Category Archives: Mobile Devices

WebRTC Video Conferencing Test via Vidtel

Me meeting with me

Video conferencing with myself. 🙂

Got an email from Vidtel a few weeks ago announcing the ability to connect to Vidtel video conferencing using WebRTC on my Chrome browser.

I did a really quick test since I think this technology is awesome and will move video conferencing one step closer to ubiquity.

What I Did

Since my first review of Vidtel, they have left a room on their system for me to test with (thank you Vidtel!!).  So using that room (2819) and entering the correct pin, I did the following.

1. Dialed my Vidtel virtual room using Chrome.

Figure 1: Connected to room need to enter PIN

Figure 1: Connected to room need to enter PIN

2. Entered the correct pin to connect to my room.

Figure 2: Connected to the meeting room, waiting for participants.

Figure 2: Connected to the meeting room, waiting for participants.

3. Dialed my Vidtel “MeetMe” room using Google Chat on my Smartphone.

video-conference-via-androi

Figure 3: Android smartphone video conferencing participant entered the meeting

Once connected, I changed the layout (figure 4) and then added the keyboard (figure 5).

Figure 4:  Changed the layout.

Figure 4: Changed the layout and moved me.

Figure 5:  Popped up the keypad

Figure 5: Popped up the keypad

There is so much more you can do…give it a try!

Conclusion

Using WebRTC to connect to a video conference is one more, albeit it major, step to bringing video conferencing to the masses.

Using your browser makes connecting to a video conference super easy. Once connected, the audio and video quality are excellent.

I love to see companies move the technology forward.  Bravo Vidtel!  🙂

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iGoogle Going Away

The world is changing again!

My comfortable iGoogle homepage has served me well for quite a long time (I moved to Google from Yahoo a few years ago…).  I use Chrome (fast, reliable, etc) and have almost totally moved to the Google universe…and I am very happy here.  But….

Now I see a banner on my iGoogle home page that says iGoogle is going away.  Yikes!

After clicking on the information link, and pondering what this meant….not one to let grass grow under my feet…..I moved on and downloaded separate apps that give me quick access to the Google features I use the most:  Mail, Docs (Drive), Chat, Voice, News, YouTube, etc.

As I work, I will add more….Ah….Calendar…see…the more I work, the more I add…how funny.  🙂

My new Chrome homepage looks like this:

Alternatively, I can have this page showing my most visited sites show up:

Google Chat and Voice show up in the top right hand corner of Chrome:

Using the NEW WAY

I moved very quickly to using the separate apps to access my Google universe.  I suspect since I was already doing this on my smartphone, the move to this way of navigating on my computer was virtually painless.

Time marches on….keep up or fall behind…

🙂

Turning Off Mobile Data on Android OS Version 2.3 +

I cannot afford unlimited data.  Remember: Starving blogger, and only getting worse, unfortunately.

My two year smartphone contract with AT&T recently passed on my old Android HTC phone, so Lori and I went to Best Buy to get a new smartphone (hopefully one with front and back cameras that I can test video conferencing apps).

What I got was an amazingly great phone from Motorola.  An Atrix 2 running Android 2.3.6 (after it upgraded on me).  I LOVE IT!!!!   BUT…..the data usage was through the roof!  In only a few days, I had racked up 30 Meg of data usage….shit.  And I could not figure out how to turn mobile data off…..arrrrghhh (the old version of the Android OS was easy…..but, this new version sucks (I think this is on purpose so greedy carriers can make more money).

Well here is what I found out after days of searching, trying, and almost getting to the point of getting an iPhone…..God forbid.

My Old Android Phone

First, the old version of Android was easy to turn OFF mobile data.

Long hold the power button and you see this screen:

Just hit the “Mobile Network” screen option to turn it OFF.  Now the only time you use data is when you are at a WiFi site.

The NEW Android Versions (2.3 and above?)

I had a hard time finding this.

My Google searches were useless (dealing mostly with battery life which I don’t give a rat’s ass about), and not really getting to the point, which is:  I need to turn OFF mobile data on a new Android OS phone.

I can’t believe I am still the only one who pushes the envelope on all kids of crap…..I am 60 years old for crying out loud…where is the curiosity in you young folk???  Did it die with Steve????

Anyway…..here is how you turn off “mobile data” with these new fangled Android phones.  Mine happens to be Android 2.3.6 running on my really cool Motorola Atrix 2 smartphone.  Yes..I looooove my Atrix 2….it is AWESOME!!! (Did I say that already?)  🙂

Go into your “Settings” menu and you see something like this:

Why battery and data management are in the same menu option is beyond me….but, hey software people have minds of their own….

Click on the “Battery & data management” option and you will see:

Data Delivery Options….click on that and you will see….

Data enabled with it f-ing checked as a default……greedy corporate idiots.

Un-check that, and let the greedy corporations know you care about saving money.

NOW you will not be using data unless you are near a WiFi…..which is free.

Google+ Hangout Video Conferencing Meeting, Part 2

Google+ Hangout is the PERFECT way for ANYONE, ANYTIME, ANYPLACE  to video conference.  It is FREE, you can meet with up to 10 friends, and the quality is awesome (for a free service).  The technology behind this is from Vidyo.

I will shut-up and let the video do the talking….

AWESOME!!!!!!!!  Sorry, I had to do it.

Join us in the next Hangout!  Watch this blog, Telepresence Options, or Linkedin for dates and topics!

Also…as we learned in this meeting (from Robert..), Google+ Hangout can be a stepping stone to the more advanced video conferencing systems.  A small business can try Google+ Hangout to get a feel of video conferencing then decide if they need to upgrade to a full video conferencing system.

Very cool!

Perfect Video Conferencing Demos LifeSize

I posted a comment on Linkedin the other day telling the world how much I’d love to see the ClearSea from Lifesize work on the iPad2.  But…with no iPad2 and starving blogger….I needed help.

Well, that afternoon Michael Granados (email, mgranados@perfectvc.com) from Perfect Video Conferencing wrote me an email that he could bring some LifeSize stuff out for me to see.  Great!

Well….today was the day!  (Actually…by the time I finish….yesterday was the day) 🙂

So what did Mike show me?

1. ClearSea on an iPad2.

2. LifeSize Connections cloud-based video conferencing that is still in Beta but should be released by the end of this month.

3. LifeSize Video Center streaming and recording.

ClearSea

My expectations

Truthfully….my expectations were not very high.  I mean I loved Mirial (you can see some blog entries on this blog) and I kinda like LifeSize (hey…no big heads here), but, video conferencing on mobile platforms is:  1. New and 2. On a mobile platform.

How good can it be?

What I experienced

AWESOME!  Crisp video, super audio, easy to use.  Wow!

We called an H.323 endpoint (using the IP address of the far end) and connected just as I would expect from a “normal” IP VC system…very quickly.  The video was smooth and very crisp and, after the audio caught up, it was clear and sufficiently loud to hear (and I’m sure headphones would have worked as well).

We then dialed in to my friend, Christian Helft’s Codian MCU in Paris, France and entered the “Cafe”.  ClearSea worked like a champ (which means far end camera control worked on it!).

Mike told me I could also call another ClearSea on an iPhone or iPad, (or Android?).

Here is the ClearSea call control panel on the iPad2.

Architecture

Here is a simplified diagram of what I understand to be the ClearSea call connection architecture.  The server can be placed anywhere there is good Internet connectivity.  Using the server, one can connect to H.323 / SIP endpoints or infrastructure and also point-to-point to other ClearSea mobile devices.   Hmmmm, maybe I will start a new service?

Conclusion 

Home run.

There is NO REASON why a corporate video conferencing user could not connect to a meeting using ClearSea.  Since it works over WiFi, 3G, or 4G…..you can now participate in video conferencing anytime, anyplace, anywhere.  Where have I heard that before?  Oh yeah….me….and LifeSize  🙂

LifeSize Connections

OK, you know what I think of cloud-based video conferencing.  I love it!

Mike used his Windows laptop to connect to Spring (see Spring  a few years ago at a demo I attended) on a Mac using Connections.

Connections will launch with the ability to connect up to 9 people at 720p 30 fps. Initially, it will only be able to connect LifeSize Desktop’s (which I just played with for 30 days and it was very good), and the LifeSize 220.  In the future, Connections will probably (hopefully!) connect to H.323 endpoints, and there are plans to increase the multi-point to 16 way, the resolution to 1080p, and to extend “connections” to mobile users.

In other words…Connections will get more robust over time.

Video Center

Mike then showed me some videos that were stored on the Perfect Video web site.  We watched them on the iPad2 and on his Windows laptop.

These streamed videos were recorded during real meetings and can now be accessed by anyone with a browser (sure hope Chrome works…he was using Internet Exploder).  The quality was excellent and at one point I thought he had connected into a live meeting….duh on me.

Overall

I’d like to thank Mike for coming out and showing these products.  Very cool thing to do on such short notice.  If you live in the Bay Area, and need anything video, give Mike a call!

I continue to be impressed with LifeSize’s breadth of their product line.  From mobile to the fanciest “Telepresence” room to cloud-based services…..they cover it all, and I have no doubt they will continue to innovate and improve.

Polycom RealPresence Mobile

I missed this by a few days…oh well, been busy with ForCarol.com.

On October 11, 2011 Polycom announced the availability of “RealPresence” on Apple iPad2, Motorola Xoom, and Samsung GALAXY Tab, with the promise of more tablet support to follow.  It needs a CMA Gatekeeper (ah, gatekeepers live! 🙂 at your location…here is a cool video demo:

The entire Press Release is here, but, I will quote part of it (the most interesting part to me, as I finish up my research on Polycom to appear here next week):

“RealPresence Mobile is a significant step toward achieving our vision to make it possible for millions of people to use video collaboration as their preferred method of communicating – easily, reliably, and securely – no matter what network, carrier, protocol, application, or device they use,” said Andy Miller, president and CEO of Polycom. “I’ve met with a hundred customers the past few months, and nearly every executive I talk with is looking to embrace mobility and tablets to improve business productivity. Customers who have seen our mobile applications running on Apple, Motorola, and Samsung tablets are truly inspired by the possibilities Polycom is enabling by extending video collaboration beyond the traditional boundaries of the conference room and desktop.”

Now, whether in the field or on the road, in an airport lounge or working from home, or wherever business leads, customers can use a tablet to connect and collaborate face-to-face with colleagues, customers, partners, and suppliers. RealPresence Mobile allows customers to leverage Polycom’s UC infrastructure to harness the benefits of video collaboration, increase the industry’s highest ROI even further, and unleash the powerful network effect of HD video collaboration.”

Translation:  Video conferencing anytime, anyplace, anyone!    🙂

Comment

VERY cool!!!

The world is a’changing.

Pretty soon even the buttoned up corporate executive types will be video conferencing via a tablet or cell phone.  Just think of the productivity gains!

Apple iOS5 is Available Today

UPDATE on errors during download from Computerworld.  From me…it may be wise to wait a day, or three, before installing, what is your rush anyway…a few more days won’t hurt.  Read a book!  🙂

Just in case you are soooo busy taking care of video conferencing stuff….here is a reminder that Apple’s iOS5 is available today!  See this article in Computerworld.

I use Andriod, but, my wife and daughter both have iPhones.  One cool thing that is gonna happen with this upgrade is the iCloud.

I wrote about iCloud a couple of months ago on ForCarol.com.  So go there to read a really insightful, well written, extremely interesting, sneek peek at the iCloud.  🙂

Gotta love this cloud based stuff…..very very cool.

Vidyo Video Conferencing App for iPad2 & iPhone

This press release came in via email a couple of days ago.  Very cool.

 

HACKENSACK, NJ – October 6, 2011 — Vidyo, Inc., today announced availability of VidyoMobile™ for iOS 4.x on iPads, iPhones and the iPod Touch on the Apple App Store. The VidyoMobile application allows Vidyo’s enterprise customers to seamlessly offer mobile workers the ability to participate in company video conferences from their  iOS or Android mobile devices, expanding access to conferences that already connect laptops, desktops, telepresence and HD room systems (including interoperability with Polycom, Cisco/Tandberg and other H.323 and SIP endpoints).

To see VidyoMobile on an iPad 2:

“VidyoMobile turns hundreds of millions of mobile devices into video conferencing and communication endpoints delivering up to 720p HD resolution with shared content viewing capability,” said Ofer Shapiro, CEO and co-founder of Vidyo. “Equally as important is that participants are able to connect to video conferences beyond their mobile devices – with desktop and laptop computers and telepresence room systems — and experience the same low latency, high quality performance that is Vidyo’s hallmark.”

Vidyo sells enterprise video conferencing and collaboration solutions through a worldwide network of resellers and service providers. The company also announced today global service provider support for VidyoMobile from Arkadin Global, Auralink, BCS Global, DoXom, Elisa,ID Solutions, Powwownow, VideoCall and VuCall.

“Alcatel-Lucent has been working with Vidyo to demonstrate high quality video communication between international locations over our lightRadio LTE network.  VidyoMobile has performed flawlessly, is intuitive to use, and is the kind of innovative solution that will drive explosive adoption of mobile video conferencing  in the future,” said Wim Sweldens, President of Alcatel- Lucent Wireless.

VidyoMobile is for business customers that currently offer their employees access to Vidyo’s software-based infrastructure through their enterprise IT department or through service providers who offer Vidyo as a service.  Users simply need to download the app from the iOS or Android App Store and log in to their existing account and begin using VidyoMobile on their mobile device.

Like all Vidyo endpoints, VidyoMobile can participate in conferences with more than 100 participants- displaying up to 4 participants at a time on the iPad2- and provides the user the ability to customize the view and select presentation materials.  Additionally, participants are displayed using the active speaker feature, which automatically displays the current and last few speakers.

VidyoMobile for iOS 4.x is available now and support for the iPhone 4S will be coming soon.VidyoMobile for Android smart phones and tablets is in Beta and will be available for select certified devices in November. Service packages and pricing vary by provider and region.
The Vidyo Difference

The Vidyo communication and collaboration platform is software-based, highly flexible and can be easily customized for individual enterprise and vertical market video conferencing needs. The VidyoRouter is based on the company’s patented Adaptive Video Layering™ architecture and leverages H.264 Scalable Video Coding (SVC)-based technology.  It eliminates the MCU and offers unprecedented error resiliency, low latency and rate matching enabling natural, affordable, high quality video to work over the Internet, LTE, 3G and 4G networks. The Vidyo platform allows users to quickly leverage the latest hardware innovations and new consumer devices, making it uniquely attractive to partners. Vidyo has been active driving H.264 SVC and SIP videoconferencing interoperability in various standards bodies since 2005.

About Vidyo, Inc.

 Vidyo, Inc. pioneered Personal Telepresence enabling natural, HD multi-point videoconferences on tablets and smart phones, PCs and Macs, room systems, gateways that interoperate with H.323 and SIP endpoints, telepresence solutions and affordable cloud-based broadcast solutions.  Learn more at www.vidyo.com, on the Blog or follow @vidyo on Twitter.

End of Press Release…

Radvision Scopia Mobile Video Conferencing

How in the world did this escape me?  Here is some info on the Radvision Scopia Mobile app for iPhone and iPad.

Those of you who know me, know that my dealings with Radvision go W-A-Y back .  As we were developing the ESnet H.323 architecture (starting in 1999), Radvision was there with us.  Eventually, the ECS gatekeeper was the workhorse GK for the ESnet IP video conferencing network that was put into operation Jan 29, 2004, and very quickly grew to be the largest H.323 network in the world.

Radvision is a great company, with great people.  So much for objectivity!  🙂

The Scopia Mobile app works via the Desktop Server, but, from there it can connect to virtually any standards based equipment.  I believe it works on both WiFi and / or 3G – 4G (they say “mobile broadband”, but, I don’t know what that means….)

As a full registered user, on the server,  the mobile app user can set up a meeting, invite new participants, view and manipulate (using H.239) a presentation / document.

It looks like you can also mute a participant (you know how that goes), change the video layout, and more.  Awesome!

For the billionth time:  Video Conferencing anytime, anyplace, anyone.  Driving to a meeting room is stupid….

Here are some screen shots:

iPhone

iPad

Conclusion

More and more standards-based (or at least standards interoperable) mobile apps are coming out.

Effective, high quality, video conferencing communication is now available anywhere.

A great thing!

Telecommuting = Coworking = Telework.  🙂

WhooHoo!

 

Amazon Kindle Fire

Today, Amazon introduced the Kindle Fire tablet.

I watched a few news reports and to summarize:

The Kindle Fire is fast using a dual processor, it can run Android Apps but you gotta get them from Amazon (not a bad thing).

One analyst says it is NOT an iPad killer since the Kindle Fire is a consumer of media not a producer of media / content like the iPad can be.

Makes sense.

However, this same analyst says it can put a dent in Barnes & Noble’s Color Nook.

It works on WiFi only and costs a “reasonable” $199 U.S.  Storage of your media is via the Amazon cloud and they say that is for free.

The Fire will be available in mid-November but they are taking pre-orders now.  When you get it, it will be pre-configured with your Amazon account information…that is cool.

Here are two videos:

–From the techy’s at CNET.com

–Some guy playing with Fire (sorry, I had to say that…)–

You gonna get one?  Comment below!  🙂