While we don't normally cover gaming devices, the latest Nintendo Wii U console caught our attention because it embeds video chat into a user's personal console, and brings videoconferencing capabilities to the living room. The underlying infrastructure is provided by Vidyo.
In the living room, a console is connected to the Internet on one side, and to TV set via cable. The Wii game pad is connected via wireless to the game console. The game pad can be used in tandem with the TV screen for video chat, or can offer personal video chat as a stand-alone device.
When we spoke with Vidyo about why the company was selected as a Nintendo partner for video chat, Marty Hollander, senior vice president, market development, told us that Nintendo was attracted to Vidyo's software-based solution that provided scalability, accommodated variable bandwidth rates, and came equipped with a ready-made SDK that enabled the current and future apps.
In a statement, Genyo Takeda, general manager, Integrated Research & Development Division, Nintendo Co., Ltd, said, "Vidyo provided Nintendo with a video solution that adapts to changing network conditions while being easy for consumers to use from the comfort of their living rooms. Vidyo's software delivers both quality and performance and is easily integrated into Nintendo's technology."
Ofer Shapiro, CEO and co-founder at Vidyo, also commented, "Through this collaboration, we'll be adding Wii U consoles to the pool of Vidyo enabled systems which will build critical mass around Vidyo's scalable architecture and software platform. With major players in a variety of industries selecting Vidyo's software platform, including Google, Ricoh and Philips, we are changing the way people communicate visually in every facet of their lives."
Our observations: One aspect that was not unveiled was the product roadmap, but we know that Vidyo's technology also provides multi-party conferencing and is easily adapted to conversations on mobile devices, so these may be a natural progression. We envision an opportunity for future interoperability with other devices and networks, including B2C communications. However, we're pretty sure most IT managers won't allow employees to use a Wii U game pad anytime soon as a fully supported BYOD business communications tool.