Cisco had the only multiple screen product, showing their har har Immersive TelePresence room product at the back corner of their booth. Last year, it was a big deal and the product had a room within their booth dedicated to it. This year it was a throwaway. It seemed like Cisco had extra real estate in their booth and thought "hey, let's put this there". More fuel for the "hardware is dead" fire, I guess.
Polycom displayed three hardware codecs, their 300, 500 and 700. Nice that there is the ability to plug in an HDMI camera in the 500 and 700 without used of their proprietary HDMI to HDCI cable.
At noon, I went to the lunch and learn dubbed "State of the Industry" or something like that. It ended up being more or less a vendor sales pitch, save for Simon Dudley's refreshing comments. These industry professionals present products with more or less the attitude of "here it is, use it" and I really wanted to ask everyone when was the last time they used a competitor's product. It would help all of us if everyone were to use (or attempt to use) their competitor's products. It will make your product better. One person from the audience talked about a university VC installation and the fact that they are scared to pull the trigger on a product and asked for advice. He received a chorus of "buy our product" where the real answer was to hire a vendor neutral consultant to wade through the buzzwords and bullshit. I also wonder if the people in charge of making products actually attend meetings using their product(s). It sounds stupid, but it's really something that I have to wonder about.
The lunch was good.
Telylabs has a nice, inexpensive product. They are trying to bridge the (huge) gap between cheap software for home use and room based products. I hope they succeed.
SeeVogh brought out the most interesting thing I saw today and that is multiple camera support. This is certainly something I am going to have to demo soon and the potential behind this is huge. It is certainly good to see "one of the little guys" represented at Infocomm. Calling them a little guy is by no means being disrespectful, it's just that they aren't Polycom, Cisco, Lifesize, etc. I wish others like VSee, Zoom and others were represented but I completely understand the financial issues behind getting a booth.
It's really weird. The industry made a dramatic and fast shift to software and have relegated hardware to a complete afterthought. It would disappoint me if I were a lighting or acoustic manufacturer as their use in video conferencing is becoming an afterthought as well. We're migrating to cheap and damning the quality at the same time. It's been my opinion that both hardware and software has it's place and need to live together, but completely neglecting hardware will in fact bite vendors in the ass because there are customers who want absolute quality and can afford it.
Until tomorrow...Thanks for reading.