Features 12/17/99

Gotta use the fridge for a video call? Sorenson Vision's working on it

By Suzanne Galloway

USU communication students Becky Koyle, left, and Erin Taylor chat with Utah billionaire inventor James Sorenson after his recent lecture to a USU public relations class. Sorenson was in town to visit Sorenson Vision, a high-tech digital technology company. / Photo by Ted Pease

What will they think of next?

How about household appliances that can access the Internet? It may sound odd, but technology is getting there.

Let's say a mother is fixing dinner and wants to check with her freshman daughter at college. There is a computer chip in the making that will allow mom to dial up her daughter's apartment, talk to her and see her through a small screen on the microwave. Or maybe it will be built into the stove or refrigerator.

The high-tech company Sorenson Vision Inc., based in Logan, is inventing such futuristic products.

The goal of Sorenson vision is to add a new dimension to personal communication, says Brent Kelly, assistant marketing director for the company.

Internet appliances will take a little longer to work out, Kelly explains, but other products of Sorenson Vision are now available to the public.

A product that is laying the foundation for many more inventions is Sorenson Video. This tool compresses digital video images to deliver the clearest picture possible.

According to a press release from Sorenson Vision, Sorenson Video digital compression technology allowed the Star Wars: The Phantom Menace movie trailer to be downloaded from the Internet at the highest possible quality and with minimum download time.

George Lucas, the maker of Star Wars, was so impressed with the crisp, clear images of the movie trailer that he called the person who had made the clip and told him that he will always use the Sorenson Video tool over its competitors, Kelly said.

Other movie studios followed Lucas' recommendation and have made Sorenson Video their standard for their films, Kelly said.

With top-notch video compression technology, Sorenson Vision has also introduced Sorenson EnVision.

According to the Sorenson Vision web site, millions of dollars and thousands of hours of labor were invested to invent a desktop video conferencing product of high quality.

EnVision is the latest desktop video conferencing software package offered by Sorenson Vision. It allows two people with the EnVision software, camera and microphone to meet face to face and not even be in the same state or country.

"The just have to be on this planet," says Kelly.

This product operates from a person's computer monitor with the simple click of an icon on the desktop. This will bring up an address book-type box that sits in the middle of the screen. This box will show who is logged onto EnVision. If the computer user double clicks with the mouse on a name in the box, the person on the other end of the line will receive a telephone ring sound and a red light blinking on the screen. This will notify the second computer user that someone is calling. The receiver of the signal clicks on the icon that appears on his or her screen, and in a snap the two people are looking at each other.

Some of the uses of the product are teaching, business meetings, engineering and enhancing long-distance relationships.

According to a case study provided by Sorenson Vision, one professor in Denton, Texas, found EnVision efficient for teacher certification programs where she needed to observe and conference with student teachers.

"With EnVision, we can observe our student teachers and provide positive feedback to improve their teaching skills at a distance. It's very exciting," says Dr. Jane Pemberton at the University of North Texas College of Education.

Along with the capacity to conference verbally, EnVision also has a feature that allows two people to view and edit the same document. The document is retrieved by one person and both can discuss the contents. If the person on the other end wants to add something to the document, then that person double clicks on it and gains control of the editing keyboard.

This highlight of EnVision is convenient if a person is writing out a contract with an attorney, or writing a press release for a company.

Kelly points out that automobile manufacturers are engineering cars faster because they can exchange information at a more rapid pace using EnVision.

A portion of the technology Sorenson Vision has capitalized on originated from Utah State University. In cooperation, USU is using EnVision in its extension services. Forty terminals with EnVision enhance the extension program.

Sorenson Vision was founded in 1996. Since then it has offered high-tech employment opportunities to the Cache Valley community.

Three offices make up Sorenson Vision. The Logan office is headquarters to the engineering, marketing and administrative offices. The Salt Lake City office is where the human relations, accounting, and legal and support departments are. And the Santa Clara, Calif., office is where M. Ray Brooksby, vice president of sales and marketing, is stationed.

It is Sorenson Vision's mission to develop technologies to be exceptional conferencing products that will revolutionize business communications, reports the company's web site at www.sorensonvision.com.


Archived Months:

September 1998
October 1998
November 1998
December 1998
January 1999
February 1999
March 1999
April 1999
September 1999
October 1999
November 1999
December 1999