Vonage, Viseon Put a Face on VoIP

Vonage, a Voice over IP upstart, and Viseon
, a videophone specialist, are partnering to put a face
on broadband telephony, the companies announced today. Financial terms were
not disclosed.

The collaboration between the Edison, N.J., and Dallas companies will allow
consumers and small businesses to make videophone calls anywhere in the
world.

The phones will be offered through Vonage’s Web site and 7,000 retailers
nationwide beginning early next year, Vonage spokesman Mitchell Slepian
told internetnews.com. Pricing has not yet been set.

Videophones have been hyped for decades, but technical limitations have
bedeviled vendors and carriers. Broadband access and technical standards,
such as Session Initiation Protocol , are changing that.

“We’re launching knowing that videophone technology has improved,” Slepian
said. “The quality will be excellent.”

Viseon has been working on video technology for 10 years. Its VisiFone
product is used by companies, governments and educational institutions.

VisiFone II, which is being designed for consumers, will launch in the first
quarter and is the phone that’s being packaged with Vonage’s service.

Vonage, which boasts more than 300,000 subscribers, is not the first VoIP
player to embrace videophone technology. Earlier this year, 8×8 began packaging its videophone with its Packet8 broadband
telephony service.

The Santa Clara, Calif., company’s standalone desktop phone began shipping
this summer and uses a broadband connection (DSL or cable modem) to
transmit audio and video. It costs $299 plus a $29.95 monthly fee for the
service.

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