A recent New York Times article describes the sale of Skype to Microsoft as one example of video conferencing hitting a critical mass with consumers and businesses. Other factors that are contributing to video conferencing’s popularity  are the proliferation of broadband and an increased use of desktop computers/mobile devices.

“As more and more people are telecommuting and not working in the same office — or state or country — there’s more of a need to find other ways to communicate,” the article states.

While video will never replace all in-person interactions, the time has come for it to be a serious alternative to travel.

Pope Benedict conducted the first ever video conference with the astronauts of the International Space Station. The pope spoke to the astronauts through a video link in the Vatican’s library.

http://thecelebritycafe.com/feature/pope-has-first-ever-video-conference-space-station-05-21-2011

A new study published by a telepresence provider has identified a trend that we have seen among our customers: technology, specifically video conferencing, continues to play a pivotal role in SMB competitiveness. An increasing number of these businesses will invest in video this year to cut costs and be more efficient, and those with video will add to their existing solutions. Those who don’t will get left in the cold….

http://it.tmcnet.com/news/2011/05/18/5520177.htm

Go VGo!

According to recent reports, VGo Communications Inc., a New Hampshire maker of telepresence robots, has taken in $4.2 million in a planned $6 million new equity funding round, the company reported in federal documents.

http://www.masshightech.com/stories/2011/05/16/daily27-VGo-Communications-corrals-42M-in-latest-round.html

We are excited to announce that our client Vermont Interactive Television was awarded a 21st Century Best Practice Award in Distance Learning for its extensive video network that connects remote residents throughout the state of Vermont. Working with Polycom, a leading manufacturer of unified communications solutions, IVCi helped architect the IP network and implement multipoint calling with bridging technology for this impressive project.

VIT supports the economic health and development of the state of Vermont-the second least-populated state in the U.S.-and its citizens by providing the technical infrastructure and operational expertise necessary to deliver education, training, and information equally to all areas of Vermont via video.

Today, there are 17 VIT locations throughout Vermont, capable of connecting to anywhere in the world. And, unlike other video conferencing networks that belong to one company, one school district, or one government agency, VIT is available to all Vermonters. Using a tiered pricing system, VIT leases conference time in one-hour increments, enabling nearly 300 organizations and 32,000 people annually to collaborate across the state and around the world, without requiring them to purchase or maintain video equipment.