From Nerdgasm to Nerd Rage to Bitter Nerd Acceptance

From Nerdgasm to Nerd Rage to Bitter Nerd Acceptance

Nerd RageI’m not easily excited about tech announcements.

I’ve seen enough promising “breakthroughs” over the years to know that every company press release, every gushy CEO chatting up their latest breakthrough product, every ostentatious fanboy peacocking their latest gear – has to be taken with a huge truckload of sodium chloride.

Still. I get caught up in hype like everyone else. Against my better judgement and disappointing past experiences.

This week I was geeked out about the announcement from Google that interop between Google+ Hangouts and h.323 endpoints is coming soon (from Vidyo) – at the low cost of $99 per port per month. Cloud based interop was promised at the reasonably low price of $149 per port per month (about half the cost of other SaaS interop services out there). The new product is called VidyoH2O (Hangout to Others).

Interoperability between h.323 (the tech that drives room size HD videoconferencing) and endpoint silos with mass audience appeal – Skype, FaceTime, Google+ Hangouts – can literally change the videoconferencing landscape overnight.

Being able to have a Google+ Hangout on the same call with room sized h.323 codecs promises opening boardrooms and classrooms up to affordable Internet-scale webinars, recording meetings to Youtube, and being able to hack together highly accessible and customizable virtual conference and teaching spaces.

Maybe not the Holy Grail. But a big freakin’ deal nonetheless.

I should have known better. My hopes were high. Until I spoke with a rep from Vidyo.

Yes – the $99 per port per month price is correct. BUT – the device that you have to have on premise has a five-port minimum. So, the price for interop is really $495 per month total, not $99. Disappointment one.

Yes – a cloud version is available – but it still requires a device somewhere in the mix, and there is still a five port minimum, turning $149 per port per month into $745 per month total. Disappointment deux.

And yes, there is an announced availability of March 31 for VidyoH2O – but the service / device isn’t even in Beta yet. Six weeks before shipping. And the thing isn’t in Beta.

Strike Three.

Look. Vidyo’s relationship to Google+ Hangouts is foundational, they have a solid track record, and I have no doubt that – ultimately – they will pull VidyoH2O off. Maybe even spectacularly.

But VidyoH2O isn’t “baked” yet. My long experience as a product manager tells me this announcement smells of “rushed to market.

My premature nerdgasm has deflated to nerd rage to bitter-but-wiser nerd acceptance.

Sadly, my exuberance has been stifled in the realization that the product seemingly isn’t ready, the pricing model is geared at a level out of reach for education and many small businesses… and it may be many more months before my dream of uber-simplified (and affordable) h.323-to-Google+ interoperability across my little liberal arts campus are realized.

In the large scheme of things, this isn’t even a thing.

Still. I’m surprised at how let down I am.

Serenity Now.



Tech Connects Us – Blended Learning and Videoconferencing Deployments in Higher Education

Tech Connects Us – Blended Learning and Videoconferencing Deployments in Higher Education

AV Technology editor Margot Douaihy hosts “Tech Connects Us,” a podcast exploring the ways technology can enhance real-time collaboration, creative problem solving, social engagement, civic responsibility, and mission-critical communication.

Margot talks with Hendrix College’s CIO David Hinson about the challenges and benefits of blended-learning and videoconferencing deployments in higher education.

Apple’s Next Disruption: Teleconferencing?

Apple’s Next Disruption: Teleconferencing?

FaceTimeOne of the slew of announcements made last week at WWDC was the brief mention that Apple’s FaceTime product would start working over cellular networks (and not simply be restricted to calls over WiFi).

FaceTime is a gorgeous video chat client (I’ve got a face made for radio, and sometimes the video quality has too much fidelity, but that’s a different post for a different day), and supports SIP in some form, albeit not a form that allows it to interoperate with other SIP compliant teleconferencing solutions.

But what if Apple decided to allow FaceTime to connect, via SIP, to outside systems? All of a sudden, the “conversation” becomes very interesting. Most room based Teleconferencing solutions from Cisco, Tandberg, and Polycom support SIP. Open FaceTime’s SIP implementation up a smidge, and suddenly every iOS device is now a teleconferencing client.

Fully implement h.323 within FaceTime, and now you REALLY have some disruption on your hands.

There are a number of quality software offerings in the h.323 space that would be immediately impacted if Apple decided to open up FaceTime, most notably Radvision’s Scopia, LifeSize’s ClearSea, and Polycom’s RealPresence clients.

Teleconferencing is one of those technologies that most people recognizes the promise in, but implementation is impeded by the high cost of ownership and the daunting task of navigating complex vendor channel relationships, rather than dealing directly with the teleconferencing vendor of choice.

But what if – at least from the client side – the endpoint can be consumerized? Then it’s a whole new ballgame.

Blue Jeans NetworkCompanies like are already disrupting the Multipoint Control Unit (MCU) portion of the teleconferencing sector with its Saas (Software as a Service) model. A move by Apple to consumerize h.323 clients would irrecoverably change the teleconferencing game, for the better I think – unless you’re a h.323 client vendor.

All of this is pure speculation on my part.

But as I see it, with a few small moves, Apple can once again leverage an army of consumer devices to totally transform an entire business segment.