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Ricoh releases own video-based unified communications device

Printer and office supply giant Ricoh is entering the highly competitive unified communications (UC) market with its video-conferencing device and is getting help from video collaboration company Vidyo.

Ricoh officials earlier this 2011 announced their plans of entering the unified communications market, and last February, partnered with Vidyo who will provide the video solution.

On July 29, Ricoh released the first unified communications product, the Ricoh Unified Communication System P3000, a video-conferencing device that highlights Vidyo’s technology.

The 3.5 pound portable device has a built-in camera, microphone, speaker and wired or wireless LAN port, and it is capable of multi-point high-definition video conferencing. Users can also share documents, photos and video via the device, which also includes a flexible camera arm that is easy to set up and adjust, offers a user-friendly interface and an intuitive control panel.

The device’s users can bring others into a video conference through a personalized contact list.

Hidefumi Nakamura, General Manager, UCS Business Department said the new system is soon to be released in Japan in August. The system highlights Vidyo’s technology that is based on its H.264 scalable video coding architecture. The partnership and technology allowed Ricoh to quickly distribute its UC System P3000 to the market.

The UC market is dominated by the likes of Cisco, Avaya, Alcatel-Lucent and Microsoft, but Ricoh is confident that they will succeed with its UC System P3000.

Young-Sae Song, vice-president of product and channel marketing for Vidyo, said in a press statement that Vidyo’s partnership with such a major tech vendor as Ricoh—which generates more than US$23 billion in revenues and has more than 109,000 employees around the world—is an important one for his company. Song noted earlier statements by Ricoh officials that they expect to generate about US$1.25 billion in UC revenue by 2015.

Vidyo, which also has dealings with Google and Hitachi, is best known for its software, which enables users to collaborate visually over their desktops. However, the company has aggressively pursued partnerships and innovations that are driving it into more direct competition with such UC giants as Cisco Systems and Polycom, which this year increased its capabilities by buying Hewlett-Packard’s visual communications business, including the Halo telepresence products.

Ricoh is promoting Vidyo’s VidyoRouter, which is based on the company’s Adaptive Video Layering architecture and H.264 SVC. The technology removes the need for an multipoint control unit (MCU). Video conferencing offerings traditionally need an MCU port for every room system that connects, calls and transcodes video. Eliminating the MCU helps drive down expenses.

The Vidyo technology also means that Ricoh’s device will offer high-quality video over the Internet, LTE (long-term evolution), 3G and 4G networks.