Tandberg Videoconferencing - Up Close and Personal

With Cisco's recent news about TelePresence, one might think they invented videoconferencing. Of course that's not true, but they're trying very hard to give the established players like Tandberg and Polycom a run for their money, even if it means re-defining the market, at least at the very high end. That's a story unto itself, and I'm one of many who has weighed in on TelePresence. I'd also like to point you to a nice piece that ran in VoIP Magazine last week.

And if you want to hear/see more, check back in with me in early December. That's when Cisco is giving analysts a demo of TelePresence in their Toronto office, and I'll be capturing whatever I can to share with you here.

Enough about Cisco for now - this post is about Tandberg! They are one of the "legacy" vendors in this space, and hold their own pretty darned well. I'm just getting to know the Tandberg Canada team, and earlier this week I had a chance to experience their boardroom videoconference setup in their offices. I had a video meeting with one of their U.S.-based executives, and it was a great experience. I haven't seen the life-sized systems like Cisco or HP, so I can only compare it to traditional systems.

It doesn't feel intrusive at all, at least after you do the setup to make sure the camera is properly positioned and focused for where you're sitting. After that, the quality was great - the image was crisp, the audio was clear, and there wasn't any noticeable delay or jumpiness. This may not be an HD experience, but considering this needs under 1 Meg of bandwidth, it's a pretty good solution for most situations.

It's also a pretty interactive experience, and at one point, my Tandberg colleague put our screen images to one side, and used most of the screen to add a large third panel to show his PC screen. It was very clear, and it's easy to see how effective this can be for collaborating on documents and presentations. You can also have a bit of fun zooming in and out at any time, and the optics were quite good, even for close-ups.

That's as far as I can take this, as I'm not that technically steeped in video systems. However, the overall experience was great, and you certainly don't feel self conscious at all.

I'll leave you with a couple of shots, courtesy of my Nokia N90. If you need to know what system is in their boardroom, it's their 6000 Profile MXP.



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