Intel Corp has taken its next step towards it goal of reducing the cost of videoconferencing and promoting the use of its Pentium processor with the announcement of two new products. The personal computer market is being targeted with the new ‘Business Videoconferencing with ProShare technology’ product that cuts the cost of PC videoconferencing by 40% to $1,199. Intel’s aim is to reduce the cost of videoconferencing to zero by 2000 with all the processing being done in software. It is part of our strategy to get customers to keep using the power of the Pentium chip, said Nigel Grierson, Intel marketing director. Reducing the amount of hardware and having processing done in software cuts the cost of videoconferencing. It also maintains the demand for the Pentium processor. Aimed at the business market, the current product includes an ISDN board that connects to the telephone line, a camera to sit on top of the user’s PC and a video capture board that digitizes the analog camera pictures. The development was carried out in conjunction with British Telecommunications Plc whose goal is to increase telephony traffic across its network. The companies would not say how much has been invested in the development or how the research costs were split between the two of them. By 2000, Grierson said Intel will have shifted the camera function to the Universal Serial Bus so that an analog to digital video capture board is no longer needed, and the ISDN board function will be carried out in hardware too. The product offers audio, video and dataconferencing over ISDN and local area network or Intranet connections, and supports H.320, H.323 and T.120 standards. Intel has chosen to support the Microsoft NetMeeting videoconferencing interoperability standard so new application sharing and data collaboration tools can be offered, it said. Other features of Business Videoconferencing with ProShare include improved picture quality at 30 frames per second compared to 15 frames for the previous version thanks to Pentium II and MMX processing power, and open audio developed alongside Lucent Technologies Inc, so that a speaker phone rather than a clumsy user headset can be used.