LifeSize Express portable videoconferencing solution, also sees collaboration on the horizon via its high-definition videoconferencing capabilities.

"Having been part of videoconferencing for well over a decade," said Craig Malloy, CEO of LifeSize, "I've seen the move from low-quality videoconferencing systems that required a separate shared whiteboard to systems such as our HD solutions that allow anything written on a board in a classroom or conference room to be easily read at the far end. HD is the difference between collaborating naturally versus not being able to collaborate at all."

Media Publisher's Rod Bacon, one of the founders of the company who has recently stepped aside to bring in a next-stage CEO, said their integration with Polycom has also proved successful.

"We think we've got the deepest integration with a videoconferencing company," said Bacon. "The ability to leverage streaming and collaborative computing alongside a videoconferencing system means many more enterprise users have access to content that used to require a live presence."

Adobe, at their first Streaming Media West exhibition appearance, also showed off collaborative computing tools, ranging from its Creative Suite 3 products that include Acrobat Connect to its Presenter product and Captivate screen capture tool.

On2, showing off its VP6-S high definition codec solution, which is part of the upcoming Adobe Media Player and new Flash Player, also announced that Skype, being used as a key collaboration tool by millions worldwide, will upgrade its video codec to the company’s next-generation version of VP7. While Skype has used VP7 since 2005 and was one of the earliest adopters, the key to this upgrade—as is the key of VP6-S—is to extend the codecs bandwidth and processor efficiency to allow those on lower-speed connections with lower-powered processors to be able to collaborate. Yes, you heard that right: a codec that actually uses less processing power while using less bandwidth."Skype has already helped fuel the incredible popularity of free video calls over the Internet," said Jonathan Christensen, Skype’s general manager for audio and video. "The new VP7 update, along with extensive optimization work by the engineering team, has moved the bar even higher and done so within processor and bandwidth constraints that make this quality available to a broad group of people."

Besides exhibitors and panelists at the show, representatives from some companies steeped in collaborative computing were also on hand to assess the benefits streaming - and more specifically, core transcoding - could provide to collaborative computing platforms. For instance, a representative from the WebEx Connect Team was at Streaming Media West, looking at transcoding solutions and talking with vendors about the integration of Flash and Flash video into the new Connect community.

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