I’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.
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.