Intel, PictureTel plan videoconference calls

Videoconferencing competitors Intel and PictureTel last week announced a joint distribution and product development agreement that they hope will speed the growth of global audio/video collaboration.

The deal helps PictureTel begin to open its popular but proprietary conference-room video systems to PC-based collaboration tools such as application sharing, streaming video, and multicasting. Intel primarily gets PictureTel's expertise in selling conference room systems directly to corporations.

The agreement calls for jointly developing a common hardware platform for release in 2000, according to Scott Darling, general manager of Intel's business communications division. Intel will invest US$30.5 million in PictureTel, and PictureTel will get exclusive rights to market Intel's only conference-room-size product, the TeamStation System. PictureTel will have nonexclusive rights to also sell Intel's ProShare Video System 500, the top-selling desktop videoconferencing package in corporations.

"We're interested in getting this market much larger and growing much faster than it is today," Darling says, citing 1998 market growth of 30 to 35 per cent, while revenues were mostly flat.

Back into the Conference Room?

Research indicates corporations may have a growing preference for centralising their video investments in conference rooms -- still a small fraction of the overall market. This is partly because they've found distributed desktop approaches to be unreliable and an expensive burden on tech support departments. "We're trying to turn the conference room into a collaboration room," Darling says.

"We were going down this (open standards) path anyway," says Gary Bond, group vice president at PictureTel. "Our systems are closed systems. It limits their capability for other uses." Bond said the company will likely eliminate some products from its own PC-based line, which includes products like LiveLAN and Live200.

Elliot Gold, president of market research firm TeleSpan, says the deal is good for videoconferencing because standardised hardware built around Intel CPUs (central processing units) should be cheaper and interoperate better than current room-size systems. It also lets Intel focus on its core business strategy: sowing Pentium-class chips far and wide.

Gold adds that the joint hardware platform will be centred around Intel's upcoming, graphically powerful Pentium III (Katmai) CPU, though Bond would not confirm this.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

David Essex

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?