2016 Rockin’ Releases in Video Conferencing

These past few months in the video conferencing market have been a blur. Newsfeeds have been bursting with news regarding recent acquisitions, new entrances into the industry, and awesome product feature updates for existing players. It’s likely your head is spinning trying to keep up, or you’re just looking for that one post that summarizes everything for you. 

Well, you’ve come to the right place!


This comprehensive post will cover:

  1. Atlassian’s acquisition of BlueJimp and joint product release of HipChat Video
  2. Google’s launch of Google Duo for IOS and Andriod
  3. Owl Labs’ recent funding and “Smart Endpoint”
  4. Cisco’s new CMS and Support for Skype
  5. Pexip’s new launch of the Infinity 12
  6. Vidyo.com latest and greatest Platform as a Service (VPaas)
  7. …and how other industry leaders (e.g., Google Hangouts, Skype for Business (Lync), Slack, and more) compare

Atlassian: HipChat Video Launch

One of the biggest releases making waves in the video conferencing and VoIP is HipChat Video. This was a result of Atlassian acquiring BlueJimp in 2015. HipChat Video is designed for face-to-face collaboration without the need for any integrations or third-party services. That’s right, no video conferencing software or business voice-over-IP (VoIP). There is also no need to juggle meeting URLs, PIN codes, or outside call-in-lines. This is one of the biggest ticket items separating video chat from video conferencing solutions.

Overall, HipChat Video is similar to video chat apps like Google Hangouts and Skype for Business. It’s easily accessible and intuitive. It’s also designed to be quite sleek which goes a long way for end-user adoption. End-users will find a simple toolbar across the top with basic video call functionality including; video, microphone, screen share, add participants, settings, and end call controls. At the bottom of the screen, each video call participant is assigned a specific color and dedicated real estate. It’s beautiful. Well done Atlassian and BlueJimp! We tip our hat to HipChat Video’s interface. It’s sleek, intuitive, and takes just one click to take any action.

Atlassian HipChat Video and Scrum Board

Credit: Atlassian

Although HipChat Video resembles a hybrid video conferencing VoIP service (e.g., Microsoft Skype for Business), it has been built on WebRTC instead. WebRTC’s real-time, in-browser communication protocol is creating faster, more reliable native multimedia chat. It’s quite interesting to read more about WebRTC’s Jitsi Meet Videobridge technology.

Google: Google Duo for iOS and Andriod

Although they are obviously not marketing to businesses (yet), the official launch of Google Duo for both IOS and Android smartphones has been a making a huge splash in the video conferencing space. The app has had 5M+ app downloads since it’s release on August 16. It took 2 days to propagate globally and become of the top, free apps on Google Play Store. The most talked about feature is the “Knock Knock,” which shows a caller’s live video feed before you answer. It’s excellent for screening calls, who doesn’t want that in business? Imagine, the ability to see your boss’s facial expression before taking the call (or avoiding it). 


Owl Labs: Smart Endpoint  

Owl Labs still has quite a bit of explaining to do, but they’ve launched a splashboard for their new “smart” endpoint. They are touting this endpoint will help you, “teleport into your next meeting with intelligent conferencing hardware.” from some of the geniuses that came up with iRobot products is definitely exciting the robotics nerd in me (Has everyone seen Ex Machina yet?) When you think about it, Video Conferencing is a pretty excellent place to apply all the most recent developments that are being used for camera and sound control in Drones and robotics.

Owl works seamlessly with Google Hangouts, Skype, GoToMeeting, and other widely used video conferencing software. No more expensive dedicated meeting rooms, no more complicated IT setup, no more hassle.

Owl Labs video conferencing speaker for Google Hangouts, Skype, and more

Credit: Owl Labs

Cisco: Cisco Meeting Server (CMS) and Skype for Business

Cisco has been the undisputed leader in video conferencing infrastructure and hardware endpoints. There are only moments when you think they may slip into the number two spot, and then they make another smart move. Cisco Meeting Server (CMS) allows everyone to join a video conference — regardless of whether they are using Polycom or Avaya gear, a mobile client or a WebRTC-enabled browser. Joining a meeting, regardless of technology is as simple as clicking a link. Genius. 

The cherry on top of this release is the ability to connect people in Cisco video rooms with others using Microsoft Skype for Business. By having these two big-time industry names side-by-side, this release was at the top of the charts in the video conferencing industry.

This new technology stems from Cisco’s $700 million acquisition of Acano last November. Although the acquisition wasn’t as widely publicized as others like Polycom turning down Mitel for an offer from Siris, but it will be a game changer when it comes to the way employees collaborate. It’s definitely taking the unified collaboration industry to a new level. 

Cisco Meeting Server

Photo provided by Cisco

Pexip: Pexip Infinity 12 and Microsoft

Speaking of Microsoft interoperability; Pexip is continuing their breakneck pace of innovating and adding features to their ultra-scalable virtualized infrastructure. They added a bunch of stuff around Skype meeting usability to please the aforementioned large client base of Skype desktop users, and they added support for Microsoft Azure cloud to deepen the integration with Microsoft customers. Over this past year, they have also done a ton to integrate and simplify management and administration of video calls and video conferencing environments. We are huge fans of Pexip here at Vyopta and we are constantly impressed at how they consistently produce great features while maintaining great customer service and reliability levels in our common clients. (This was announced in April, so sorry I am a bit behind).

Pexip Infinity 12 Video Release

Credit: Pexip

Vidyo: Vidyo.io Embedded Video Conferencing

Vidyo has been a trailblazer in video communication for years, and they aren’t slowing down. Their latest innovation is what they are calling a Video Platform as a Service (yep, a VPaaS). Vidyo.io enables developers to quickly, easily and affordably use the company’s video chat APIs to embed enterprise-grade, real-time video communications at web scale into applications, business processes, and IoT devices. Vidyo’s work is pioneering the availability of video communication to more people in more places, and that can only be a good thing. Even CIO.com is talking about Vidyo.io.

According to Vidyo’s press release, Vidyo customers have already used APIs and SDK to add face-to-face video communication applications including:

  • TeleHealth – Vidyo’s embedded video conferencing platform has powered the #1 healthcare app on the App store for the past two years, has video-enabled the largest EHR systems, and enables access to telemedicine to more than 50 million patients around the world. Vidyo’s platform is used in dozens of telemedicine use cases including telestroke, teleICU, diabetes, and healthcare access in rural communities.
  • Video Banking – International banks of all sizes in Europe, Asia and Latin America have embraced face-to-face video banking for enhanced customer engagement to increase customer loyalty lost during the transition to online banking. Vidyo has been deployed with VIP/high net wealth individuals in private banking, mortgage, real estate, as well as bank-wide deployments to all customers for general banking needs.
  • Field Services – A large multinational customer uses video-enabled smart glasses in a “See What I See” field services deployment to reduce cost and increase customer support.  A large insurance company has embedded video into tablets for remote on-site adjustments and has shortened reimbursement periods, decreased cost and greatly increased customer satisfaction

The full list of use cases for Vidyo.io go on and on, and word on the street is that Vidyo.io will be generally available this fall. In the meantime, Developers can request an invitation now to participate in the Vidyo.io Beta. We highly recommend it!

Vidyo.oi supporting telehealth industry with API embed

Credit: Thinkstock

Now, we know we didn’t include every big update (e.g. Cisco Spark, Cisco WebEx, Fuze, Zoom, Bluejeans). We also  look at how the other industry leading video conferencing and video chat solutions stack up to our list of newbies. We’re also really interested to hear your thoughts!



Slack video conferencing screen shot

Credit: Slack


Google Hangouts video conferencing from chat screen shot

Credit: Google Hangouts


Cisco Spark video conferecnig screen shot

Credit: Cisco Spark



Skype for business screenshot

Credit: Skype for Business


Have thoughts? Go ahead and comment below. We’re interested to know what you think about what’s happening in the video conferencing market, or how you really feel about these new releases.


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