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Cisco Receives “Best of InfoComm” Awards from rAVe

Last week I wrote about how much we enjoyed talking with everyone who came to see us at Cisco Live as well as InfoComm, a conference with thousands of products from hundreds of exhibitors and more than 39,2015 attendees.  It was great to learn how our video solutions are adding value to your businesses. We’re very honored that rAVe awarded us Best of InfoComm awards in two categories.

Best New Videoconferencing Product: Cisco SX80 Codec

The SX80 codec is a powerful audio and video platform that enables integrators to incorporate high-definition video collaboration applications into large and purpose-built meeting rooms. In addition to its technical capabilities, the SX80 is also a standout on aesthetic merits having received the Red Dot design award last year.

More details about the SX80 here:

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World, Meet Thor – a Project to Hammer Out a Royalty Free Video Codec

Video codecs remain an area of active research and development. The current generation video codec is H.264 – in widespread usage on the Internet. Cisco has actively worked towards making H.264 the foundation of real-time communications on the web. The next generation codecs are just beginning to emerge. There are two of note – Google’s proprietary VP9 codec, and the industry standard H.265 (HEVC) codec, which is the successor to H.264 (AVC).

Unfortunately, the patent licensing situation for H.265 has recently taken a turn for the worse. Two distinct patent licensing pools have formed so far, and many license holders are not represented in either. There is just one license pool for H.264. The total costs to license H.265 from these two pools is up to sixteen times more expensive than H.264, per unit. H.264 had an upper bound on yearly licensing costs, whereas H.265 has no such upper limit.

These licensing terms preclude usage of H.265 in any kind of open source or freely distributed software application, such as web browsers. They also preclude its usage in freemium products – like WebEx or Cisco Spark – which have versions that users can use for free. Thus, while H.265 is still a good fit for hardware products like our telepresence room systems, it is not something that can serve as a universal video codec across hardware and software. Thus, we believe the industry needs a high quality, next-generation codec that can be used everywhere. Read More »

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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

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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