Us, Too: HP Launches New Video UC Products

Not to be outdone in a week when many of its biggest networking competitors are going live with new networking and UC products, HP on Wednesday confirmed general availability of video collaboration products to bolster its own video and UC portfolio.

New to the product lineup is a set of software-based offerings collectively called HP Visual Collaboration. They include HP's Visual Collaboration Desktop, a software client for PCs and notebooks; HP Visual Collaboration Executive Desktop, an HP TouchSmart 600 Quad loaded with Visual Collaboration software and bundled with a camera and headsets; and HP Visual Collaboration Room 100 and Room 220, for multipurpose use in conference rooms.

The software operates with x86 server infrastructures, and can be deployed on-premise, in a hosted model, or via service providers through the cloud. Visual Collaboration Desktop is the software client, and there's also HP Visual Collaboration Router, built on HP-standard server appliances, and Visual Collaboration Gateway, which connects to H.323 and SIP protocols to provide companies a migration path from their legacy videoconferencing products.

All the new products are available now, and HP will continue to offer its Halo telepresence as well. According to HP, it will also offer additional products to connect immersive studios to desktop and conference room video solutions in the new year.

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"Customers need to collaborate inside and outside their companies -- whether they are traveling, working at home or at the office," said Rob Scott, general manager and vice president, visual collaboration, at HP, in a statement. "HP's full range of high-quality, HD videoconferencing solutions, especially at the desktop, make that possible."

HP previewed its video channel offensive in June, when it announced a strategic alliance with videoconferencing upstart Vidyo. It's Vidyo's software-based scaleable video coding -- which HP is OEM-ing -- that enables the new Visual Collaboration, HP said.

HP's ramped-up video and UC efforts come at a time when competition in the segment is becoming fierce. Cisco earlier this week offered new details on its integration of Tandberg, including how it will motivate the channel to sell video solutions as a priority.

Microsoft, meanwhile, went live with Lync, its software-based UC package, and major video and UC vendors such as Avaya, Polycom and Mitel have all broadened their offerings in recent weeks.