iSee’s cheap, quality videoconferencing targets schools, banks, real estate

New entries in the race for a low-cost, quality videoconferencing platform arrive on an almost weekly basis, some with more promise than others. Here’s one to add to that group that just popped up in Australia.

The platform, dubbed iSee, uses a breakthrough in spatial voice technology that allows hundreds of people to be in the same space at the same time and all talk.

It was developed in Sydney’s Smart Services Co-operative Research Centre (CRC), has already been trialed in the education sector and has sold the voice technology to Dolby Laboratories.

Like most multi-endpoint systems, it’s usable on standard laptops, so its potential for distribution is large, and it’s built on smart algorithms that minimize the need for downloading.

“The main thing is that because people are able to use just their standard laptops, it is a very low investment for users,” said CRC CEO Warren Bradey.

New South Wales Department of Education already is running a beta of iSee, looking to take it to more rural outposts. They believe the technology could cost schools only “several hundred dollars a year” as opposed to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The platform next will be trialed by Infosys, which will use it across its 11 campuses globally, including its Global Education Centre in Mysore, India, the largest corporate university in the world. It also is in the process of being tested for broad distribution in the banking, real estate and other sectors, and will be available for use on a number of devices in the second half of 2012.

“It can be used either with a multi-touch, back-lit screen or it can be projected straight on to any table anywhere or just projected on to a piece of cardboard and rolled out,” Bradley said.

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