August 19, 2015

Bad Marketing Photography

Let's just get it out there - I'm not fond of marketing photography. Why do I have such a problem? False advertising. I've seen too many marketing documents either portraying video conferencing wrong or photoshopping key items out of pictures.

August 17, 2015

Is Telecommuting Right for You?

The last time I wrote a little about telecommuting as part of my Changing Workplace blog but what I didn't go into is my experiences over the last 11 years of working at home. This article will run on with some things I liked about working from home, some I didn't and some things you should be aware of if you, your coworkers or your employees start telecommuting.

Photo by franky242.

August 02, 2015

July 2015 Around the Industry

Here are the news, views and reviews from the world of video conferencing for July, 2015. There is typically a lull after Infocomm and this July was no exception.

  • HERE is an article about what Lifesize is doing. Note that I don't necessarily agree with the direction they are going but I wish them luck nonetheless.
  • Going back through some Infocomm videos I discovered some new video wall products geared toward video conferencing. Video walls don't make sense to me in a video conferencing environment. It's no different than a huge projected image (except the projected image at least doesn't have bezels all over the place) where camera placement becomes a big problem. In the near future I feel that we're going to get this problem resolved but right now I see video walls problematic if the planned use is for video conferencing. Note that I do think they are cool, they just aren't great for VC.
  • While I think Chromebox for meetings is a bad product for conference rooms, I can see the Chromecast making a bigger splash. Some two-way functionality (if it's not already in there) where if there was one in each conference room to display content to all conference rooms, that would be cool. Seems like an obvious winner to me. Until then, Mersive's Solstice is still my favorite.
  • This camera was introduced. I cannot tell you how much I will think this will fail with that pricepoint.
  • Below is nice video recap of Infocomm. The industry needs more discussion like this, especially using video.

  •  Microsoft's Surface Hub is experiencing a delay. Although Microsoft's explanation is transparent (and most likely incorrect), I can empathize with their situation.
  • Sony introduced a USB PTZ camera. Not excited.
  • Logitech Collaboration Program was announced. Logitech should band together with all software codec vendors and push push push it.

The Stock Ticker
  • Polycom stock went from $13.52 to $11.51 per share over the month of June to $11.38 as of 8-1
  • Cisco went from $29.60 to $27.83 to $28.42
  • Avaya went from $16.02 to $15.84 to $16.38

July 28, 2015

Practice What You Preach

Forward the video to the 29:30 mark. It was mandatory that Cisco's acquisitions move to San Francisco.

What's wrong with this? Well, a look at their website shows that Cisco is pushing telecommuting/teleworking for their customers. Makes sense, right, since they sell video conferencing and collaboration related products. However, they are forcing relocation of their acquisitions? I thought with teleworking everyone was supposed to be more efficient and happier. If the company that sells the highest end communication products in the world doesn't practice what they preach, then why should anyone think working from home is the way to go?

Now of course I know nothing of Cisco's situation other than what Rowan shared in that video. But still, on the surface if you're trying to sell products that has a specific purpose, you really should use them your damn self for that purpose.

July 19, 2015

Image Acquisition

For a successful video conference there are four key components * as far as getting a good picture to the far participants. 

Here they are in sort of a start to finish order:

  • Image Aquisition
  • Compression then decompression after transmission (the codec)
  • Network (transmission)
  • Display

In this blog, I'll discuss the image acquisition portion of video conferencing, as I've found that of the four, it lacks the most attention.

July 17, 2015

The Changing Workplace

Pundits and vendors are writing articles left and right about the changing workplace. The workplace is constantly changing but not always for the better. Let's take a quick look at four of the more popular ideas,  and what's good and bad about them in the workplace of today.

Photo by Stuart Miles.  

July 03, 2015

Evolution vs Revolution

Around the internet world, or in our little corner of it, there was some disappointment over the lack of game changing innovations at Infocomm. In this article, I'll  throw my two cents into the mix about product evolution and revolution. Being directly involved with a company creating innovative products and a long time veteran of the video conferencing world I have pretty good insight into some of the issues facing new technologies and why we're not seeing them.

June 27, 2015

June 2015 around the industry

Here are some interesting items of note around the video conferencing world from June 2015 - Infocomm month!

  • VDO360 released a new product combining their camera with an Intel NUC. It's a logical advancement in the space. Read what David M had to say HERE about it.
  • Google's Chromebox for meetings got a refresh. What does this mean for enterprise communication? Nothing. I don't know if the $250 per year support is mandatory or not. Either way, I wouldn't bother with it since it's using Hangouts which is inferior to most dedicated software video conference products out there.
  • Pricing and release date for Microsoft's Surface Hub was announced. I saw it at Enterprise Connect and it rated a "meh". It's expensive. The only people that I've seen who are excited about it are its resellers.
  • David D had a great take on the Surface Hub HERE 
  • Here is David D's take on Infocomm 
  • Ira Weinstein with Wainhouse posted his thoughts on Infcomm HERE 
  • David M posted his take on the show HERE and HERE
  • Polycom's stock took a dive in the last part of June. More details at this link.
  • Below is an interesting podcast with Cisco's Rowan Trollope. The podcast is called "This Week in Startups" which I find interesting that he would be on. I know that Cisco likes to BUY startups but they are most certainly not one themselves so that's why I thought it was odd. Anyway, after listening to the it, I have a better appreciation for Rowan and what he's trying to do. He does use the word "I" quite a bit and it makes me wonder how much influence he has on product creation. Personally, I've never been a believer in taking credit for work not personally done by myself. Now if he actually did do this stuff, well, that's cool.

Unfortunately, I didn't make it to Infocomm this year. By the time I found out that we weren't going to be exhibitors it was too costly to book the flight and hotel. From the blogs that I read, it didn't sound like I missed much. There were many rants about lack of revolutionary technologies. I'll cover the reasons behind that in a future blog.

What's in store for July?
Thanks for reading

June 23, 2015

Polycom Downgraded

Shares of Polycom (NASDAQ:PLCM) were down 9.6% as of 11:15 a.m. Monday after William Blair analyst Jason Ader downgraded the stock from "market perform" to "underperform." 

The interesting part of the article is this:

Ader also expressed longer-term concerns for Polycom's relationship with Microsoft, as the tech giant launched its own videoconferencing solution earlier this year dubbed Microsoft Surface Hub.

The Surface Hub is nothing like any product Polycom currently sells, and that's a good thing for Polycom. I don't see the Hub cutting into anyone's business in this space until the product gets refined. That may take a while.

Continue Reading

June 22, 2015

Zagg Keyboard Cover for iPad Air Review

I don't normally start a product review the minute I get something in my hands, but since it's a keyboard connected to my iPad, what better way to review it than on the fly while using it? Armed with a birthday gift card from Amazon, I went in search of the "best keyboard cover for iPad Air under $50" - because I am cheap. So read on for the details behind my choice.