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CES Feature Articles

January 19, 2012

Mobile Video Clients Jockey for Position at 2012 CES


Everyone had a different spin on mobile video clients last week at the 2012 International CES. CounterPath, ooVoo (News - Alert), and Polycom were all showcasing their latest and greatest technologies in Las Vegas and each had its own strengths and weaknesses.


CounterPath rolled out H.264 video calling on its Bria SIP soft client for the Apple iPhone at the show. Available now through the Apple iTunes App Store, CounterPath plans to have the video calling feature available for the iPad and Android (News - Alert) editions in February.   The combination of voice, messaging, and video is described as the "Three Amigos" of communications.

Since CounterPath is currently working with (as they so carefully emphasize) BroadSoft (News - Alert), GENBAND, and MetaSwitch, it places the publicly traded company as a key player in the SIP soft client arena for both consumer and business use.   AT&T, BT (News - Alert), and Mobilkom Austria, and Verizon are among the service providers that have white-labeled Bria.

Meanwhile, ooVoo was boasting of 38 million registered users and its free six-way video chat at a Venetian Hotel suite.   Watching a five way ooVoo video chat on a larger screen tablet was very impressive, especially with being able to clearly view four other participants in a tile-style layout.

Users racked up over 10 billion ooVoo video minutes in 2011, with company execs attempting to position the company as the number two video client/player/company on a ramp to one billion video minutes per month.   Since Skype averaged roughly 12.5 billion minutes per month in 2011, according to stats posted by Skype Journal, ooVoo has a long way to go to challenge the king.

My journey ended over at the Motorola (News - Alert) Mobility booth, where I saw the Polycom RealPresence mobile client loaded on the DROID XYBOARD. The software had been previously bundled with the Samsung Galaxy Tab, but anyone with an Android or iPad tablet can download a copy of the software.   The software allows any tablet to connect with other standards-based Polycom gear; anyone can now connect to a Polycom video conference if they have the appropriate corporate config settings/credentials available. Hopefully Polycom will start conducting press briefings over RealPresence Mobile in the future to provide a more dynamic workout in the future.

Is there a big winner out of the three? CounterPath would appear to have the most flexible, open-standards approach; load the client, coordinate SIP addresses, and you're good to go with voice, video, and messaging.    OoVoo has demonstrated its ability to host multiple participants, but it's an island. While ooVoo execs argue that closed clients and networks matter much less these days than simple mapping to address books, I’m more skeptical at the "We'll just do a call to a downloadable client" approach.   And Polycom's RealPresence Mobile client is nice, but there's the looming issue of needing backend infrastructure to make connections.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO East 2012, taking place Jan. 31-Feb. 3 2012, in Miami, FL. ITEXPO offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. For more information on registering for ITEXPO registration click here.

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Doug Mohney is a contributing editor for TMCnet and a 20-year veteran of the ICT space. To read more of his articles, please visit columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves





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