Sony Electronics and GlowPoint made good on their February partnership announcement, bringing the first in a line of IP video communications services to market.
On Wednesday, the two companies announced the availability of Sony IVE Business service, powered by GlowPoint
. (IVE stands for “Instant Video Everywhere.”) The new service puts Sony’s strong brand on top of GlowPoint’s suite of applications for enabling live video conversations and messaging.
“We’ve used the telephone as the model for the types of applications we’ve delivered,” said David Trachtenberg, president and CEO of GlowPoint. “We’ve married the ubiquity of broadband to a solution that creates a video service that’s as easy as using the telephone.”
The Sony IVE service incorporates GlowPoint’s calling plans and interactive video communications features, including access to live operators, video call mailboxes, direct-dial numbers, call forwarding and help files.
Sony will roll GlowPoint’s applications in with its own IPELA video conferencing product line, and the well-regarded brand will be all over the service, said Mike McCausland, vice president of Sony Electronics’ visual communications division. The companies created an IVE video conferencing portal for users, and the branding will extend to callers outside the IVE network.
“If I dial a wrong number, [an operator] will come up and say, ‘Welcome to Sony IVE.’ If I’m a Polycom customer calling a Sony user, and I get his video mail, I’ll get the Sony Videomail branded experience,” McCausland said. “The concept is, we are not controlling the interface, but rather the experience when they’re using this service.”
Trachtenberg emphasized that the Sony IVE services use open standards and will interoperate with other IP-enabled videoconferencing equipment.
While Sony IVE for Business is designed to provide easier video conferencing inside the office, the two companies announced plans for services for telecommuters, home office workers and business travelers in the U.S. and around the world. The Sony IVE Mobile service is a software-based personal video service going live on June 15. The Sony IVE Mobile service will be available as an add-on for the Business offering.
It’s based on Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) that lets the service connect to other applications, such as Microsoft’s
Live Communication Server. SIP will let GlowPoint and Sony add instant messaging and presence capabilities in the future.
Eventually, Sony plans to extend the IVE brand across multiple product lines, moving beyond the conference room to desktop or laptop computers, gaming consoles, mobile phones via 3G networks and other entertainment devices.
The IVE service is the fruit of a strategic alliance between the two companies aiming to broaden the use of IP-based video in business and among consumers.