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Thunder brings videoconferencing into the 21st century

PHOENIX--PolyVision, a Suwanee, Ga. company, is one of several at Demo '06 here trying to update the tired video conferencing genre.

The problem with traditional attempts at the technology has been latency, bad video and limits of a single screen of information at a time.

PolyVision's Thunder platform is trying to turn the genre on its head by making a video conference a room-sized, rather than screen-sized, operation.

Essentially, the idea is that the software is designed to replicate the way people take in information: with a large number of sources of information. More a board full of post-its than what can fit on a single monitor.

So Thunder lets video conference participants aggregate a large number of different information sources. And then, to display them, the software projects them, a piece at a time, on the wall. Thus, the entire room becomes the conference palette.

And since the disparate data elements of the conference are likely coming from different geographic locations, for example a company's multiple offices, the software is designed so that each location sees the same data spread out across the room.

The upshot: reserve that conference room now, but make sure it's a big one. A small one isn't going to cut it anymore.