Cisco & Tandberg Adopt TIP Standard = Good News for Telepresence

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Cisco & Tandberg Adopt TIP Standard = Good News for Telepresence

Tandberg gave me a heads-up a few weeks ago that they would be making some major announcements regarding Cisco and third-party telepresence interoperability as well as an announcement of a new FEC (Forward Error Correction) protocol called ClearPath, which would improve video quality even at high packet loss. An interesting back story behind the Cisco acquisition of Tandberg is that Cisco had to make sure Cisco's open source and free TIP (Telepresence Interoperability Protocol) protocol was used. The EU wouldn't approve the acquisition of Tandberg without Cisco agreeing to use this protocol. There have been obvious concerns (including my own) that Cisco/Tandberg could create a proprietary telepresence platform that locked out third-party competitors.

Cisco and Tandberg just made an announcement stating advanced multiscreen telepresence interoperability with each other as well as other third-party systems, by integrating the Telepresence Interoperability Protocol (TIP) on Cisco's newly acquired Tandberg TelePresence Server.

This interoperability solution, which will be commercially available in late July, helps enable multi-screen, high-definition video collaboration between all major telepresence vendors. The announcement comes just weeks after the close of Cisco's Tandberg acquisition.

tandberg-precisionhd-usb-camera2.jpg Cisco also introduced the Movi for Mac client (a PC client was already available). I'm in the process of testing the Movi client in conjunction with the Tandberg PrecisionHD USB camera. Stay tuned for a review. Movi is also the first Cisco TelePresence product to integrate ClearPath, a new set of technologies that improve resolution for video users on suboptimal networks by minimizing the effects of packet loss.

For smaller and midsize customers, the Cisco TelePresence Commercial Express solution combines three infrastructure components - Cisco TelePresence Manager, Cisco TelePresence Multipoint Switch and Cisco TelePresence Recording Server - onto one server to enable easier deployment, simpler licensing and a faster realization of productivity benefits. These enhancements extend the reach of Cisco TelePresence to provide access for everyone, everywhere, and to power the new way of working.

Highlights of the news:
• Increased interoperability with the open-source Telepresence Interoperability Protocol (TIP): In a significant step toward broad-based interoperability, Cisco's TANDBERG TelePresence Server - available as both a blade in the MSE 8000 chassis (MSE 8710) and a standalone appliance (TS 7010) - will support TIP. This support enables interoperability between multiscreen telepresence units from different vendors, as well as the full line of Cisco's Tandberg products, to connect customers in HD video and high-quality audio regardless of their telepresence system choice.
• Movi™ for Mac
Client and Other Movi Enhancements: Cisco's new Movi client for Macs and several enhancements to the Movi PC client, make the benefits of enterprise-quality mobile video collaboration even more accessible. Movi for Mac opens up the world of standards-based video collaboration to Mac users and is critical for mixed Mac-PC environments such as education institutions. The latest Movi software for both Macs and PCs offers the following new features:
  - Far End Camera Control (FECC): Offers the ability to remotely control far-end cameras, which is especially useful in telemedicine environments.
 - ClearPath: Improves video quality by minimizing the effects of packet loss in nonoptimal network conditions.
 - Multiway: Enables Movi users to initiate ad hoc multiparty telepresence calls with other standards-compliant devices for seamless collaboration.
 - ICE protocol support: Increases call capacity outside the firewall, which is critical for large-scale installations of home and remote workers.
• Cisco TelePresence Commercial Express: This new value-priced solution combines three infrastructure components - Cisco TelePresence Manager, Cisco TelePresence Multipoint Switch and Cisco TelePresence Recording Server - onto one server using VMware. The Cisco TelePresence Commercial Express server is specifically priced and packaged for small- and medium-sized businesses to enable easier deployment, simpler licensing and faster realization of productivity benefits for this unique group of telepresence users.
• MSE 8000 Backplane-Enablement Upgrades: The MSE 8000 is a highly scalable and flexible chassis-based platform for high-definition video and audio communication. New software releases for the MSE 8710 TelePresence Server blade and the MSE 8510 Media2 blade, both designed to support the MSE 8000, triples the capacity of individual multipoint conferences: up to 48 screens in a multiscreen telepresence call with continuous presence (MSE 8710) and up to 60 screens in a single-screen multipoint call with continuous presence (MSE 8510 Media2). These enhancements increase the efficiency of port/screen usage across the platform and allow larger, more scalable immersive telepresence calls between all standards-based products.
• Expanded inTouch Availability: The inTouch interface is being integrated with Cisco's Tandberg C Series Profile to provide an even more user-friendly experience. Based on the touch-screen technology in the immersive Tandberg T3 and T1 Cisco TelePresence systems, inTouch is an intuitive touch-screen user interface that simplifies making and managing video calls, sharing content, and accessing advanced features, all with the glide of a finger. InTouch[[CAP PER AP AT THE BEGINNING OF A SENTENCE]] is also available with the EX90 personal telepresence system.
• ClearPath: This innovative set of technologies improves video quality by minimizing the effects of packet loss on networks not originally designed for video. Initially available in the Movi for Mac and PC clients, ClearPath will be implemented across the broader Cisco TelePresence portfolio.

TIP on the TelePresence Server Demo

ClearPath Demo

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1 Comment

ClearPath versus Patented IPQ Packet Protection
Is this the same ClearPath as was first brought to market by Path 1 six years ago? And whether yes or no, is this ClearPath properly understood as a *FEC protocol* as you say or is it simply a FEC method? Is there something special about ClearPath FEC or is it another block encoding scheme? Any facts available about the latency (the true and mortal enemy of real time communications) of ClearPath?

I ask because I am very pleased to report that IPeak Networks was last week formally awarded the patent for our unique zero-latency packet loss protection technology that we offer under the trade name IPQ. (Full Disclosure - I admit a very serious bias when I say that nobody does packet loss protection the way IPeak Networks does it and nobody does it nearly as well.)

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