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Video Conferencing Consultant

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Looking at video conferencing for your company?

Independent video conferencing consultant with 23+ years (yup…since the very beginning) of experience in real world video conferencing design, implementation, and administration can help you:

+ Help you understand video conferencing technology (from Telepresence to Mobile BYOD) and how you can implement video conferencing to maximize your productivity.

+ Separate the wheat from the chaff (i.e. understand your needs and pick the right vendor(s))

+ Design an architecture specific to your needs

+ Project Manage the installation / testing of your system(s).

+ Train your employees to run your video conferencing operation

+ Provide long term support

+Independently troubleshoot problems.  Work with vendor to fix.

My Resume

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New Video Conferencing Vendors, Products, Services and Applications Series

OK, here we go.

I have started work on a new series of blog posts introducing various videoconferencing vendors and their products, services, applications and philosophy  (Thanks, Dave!  Gotta love Coworking!).

I hope to be able to introduce my loyal reader of this blog (yeah you!  :-)) to the various options you may have for implementing video conferencing in your organization and to provide a snapshot of current video conferencing technology in late 2011.

I need your help!  As I progress, I will need technical folks at each of the vendors to ask technical questions of.

IF you are willing to help (and put up with my questions!) comment below and / or email me (see the email to the right –>).  Sometimes the questions will be stupid, sometimes insightful, sometimes thought provoking…

I will start with the “bigger” corporate style vendors first:  I am researching Lifesize now.  Then I will work through:  Polycom, Vidyo, Radvision, Cisco / Tandberg.  More?

After I am done with those (and any that I may have forgotten, please comment below!), I will proceed to the service providers, the less well known / smaller vendors or providers, consumer oriented, free, etc.

Thoughts?  Comments?  Let me know below!  Did I miss someone important?

Completed

LifeSize

 

BlueJeans Network: Cloud Video Conferencing

Ah yes, I remember it well.  I remember the day when I had to order an ISDN line at home (remember 2B+D?) to attend a videoconference from home (hey…I practice not just preach telecommuting!).

Then, what seems like a short time later (and after ATM and Token Ring fell by the wayside…) we set-up pretty close to the first (Dr. Bob and Tim Poe were right there with us) H.323 videoconferencing network (which grew to be the largest IP-based video conferencing network in the world for a time, at ESnet).  THAT was FUN!  We played with (yes, technology is FUN!) gatekeepers, QCIF (the old timers know) MCU’s, newly developed numbering plans, evolving H.323 endpoints, and Clint and I running it all with military precision.  Yeah right…

The picture to the left shows the old way…our way.

The very expensive MCU, Gatekeeper and H.323 endpoints (I left out a Gateway to ISDN…since well, ISDN is dead) required Clint and I to keep it all running, configured, etc etc. Some companies have a whole team of people.  Lots of money invested, and you have to have a beefy Internet / Intranet to boot.  More money.

BUT…the results were ground-breaking-ly awesome (for the time).

Again time passed all too swiftly, and now people are talking about the “cloud” (just another name for the Internet), your damn cell phones can do video conferencing, and now one company, BlueJeans Network, tells us that they are doing “video conferencing via the cloud”.

Hmmmm, so now, Clint and I are gone (actually, we are!) replaced by a company out there on the Internet with a bunch of Clints and Mikes taking care of some amorphous infrastructure cloud that connects all these cell phones, Skype, the old H.323 stuff, and telepresence fancy dancy rooms together easy as 3.14???!!!

FREAKIN AWESOME! Except for the fact Clint and I are out of jobs…..hmmmm..

Note: I actually tested BlueJeans when they were asking for help.  I referred them to several of MY old customers so they could put BlueJeans through it’s paces, where I could not (being a starving blogger and coworking location owner.).

Now BlueJeans has been released and open to anyone.   Go here to see the cost.

Imagine:  Small businesses, independents, freelancers, can now have the same video conferencing capabilities that only the huge companies could afford only a few short years ago.  And, to me, best of all, your GrandMa or brother in the Navy can connect to you at your H.323 conference room at work via Skype from the ship or porch.

VERY cool!

Here is a sweet video that explains the BlueJeans Network concept:

Summary

For the ten billionth time, I repeat:  Video conferencing ANYTIME, ANYPLACE, ANYONE.

If you have to drive to participate in a video conference…that is, hmmm, s-t-u-p-i-d….DUH.

BlueJeans rocks!  I wish them the best!

🙂

Vidyo on the Apple iPad2

Damn this is great!   Friend Czoli from Vidyo shared this on Google+ today.

I have said this a thousand times before: Video conferencing anytime, anyplace, anyone.

Vidyo (see my getting old review of Vidyo here).

Facebook Skype Video Chat

Vidyo on a Tablet

Well, it seems that Facebook now offers point-to-point video chatting from within Facebook.

Good for them!  BUT…point-to-point is kinda useless…just saying.  I have more than one friend I like to chat with, and all the Bay Shore Kids could have a reunion.

Overall Opinion 

HoHum, but, at least video conferencing is now reaching the masses.  After 20 years….my work is done?!  🙂

Google+ (if anyone is actually using it…I cannot seem to get connected) offers multipoint video chat (using, I think, Vidyo software).  At least that is what I heard….

Conclusion

I have been saying for MANY years now that videoconferencing should be for anyone at anytime from anyplace.

Big fancy rooms that cost $500,000 each are simply not needed…DUH…each participant should stay home (#telecommuting = #coworking) and video chat into a meeting.  Save gas, save time, save money, save the environment.

StarLeaf Voice and Video Conferencing Solutions

Just wanted to post this video as an introduction to a new company, StarLeaf, started by some old friends (from Codian).

I’ll be learning more in the coming weeks (I may be meeting with them in July) and will keep you posted.  By the way, when the Codian came out, I was one of the first supporters, and LOVED it from day one and, eventually, built the ESnet H.323 videoconferencing architecture around Codians (with a Radvison gatekeeper).

Needless to say, I am anxious to see StarLeaf in action.

Oh yeah…as a reminder of who was FIRST with Personal Telepresence….go here.  🙂

Comments welcome!

ooVoo Update

My loyal reader probably remembers when I first saw ooVoo (this is a reclaimed blog entry since the original was lost with all the movement).  I thought at the time that ooVoo was the greatest video conferencing application I had seen in awhile.  Over time, I loved it even more that it included multi-person (3 and then up to 6) videoconferencing…..for free.

We used it all the time (the above picture shows Christian in Paris, Sheila in Chicago, and Me in Tracy, CA).

Then they changed, and started to charge for multi-way video chat.  Damn…

Guess what?  Free 3 (maybe 6?????) way multi person video chat is baaaacccckkk…not sure how long this has been the case, but, I just found out (and that is all that matters….right?  haha).

Give ooVoo a try….and get 2 (maybe 5????) friends to try it with you…

One bitch

I HATE the way they do their web site….it is VERY deceptive (my not so humble opinion). In fact, their Facebook page also insinuates the same 6 way for free (that is why I clicked over).

“ooVoo Lisa sayz “A wallet is a terrible thing to waste! Why pay for Skype when you can get ooVoo 6-way for Free! Like if you agree!”

Looking at it, you would think that 6 way calling is free, right?  Well according to their web pages…..it is NOT.

Go to this page to get the real story.

Buyer beware…the Facebook comments seem to suggest 6 way is free till May 31 (they do not say which year).

The Vatican Chooses Vidyo for Video Conferencing

 

For some reason, I just HAD to post this press release.  Interestingly, the contact for Vidyo is given, but, not for the Vatican.  Should we call the Pope?  Or should we go higher?

🙂

Seriously, this is awesome.  And as I have said before, Vidyo is awesome.

Vatican City Selects Vidyo Video Conferencing Technology to Ease Communications between Offices of the Holy See

Hackensack, NJ – April 20, 2011 – Vidyo®, Inc., the first company to deliver personal telepresence, today announced that the Vatican City, the sovereign territory of the Holy See, has deployed VidyoConferencing™ to enhance interactions between the various locations throughout the organization. The Vidyo platform will be used for communications between lay employees and clergy in central offices such as the Governatorate and the Roman Curia, and in other offices in all continents.

Until now, the Vatican City had been using traditional communications tools that no longer fulfilled the needs of a growing organization with offices worldwide. The selection of Vidyo’s platform was made by the Telecommunication Department of the Vatican City, which oversees the adoption of technologies within the Holy See; they reviewed a variety of different video conferencing solutions during their evaluation.

“We’re seeing a steadily growing number of companies deploying Vidyo’s platform – either switching from their old legacy system or investing in a video conferencing and collaboration system for the first time because of our higher quality, lower costs and superior range of options that span HD room systems, desktops, laptops and mobile devices,” said Eric Le Guiniec, Vidyo’s General Manager for EMEA. “We are extremely happy to be selected by the Vatican City and we look forward to continuing and strengthening our relationship in the future.”

The Vatican City’s Telecommunications Department’s objective was to introduce a high-quality, cost-effective, video communications and collaboration platform. Since most of those who would be using the system were not technically savvy, the system needed to be easy to use, access and maintain. They found that Vidyo’s platform offers exceptional quality over any connection and allows users to join conferences from a variety of desktop and mobile endpoints. Vidyo’s resilience to latency and packet loss, which makes video communication very real and natural, was a huge advantage; another benefit was the ability to invite anyone to join a Vidyo conference – not just the users registered on the system. Vidyo’s solution will allow anyone in the Vatican City to use video communications easily, even those with less technical knowledge, resulting in a reduction of travel costs and a positive impact on the environment.

VidyoTechnology™ offers unprecedented error resiliency, low latency and rate matching to enable natural, high quality video to work over the Internet, LTE, 3G and 4G networks. Because Vidyo’s solution is software-based, it can easily be expanded, upgraded, and customized for customers’ individual Enterprise and vertical market video conferencing needs. Vidyo’s product line spans a full range of potential applications, from the VidyoDesktop™ with personal telepresence capabilities on a PC or a Mac to the VidyoRoom™ that encodes and decodes HD-quality video at up to 60 frames per second.

About Vidyo, Inc.

Vidyo, Inc. pioneered Personal Telepresence enabling natural, HD multi-point videoconferences on desktop computers and room systems, and VidyoCast, an affordable cloud-based broadcast solution. Vidyo’s patented VidyoRouter architecture eliminates an MCU while delivering the industry’s best error resilience and lowest latency videoconferencing and broadcast solutions over the Internet. Vidyo’s solution utilizes H.264 Scalable Video Coding (SVC) and the company has been active in various standards bodies driving H.264 SVC and SIP interoperability since 2005.  Learn more at www.vidyo.com, on theBlog or follow @vidyo on Twitter.

# # #

The VIDYO logo is a registered trademark of Vidyo, Inc., VIDYO and the trademarks of the VIDYO family of products are trademarks of Vidyo, Inc. and the other trademarks referenced herein are the property of their respective owners.

Vidyo Contact:

Mari Mineta Clapp

press@vidyo.com

+1 (408) 398-6433

Skype Video Conferencing Group Calling Update

My daughter mentioned to me last night that she and some friends tried to make a multipoint video call using Skype, but, had to sign up, and pay for, Skype Premium to do so. They used ooVoo instead.  (NOTE:  ooVoo when I last looked at it rocks!)

I looked this morning…..and here is the scoop:  Skype multipoint is NO LONGER free.  Rats!

Now you have to pay by the day for $4.99 (with a * which means be careful not to get screwed), or a monthly fee of $8.99 (with the same *).

The number of people allowed in a Skype Premium call is VERY hard to find (I mean come on, Skype people, make that information easy to find…geeezzz) is a max of 10.

All good things must end….they do need to make money.

Mirial Connects iPad 2 to H.323 and SIP

 

UPDATE: August 24, 2011:  Mirial is now part of LifeSize.  See my latest blog entry on LifeSize for all the scoop.

 

Got an email from Mirial telling me that they now support the connection of iPad 2 video conferencing to standards-based H.323 and SIP videoconferencing systems such as Polycom, Lifesize, and Cisco / Tandberg (I’m sure Mirial too…..but they left themselves out…).

From what I can gather, Clearsea is set of applications (and hardware) that include an app that you download to your Andriod or iPhone smartphone.  This app then lets you connect to standards based videoconferencing products (including what sounds like Will’s wife and a Codian MCU !) as shown in the following two videos.

Here is part of the email announcing all this stuff:

Video call with your brand new iPad 2 – today!

After less than one year after the arrival of iPad™, Apple launched iPad 2 claiming it to be such a bar raiser for the competitors that “it will likely cause them to go back to the drawing boards yet again.” (Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO).

A lot more has been said about the new device, facts are that the iPad 2 is thinner and lighter than its predecessor, has a faster dual-core processor and better graphic performances.
But the real deal about iPad 2 are the new front and rear cameras, making it a perfect portable endpoint for visual communication and collaboration for corporate users.

As many enterprises rely upon SIP or H.323 video conferencing systemsit is essential that the new devices such as iPad 2 can be integrated into their existing infrastructure. Mirial ClearSea enables standards-based video calls with iOS and Android devices, PCMac and any SIP/H.323 room equipment such as Lifesize, Polycom or Cisco.

Try it yourself, it’s available now! Request your free demo.

Feature of the month: switch camera

In order to take full advantage of the two cameras on the iPad 2 ClearSea Client for iOS features a gesture-based switch camera feature that allows you to switch between the cameras, even during a call.

Check it out in this video by Samuel Sandoval of DeafTechNews LLC, who reviewed the product on the iPad 2 only a few hours after the release.

Summary

This is very interesting news as mobile video conferencing more fully establishes itself….

In fact, it was two years ago that I gave this presentation….seems like I hit the nail on the head concerning mobile videoconferencing.

Yeeessss…my predictions are coming true faster and faster….my next prediction: I will make millions of dollars!  Haha, we will see how long THAT one takes.    🙂