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The Age of Open Source Video Codecs

The first time I met Jim Barton (DVR pioneer and TiVo co-founder) I was a young man looking at the hottest company in Silicon Valley in the day: SGI, the place where Michael Jackson and Steven Spielberg just arrived to visit, the same building in Mountain View as it were, that same week in late Spring, 1995.

The second question that Jim asked me that day was if I knew H.263 – a fledgling, new specification promising to make video ubiquitous, affordable over any public or private network – oh, those 90’s seem so far away…

For a hard core database, kernel and compiler hacker, that was a bit too much telco chit-chat for me, though remembering this was supposed to be an interview, and that the person who asks the questions is in control, not knowing the answer, I managed to mumble a question instead of an answer.  Jim liked the conversation and obliged me with an explanation equally encrypted, that one day, we will have these really cool, ubiquitous players on all sorts of video devices, not just “geometry engines” running workstations in “Jurassic Park” post-production studios (actually, come to think of it, the scene itself), but over all sorts of networked devices and maybe that should be a great opportunity to dive into and change the world.

Open standards and open source live in an entangled relationship, or so I wrote about it years ago, the Yang of Open Standards, the Ying of Open Source.  Never has it been more intertwined and somewhat challenging than with the case of H.264, MPEG4 and the years old saga of so-called “standard” video codecs.

Almost a generation later, even if H.263 and its eventual successors H.264 and MPEG4 came a long way, we still don’t have a truly standard and open source implementation of such a video codec, though we are hoping to change that now!

My colleagues announced today that we are open sourcing our H.264 codec.  We still have a bit of work left to do as we start this new open source project and I am counting on both communities to receive it with “open” arms.  It is meant to remove all barriers, to be truly free and open, as open source was meant to be.

Please join us this morning in a twitter chat covering this event.  We are convinced no matter how one looks at this, it is a positive move for the industry.

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Companies Innovate with Cisco Video Technology

Steve Jobs once said, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

irobot - cisco tp imageWe at Cisco know this to be true. As leaders in telepresence innovation, we have paved the way for organizations around the world to improve the way they communicate through video. Our industry-leading portfolio is built on a foundation of interoperability and great experiences, enabling others to create new, compelling ways to collaborate over video.

Let’s explore a few recent examples:

  • Video Collaboration Robots: Renowned for its advanced technologies, iRobot used the Cisco TelePresence EX60 personal system to create an industry-first self-navigating video collaboration robot. Named iRobot AVA 500, this new device is powered by a standards-based, high-definition Cisco video system atop an autonomous, intelligent robotics platform unlike any other on the market.
    Read More »

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Video Collaboration: On Every Pane of Glass

March 17, 2013 at 10:07 pm PST

This blog is second in a series of blogs glimpsing into the future of video collaboration. The first blog was “Video Collaboration: Better Than Being There“.  We encourage you to follow the series and let us know your thoughts.

Have you noticed that there is a camera and a pane of glass available to you at ALL times? From your smartphone to your PC, desktop office phone, telepresence (personal or room system), tablet, and even your TV, the ubiquity and ease of use of these devices and capabilities are providing a platform to extend video experiences everywhere. The big challenge is in providing a consistent, high quality user experience across all these devices. And that is not all. With new technologies available today such as HTML5 and WebRTC, more web-enabled devices can quickly become video enabled (video fridge anyone? :-))

So the future of video is not Read More »

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Deciding Upon a Collaboration Solution: Do Open Standards Still Matter?

While I was participating in a web conference from my home office, I started thinking about how much and how fast things have changed in the last decade around communications and how we use collaboration tools in the office, at home and on the road and most importantly the number of devices available to me so I CAN collaborate over distance.

One thing that stays constant in this industry is change, especially when it comes to devices. Let’s take a walk down memory lane and see if you can remember any of these once “have to have” mobile devices. The Nokia 9000, The Motorola “Flip phone” and The “Razor”, Palm Pilot, dare I say the Blackberry and of course at the start of 2007 the IPhone came on to the market — and we all know how that is playing out — this being a rarity. More recently, Samsung is challenging Apple with the Galaxy and DROID OS is becoming more prevalent than IOS. Last I checked, there was an estimated 1.3 million Read More »

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Bringing the Power of In-Person to Everyone with the Cisco TelePresence SX20 Quick Set

In October, we celebrated the fifth anniversary of Cisco TelePresence and shared our vision for the future of telepresence. Just as we have transformed the way leading organizations do business and work together with telepresence in the last five years, our goal in the coming months and years is to bring the “Power of In-Person” to everyone, everywhere — taking telepresence from the boardroom to the desktop and everywhere in between.

In the spirit of this commitment, I am excited tell you about our new Cisco TelePresence SX20 Quick Set, a flexible integrator solution that can turn any flat panel display into a powerful telepresence system. If you are familiar with our C20 Quick Set, the SX20 Quick Set is the next generation with added benefits.

Here is a quick snapshot of SX20 product benefits:

  • Creates a powerful telepresence system with any flat panel display
  • Only telepresence quick set to offer built-in individually transcoded multipoint conferencing with ability for users to add three additional participants to a call
  • Designed for flexibility with three camera choices and a dual-display option to accommodate small-to-medium rooms
  • Enables high-definition 1080p60 video quality and 1080p15 content sharing
  • Sleek, compact, highly flexible design with new wall mount for easy and discreet mounting
  • Best price performance among other telepresence quick set products on the market

Read More »

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