Bryan Hellard Reviews: Fuzebox

According to the salesman, FuzeBox licenses from Vidyo its SVC (which he called Scalable Video Codec not coding) but uses something different for audio. That was immediately apparent because there were no audio issues during the call and I used my webcam’s microphone and desktop speakers.

Ease of use

Unfortunately, I was not given Host rights so I was just a user connecting to a meeting hosted by the salesman. I connected via an email link and that took me to Fuze’s website for an 8mb download. Note that once the Fuze Meeting program was installed, it was not automatically put in my computer’s startup routine. That’s always appreciated, especially if you are dealing with not-so-power users. Connection via iPad required downloading the app and input of a meeting number and user name. That’s it.

Quality of product

Due to SVC (as I was told), there is no ability to change bandwidth based on connection speed or quality. This absolutely wasn’t needed though as the video and audio quality was both excellent over the 30 minute call. There were no lip sync issues, even on the iPad. Nor was there lag between the image on the iPad and the image on my desktop. If there is significant lag on any of the devices, there is always the problem of people talking over one another. Not an issue here with my setup.


FuzeBox has a couple of versions of FuzeMeeting listed on their website. The website also has pricing listed for each version. Anything above Pro would be overkill for me as I wouldn’t see myself in meeting with more than four people on video. At $49/month it is about the right pricepoint. I was told by the salesman that it is not sold monthly though, only yearly and that’s a bummer. The host is only required to have a license so you can email invites out for meetings and the other parties only need to perform the install and they are ready to go. The Business version allows for twelve people on video and adds a couple other features not available on the Pro version as well as a couple of enhancements.


One item of note: Salesmen frustrate me. Typically, I like talking to support staff, engineers or owners because they understand that I am looking at products both subjectively and objectively and won’t buy a product because of (insert marketing speak here). He automatically assumed his product was the best out there because it is the most used and even compared the product to Cisco, Polycom and Lifesize hardware endpoints. When I first got connected to the call (I was early, salesman was late) the salesman said “You have 10 minutes!”. I thought; “Seriously?” and went about the demo. Sales tactics aside, their product is top notch in both video, audio and data sharing. I would recommend it.



Polycom Announces Cloud Based Videoconferencing Option

Polycom…are you serious?

THIS was the GAME CHANGING announcement you promised???

This was in my email last week:

We’re About to Make History
You don’t want to miss this game-changing announcement.”

Really??  I wonder if the others who have been there for years are shaking in their boots??

To be fair….maybe I am missing something….comments below for those who can set me straight.  I will continue searching for the historic announcement….

Until then….


By the way:  The ViewStation was a game changer….the PVX was a game changer…..purchasing Accord was a near game changer…..



Blue Jeans Network Grows By 50% in One Quarter

OK, listen up.

I have said this before (like starting in 1999, for those who don’t know that ESnet Collaboration developed one of, if not the, first IP-based cloud video conferencing services in the world)…..BUT….

Cloud based video conferencing is going to kick the worlds ass in a BIG way….this press release is proof, and this is just the tip of a VERY LARGE iceberg.  For example, say bye-bye to your favorite MCU, and say Hi to browser-based video conferencing.  VERY exciting!

Read this upcoming (Monday) press release from our friends at Blue Jeans Network.  Yes…I posted this WITH PERMISSION!

But, I think this is a scoop!  :-)))

Wainhouse?  Who are they?  haha

Blue Jeans Network Grows By 50 Percent in One Quarter to Claim 10 Percent of Estimated Worldwide Video Conferencing Services Market

Cloud-based MCU Takes $15 Million From Cisco and Polycom;  WebRTC-based Browser Access Option Surges to 25 Percent Mark

October 8, 2012— MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA – Blue Jeans Network (, the leader in interoperable video conferencing services, today announced a 50 percent increase in customer adoption in the past three months alone.  Based on third-party market research, Blue Jeans now commands about 10 percent of the video conferencing services market.  In addition, Blue Jeans also announced the initial results of the “MCU killer” pricing package as well as adoption rates of their Web browser-based interoperable video conferencing solution.

Earlier this year, Blue Jeans rolled out new pricing plans that gave customers the opportunity to experience business grade multi-way videoconferencing in the cloud, without the high cost of entry and interoperability constraints of traditional on-premise bridging hardware (commonly known as multipoint control units, or MCUs).

Additionally, Blue Jeans expanded the addressable market to more than 2.3 billion people who have access to a Web browser.  In Q2 of this year, Blue Jeans became the first and only service allowing anyone with a browser and camera to join video meetings with other participants who could be using any combination of room-based videoconferencing systems (i.e. Polycom, Cisco, LifeSize, Sony, etc.), as well as Skype, Google, Microsoft Lync or audio connections.

Since rolling out these offerings, Blue Jeans’ business has exploded to the point the company has grown by 50 percent in just over one quarter.  Furthermore, Blue Jeans customers have saved an estimated $15 million by avoiding the MCU infrastructure market altogether by taking advantage of the new subscription-based “virtual ports” pricing plans in the cloud.

According to Wainhouse Research, the video conferencing infrastructure market currently represents a yearly market of approximately $700M and is dominated by Cisco and Polycom.

The browser access option has allowed participants to connect to a Blue Jeans meeting with nothing more than their Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Safari browser and a camera.  The adoption has been phenomenal.  In just a few months, Web browser-based video conferencing has surged to comprise 25 percent of all endpoints in Blue Jeans video calls.

“Video conferencing has traditionally been expensive to purchase, difficult to deploy and complicated to use.  By being first with an interoperable MCU in the cloud offering and a WebRTC based browser option, we have clearly hit a nerve in the industry and tapped in to an unmet need,” said Krish Ramakrishnan, CEO of Blue Jeans Network.  “Our surge in demand is a testament to the growing business appetite for both videoconferencing and an infinitely scalable, cloud-based alternative to the traditional MCU.”

For more information about Blue Jeans cloud-based MCU bridge alternative visit

More information on Web Browser access is available at

About Blue Jeans Network
At Blue Jeans Network, our mission is to make video communications as easy and pervasive as audio communications, enabling more effective collaboration at work, at home, and on the road.  Our cloud-based conferencing service makes this possible by enabling customers to connect with each other seamlessly any time, anywhere, and from practically any device. The Blue Jeans Network extends high quality video communications beyond the traditional boundaries of specialized conference rooms and into the mainstream, allowing individuals and employees throughout an enterprise to interact more effectively with each other, and with their customers, partners, suppliers, family, and friends.  Blue Jeans Network is a private company headquartered in Mountain View, California.  For more information go to: or follow the company @BlueJeansNet

Press Contact
Tim Smith
Element PR

IOCOM Releases Visimeet Statistics

I love stats!

When I was at ESnet ( I built Perl programs to sift thru the Gatekeeper stats to give me almost any bit of interesting usage information I could calculate.

Until today, my stats were the only video conferencing industry stats I had ever seen.

The press release I got today from IOCOM changed all that!  🙂

Being greedy, I asked for more detail (I will post here if I get more..), but, I also held back as I could have asked for MUCH more.  🙂

Summary:  Video conferencing usage on Visimeet is increasing by leaps and bounds…here is the press release.


Chicago, IL, October 4, 2012: IOCOM, a leading provider of universal video conferencing solutions, today announced a significant growth in customer usage of their software-based collaboration platform, Visimeet. Over the last year, several of IOCOM’s most active customers held over 200,000 meetings covering more than 500,000 hours or 30 million minutes. The majority of these meetings are held between at least two different endpoints (telepresence suites, PC desktops, Linux laptops, iPads, etc.).

“Many of our customers work across multiple locations and need a reliable collaboration solution that allows them to accomplish their business goals without having to spend resources on travel. We’re glad that Visimeet is that solution,” said Gary Refka, Vice President of Operations and Customer Support for IOCOM. “The numbers clearly show the value Visimeet brings to our clients, who have, at most, only one person across the entire organization dedicated to supporting the system, only further emphasizing its ease of use and reliability.”

IOCOM notes that customers most often take advantage of data sharing functionality during collaboration sessions in which users can share data, in real time and its native resolution. Other features include instant messaging, file transfer, independent camera and audio control, and desktop sharing.

“Providing our customers with the best possible tools to enhance their productivity is our number one priority, and with Visimeet’s interoperability across Mac, PC, Linux, iOS, and Android devices, more and more organizations are turning to IOCOM to fill their video conferencing needs,” said Tim Hackett, IOCOM CEO. “The bring your own device (‘BYOD’) trend is thriving in many corporations today and we are pleased to have compatible collaborative solutions”.

Visimeet is a software-based solution that keeps people connected through video, audio, and data conferencing and gives users the ability to transfer files and share and view data in real time. Its solutions can connect with different endpoints simultaneously, including room systems, desktop PCs, notebooks, and mobile devices as well as telephone, ISDN, SIP, and H.323 connections. IOCOM focuses on delivering high performance solutions that provide superior quality audio and video without the cost and complexity of proprietary systems.

Users can sign up for a free Visimeet account by visiting


Founded in 1998, IOCOM develops, markets, and supports enterprise video conferencing and collaboration software and solutions that enable multi-point communication for business processes. IOCOM delivers innovative on-premise and cloud-based solutions that enable multiple groups or individuals to instantly collaborate anytime and anywhere over their chosen medium. IOCOM is the first collaboration software company to integrate high performance multiple data and video windows with high performance audio. To learn more, visit



Tim Hall
312.786.9169 x115

Bryan Hellard Reviews:

It’s not often that I am really, really impressed with a product. This is one of those times.

Ease of Use required a small download from their website to get started. The only slightly unfortunate thing is that the product requires a login using credentials from either Facebook or Google, for reasons that I can only speculate about. This is only necessary if you want to initiate a meeting. To join someone else’s meeting you only need to be given an invitation via email (which is incredibly easy for the host to provide), download, launch the application, type your name and you are in the meeting.

Joining via iPad is a matter of inputting the room id that is provided at the top of the screen by the host via an obvious button called “Join Video Meeting”. It is possible to initiate a meeting from the iPad, which some other products aren’t able to do.

There aren’t many bells and or whistles to complicate things. There’s no way to change quality settings, but from what I found it’s not needed as I’ll go into below.

Quality of Product

The video image quality was excellent. Even full screen on a 23” monitor, the image from my iPad looked very good with just some pixelization but not enough to notice unless you are looking for it. Video from the desktop on the iPad was excellent as well. Latency between iPad and desktop was as close to non-existent as I’ve seen in a software product. Audio to video sync was virtually spot on. For this test, I pointed the camera at my online radio’s webpage (that I was also streaming at the same time). The web page has a meter that lights up as people speak in sync with the audio. I took my iPad into another room so I could hear the radio and see the meter through it. Sync was incredibly close, by far closer than any other product.

Screen/application sharing was easy and fast. I shared a web page from the desktop and going from page to page appeared very fast on the iPad. Sharing over the web and having to wait for a PowerPoint slide (or whatever) to change while the presenter either has to wait until you see it or just starts talking before you see the information is a little painful to me. No problem with that here.

Zoom also handles fast motion very effectively (tested via my hand waving in front of the camera technique).

Note the clean interface on both desktop and iPad


Up to 15 participants in a meeting, free. A friend told me that is in beta, but I didn’t see that officially. The TOS on their website though has a heading labeled “CHARGES” so I assume it won’t be free forever, especially with language like “Zoom may change prices at any time without prior notice, including changing from a free service to a paid service…”. This is disappointing for a cheapskate like me and I wonder what the end price will be and conditions they will set. Hopefully, it will still be free for maybe three or four participants and charge for more than that. Even the Skype model of charging for multipoint would be acceptable for me so I can still use the free model.


I would highly recommend this product. When/if pricing is involved I reserve the right change my mind.

Bryan Hellard Reviews: EasyMeeting


 EasyMeeting appears to be built around Radvision’s Scopia mobile product. You are required to actually use the Scopia Mobile iPad app to use it. It’s unknown if Radvision’s acquisition by Avaya will have any effect on the product as I am unsure of any relationship between EasyMeeting and Radvision.

Ease of use

Yeah, it’s pretty easy. There is a desktop/laptop download required and Radvision’s Scopia mobile app if you want to use it on an iPad. Sharing from the desktop is simple and you can choose to share the desktop or an individual program. Quality looked great sharing to my iPad.

Quality of product

Overall, the quality was ok. The audio was very good, the video was decent if you weren’t moving much but the lip sync was not good. During my demo with someone from EasyMeeting, the quality started poor until the bandwidth max (user adjustable) was set to a lower level. My “hand waving” test technique in front of the camera resulted in a high degree of pixelization. It did calm down when the motion stopped, but overall the video was not very high quality.


EasyMeeting does not provide pricing on their website so I won’t show it here. I will tell you that the desktop product is sold in increments of three and the price is more than I would consider for the product.


EasyMeeting people have been loading up the LinkedIn VC groups lately with comments on their product encouraging people to try it (even on threads that have nothing to do with them – but that is another subject for another day). Overall, I liked their product. I would like it more, much more if it were cheaper. It has nowhere near the overall quality of FuzeBox and it is more expensive. That means, I cannot recommend it. 

Guest Blogger Bryan Hellard’s Product Reviews

Please welcome Bryan Hellard (web site) as a guest blogger on  He is in the process of testing more than several software-based video conferencing applications, and for the next several weeks, he will be posting his reviews here!   I am posting his reviews un-edited, so if you have any comments, concerns, whatever….take it up with Bryan!  🙂

Bryan L Hellard, President
True View Video LLC
Skype: bryan.hellard

In this first blog, Bryan explains the “rules”….

Software and web-based video conferencing

There is an unprecedented amount of software and web-based video conferencing applications available today. It’s my new mission to try as many of them as possible and objectively and subjectively (of course) review them for things like ease of use, quality of product and of course price.

To date, here is the short list of tested or soon to be tested products:

  • Vidyo Desktop
  • ClearSea from Lifesize
  • Connections from Lifesize
  • TenHands
  • GreenAppX
  • EasyMeeting
  • Huddlv
  • Fuzebox
  • OmniJoin
  • VidTel
  • Skype
  • iMeet/GlobalMeet
  • Fastmeeting
  • SeeVogh
  • AnyMeeting

Each program will have the benefit of their own full review (or as much as I can do as one person with two computers and an iPad).

Ease of use

What I am looking for is the easiest solution available. Typically, I will not have a video conference with the same person twice. Therefore I am looking for a solution where I will always be the moderator and can send out easy invites via email. I do not want a solution where I have to determine ahead of time who gets a ‘license’. This is pointless for my needs as stated above. The solution should be iPad compatible at least on my end.

Quality of product

As of this date, I do not plan to hold meetings on 65” televisions so pure resolution is not so much of an issue. Quality will be defined as latency (and the program’s ability to self-correct), pixelization and handling of audio. Data sharing is a must. Latency between endpoints cannot be helped, but any latency between someone’s mouth moving and what comes out of it will not be tolerated. At that point, I don’t want to look at the person and want to just listen…just like on a telephone call.


Price drives most product usage, and I am cheap. Two competing products, yet one with maybe one extra bell or whistle but a much higher cost will lose. Well, unless you absolutely need that extra bell. What we’re looking for is video chatting with data/screen sharing. That’s it. Busy people don’t need or want complications in a product or pricing scheme. Pricing must be simple, month to month and we must know what it is. There are several products out there with fuzzy math as it relates to their pricing. I don’t want that and my guess is that you don’t either. Please note that I will only share pricing if it is posted on the company’s website or I am given permission to do so.

About my setup

I am testing all products from my home office, using the equipment listed below

HP HPE-400y desktop with:

  • 3.0GHz AMD Phenom II X4 945 processor
  • 8gb RAM
  • FaceVision Touch Camera N1 with integrated microphone
  • Generic speakers connected to on-board audio card
  • Plantronics Blackwire C420-M headset
  • Acer 23” LCD monitor running 1920×1080

A New iPad with Logitech’s Bluetooth headset 981-000381

HP Pavilion dv7 Laptop w/1.8GHz AMD Phenom and 6 GB RAM

I have a cable connection that runs 10-15 mbps download and 768k-1mbps upload. Both desktop and iPad share a wifi connection from my router that sits in my old home office 30 feet away. My laptop also shares this connection and will be used if necessary for these demos.

Understand that these reviews are mine based on simple and short tests either by myself or with a representative of the product being reviewed. These are not month long product tests under all conditions at all times of day. Also understand that I do tend to be highly critical of products and they will always be compared to some fantasy product out there that has exactly what I want at the price I want to pay. As the saying goes “your mileage may vary” and before taking my word for it, test one or two of these products yourself. 

McAfee Anti Virus Network Control Issue

Yesterday two of us spent at least an hour each trying to figure out another AltamontCowork members network issue.

Brand new laptop…DNS issue.

Normally, I can try one or two things, and get the computer working.  Not yesterday.  I quickly reached my limit, granted my limit, in that area,  is kinda shallow.

We finally threw our hands up in the air and suggested he go back to Best Buy where he bought the computer 36 days ago.

Instead of doing that, our coworker called his computer guru friend, who INSTANTLY knew what to do.  Uninstall the recently expired version of McAfee Anti-Virus that Best Buy had installed for him.

He did that and his Internet connectivity came back!

OK, in my opinion, if this in fact a McAfee issue (it sure is coincidental) then this is super BAD.

An anti-virus program stopping your Internet access (just because the time limit expired)?  I see how this could be a “nice” thing to do…..but….it should NEVER be done.  NEVER, NEVER….

Go here to download a FREE anti-virus program from the people who understand Windows better than anyone.


Computer guru friend, Cami (NNIS Computer and Network Support), sent me this link as a possible cause for this issue.

Reading the fixes I see they are very complicated for the average computer user.

Here is a simpler fix…..remove McAfee, as our coworker did, and install a free anti-virus program.

List of Cloud Based Video Conferencing Companies

Cloud-based video conferencing is a great way for small to medium sized businesses to get involved with multi-point video conferencing.

These businesses do not need to purchase expensive infrastructure components, nor do they need the support personnel needed to run that infrastructure.  Simply sign up for a relatively inexpensive cloud-based service and meet with your clients, colleagues, friends, and family.  The quality is great and the services are on 24 x 7.

Use this blog post as your jumping point to the world of cloud-based video conferencing.

This is a living breathing blog post that will grow over time, so check back often!   🙂

Comment below with more to add to this list….

Blue Jeans Network

Google Chat, Skype, H.323, Telephone call-in, Web RTC browser, Microsoft LYNC,  SIP is in Beta.  Schedule a meeting or an instant meeting to fire up the virtual room.  People call in or the system can call them.  Full administration to add, drop, mute, etc. review coming soon.


This snippet is from their web site: “The easyConference3 or 6 is a cloud service that enables several video conferencing systems to connect in the same meeting. This is a service where you can seamlessly collaborate with any videoconferencing system, and Win/Mac, iPhone/iPad. To join, you only need to dial the EasyNumber and meet ”

LifeSize Connections
H.323 EP’s supported: LifeSize Endpoints (Passport / 220 / Unity Series
SIP EP’s supported:  LifeSize Endpoints (Passport / 220 / Unity Series

Completely ad hoc and guaranteed availability e.g. reservation-less
Virtual WaterCooler call in is supported, up to 12 hour call duration on multiparty, unlimited on one to one calls.
Adminstration:  All call participants have the ability to add/drop participants, share content etc. Connections is chair-person-less.


H.323, SIP, Skype, and Audisoft Frontline Communicator  connectivity.  Supports Android and iOS mobile devices as well as “kits” available for Windows and Mac computers.  Up to 10 participants in a meeting, can share presentations, etc.

MyEasyConnection (G2J)

This is from the G2J web site:  ”

Using G2J’s virtual rooms, you can connect all these people to the same meeting:


H.323 and SIP EP’s.  Dial-out only (dial-in due 2013), administration for add, drops, mutes, etc, schedule a meeting or fire up an ad hoc meeting via presence and instant dial-out.  Mobile apps are now in alpha…


Ad-hoc dial-in using Google Chat, H.323, SIP, Skype, Telephone call-in.  Virtual WaterCooler like meeting rooms always available.   Administration features coming soon.

See my review.


From the Vidyo web site:  “Enables seamless inter-connectivity of Cisco, Polycom, Lifesize, and other legacy H.323 and SIP-based endpoints, supports Microsoft Lync and voice only devices, provides free mobile client for users without access to legacy VC or MS Lync”


Downloaded app on your browser, presentations / desktop sharing, video conferencing (3 for free).  Mobile apps available.

More to come soon….help me build it!  

Comment below!  🙂

Evaluating Cloud Based Video Conferencing: VidTel

(reliable, high quality, virtual meetings)

The True Value of Video Conferencing

Scroll down for the YouTube video of a VidTel meeting…

A few blogs ago (on I proposed how I would evaluate the cloud based video conferencing services that are becoming so popular…here is a summary of what I am looking for:

A cloud-based video conferencing service provides an easy-to-use, dial-in, ad-hoc, virtual meeting space for anyone, anytime, anywhere using any endpoint.

Easy…simple….to the point.  At least in theory, implementing that simple concept is a bit harder, believe me, I know…I did it starting way back in 1999 for the Department of Energy (see

I started looking at VidTel a couple of weeks ago and found out how much I missed having my own virtual meeting space.  After a week or so of meetings with people across the country (some of whom want to remain anonymous) I came to this conclusion:

VidTel MeetMe is a fantastic cloud-based video conferencing option for your corporate needs.

Note: If you want to meet with multiple people via video conferencing but don’t have the in-house expertise, or the budget, to support the expensive infrastructure needed to support these meetings…cloud-based is the way to go.

In my original blog, I stated several important keys to a successful cloud based service (at least to me…):

Registration process, using the service, administration tools, support, cost.  Since I only have 500 words…I will get right to the point:

VidTel MeetMe Evaluation (watch the video below for a really cool meeting with the VidTel folks and my good friend David Maldow from Telepresence Options….).  Visit the VidTel web site for a ton of information, and to sign up for a free trial or to use the service:

Registration process:  Easy as 3.14

Using the Service: Dial-in, ad-hoc, using any H.323 / SIP endpoint, Google Talk (Chat?), Cell Phone (i.e. telephone), or Skype.  You get a virtual room to call into, then give the people you want to meet with that number (there is a PIN option as will, and it works great).  Everyone calls in when it is time for the meeting…wow!

Administration Features (real-time adding or dropping participants, muting participants, etc.):  None as of this time.  This is a future enhancement due out soon.

Support:  Call in 6 AM to 6 PM PST: 1-877-MY-VIDTEL, email:, VidTel offers 24×7 support for resellers.

Cost: Unlimited, normal business use, 5 users, $149/mo SD, $299/mo HD.  Link to the VidTel MeetMe cost web site.

My Findings

I registered via the web site and was sent information on how to call into my own virtual meeting room.  My room was:  2819.  I then sent out dialing instructions to my list of meeting participants that looked like this:

H.323 endpoint: then 2819  to enter the conf room
Google Chat:
Skype:  vidtel.2819.2, or vidtel.2819.1 (add these “rooms” to your contact list first…then do a video call)
Phone:  1-650-741-7616 then 2819

At one point during the meeting, the real-world hit me as my Comcast line was CUT!  Once I figured out the problem, I called back into the meeting with my cell phone!  VERY cool!

A couple of times, my Polycom HDX friends called in and I saw black screen, they hung up, tried again, and all was cool.  Not sure what the issue might have been.


VidTel is a great option for small to medium (heck even large) businesses who do not have the in-house resources (people or $$) to implement and support a video conferencing infrastructure, but, who need to meet via video conferencing.

My old-as-the-hills camera does not show the true quality of the call… believe me, the quality (video and audio) was excellent: