January 17, 2017

Zoom Raises $100 million

Read the article HERE

While many people are tripping over themselves heaping congratulations on the folks at Zoom it makes me wonder instead.

I still question the economic viability of software codecs. Sure, in my opinion Zoom is the best soft codec I use, but many people are just fine with free services like Skype even though the video and audio experience can be poor. Zoom is clearly a class or five above the free services that are available, but taking in $100 million? A few questions come to mind.

What is the cost of customer acquisition? I can't imagine the sales cycle being too long, especially compared to traditional hardware.

How sustainable is $14.99-19.99 per user?

If everything was going well and money was flowing, why take on such a huge round? That's the heart of the matter. Here is the best software video conferencing product available (in my opinion of course) and they're giving away more equity.

I hope it works out and they continue to succeed.

Everything is a Fad

In the tech industry, everything ends up becoming a fad.

From Wikipedia:
fad or trend or craze is any form of collective behavior that develops within a culture, a generation or social group and which impulse is followed enthusiastically by a group of people for a finite period of time.

We're constantly thinking, writing, pontificating on how this method or that of communication is dead to the point that everything may as well be considered a fad. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.

We should embrace that any piece of technology, communication related or not, is fleeting and call things what they are. Remember the PocketPC and their gray scale counterpart the Palm Pilot?
Remember small cellular phones with extremely long battery lives? Tablet PCs? QR codes?

All useful things that served a purpose at one time.

Choose something in the tech world today that's hot. It will eventually run its course. I'll call one out right now and that's talking to some small, internet connected device in your home, office or conference room. Being an Apple user, I have three devices that I use constantly that have Siri. The only time it's ever been remotely helpful is when I needed to make a call on my iPhone when I was driving. Daily use of Siri, when my hands are free, won't happen. At least without a long, long education curve on my part. I don't imagine that I'm in some extreme minority here.

Imagine the glorious open space floor plan that Silicon Valley seems to adore. A room full of coders with their earbuds in clicking away is pretty quiet. Now imagine them coding by voice command. You can't have an open floor plan with 100 people all talking to their AI device at the same time to order their lunches.

Fads make money, there's not denying it. There's also no problem in products that are fleeting in nature as long as when it goes away you're not stuck with a useless brick. I can still power up my old PocketPC from 2003 and use it like it was new. Unlike Meerkat.

January 10, 2017

What's not dead today - the desk phone

After reading a comment HERE that the desk phone is dead, it made me wonder...

My doctor has desk phones.
My vet has desk phones.
My dentist has desk phones.
My attorney has desk phones.

"Oh My God (Becky)" does that mean they have other technologies that should be dead and therefore I am at risk somehow? Of course not, let's not get stupid and/or carried away.

We really need to get out of our collective bubbles and stop calling things dead because we either:

  • Don't sell that type of product
  • Sell a competing product
  • Don't understand that not everyone communicates the way YOU want them to


January 09, 2017

Generic Predictions for next year

With every January comes a set of predictions for the upcoming year as well as a "how did I do last year with my prediction" wrap up. Predictions are usually safe in nature so they aren't really valuable for more than just getting a blog out (my case for doing it). Here is a crop of typical things that will happen in any given year so in 12 months I can look back and make myself feel smart.
  1. A company will have massive layoff and call it a restructuring or something similar.
  2. A company will shut its doors.
  3. A company or five will get acquired.
  4. A company will change senior management.
  5. A company will release a new product that will be the best ever according to the marketing department of that company.
  6. A new startup will unveil consisting of former employees from a well known company.
  7. Something will be released that will be called a "game changer".
  8. Something will be released that's higher resolution than last time.
  9. Someone will say "this is the year for video" followed by exclamation points.
  10. Someone will call a certain technology "dead". This will happen 4-14 times over the course of the year with several random things being called out as the item to be dead.
/s

Bryan

EDIT
1-10-17 Desk phone called dead HERE 1st instance of DEAD #10
1-12-17 Hardware endpoint is dying HERE 2nd instance of DEAD #10
1-13-17 PGi to acquire Ready Talk HERE 1st instance of acquisitions #3
1-16-17 AVI-SPL acquires VideoLink HERE 2nd instance of acquisitions #3
1-22-17 Blue Jeans CMO uses "game changer" remark for a new technology. #7 complete


January 02, 2017

ezTalks Onion: all-in-one videoconferencing is under-baked

Here's an article on yet another set top video conferencing system. The main problem is that you're buying hardware at $1,300, using a proprietary cloud service and if that service goes away, you have an expensive brick. Bryan

***

I had a chance to get an early version (really early, as there is still some rough edges to be worked out) of the ezTalks Onion. The device (I don’t know why they call it the Onion – it doesn’t look like one particularly) is an all-in-one videoconferencing device (camera, microphones, speakers) that sits on top of an HDMI-enabled TV or monitor to provide conference room video and audio. Network connectivity is handled through an Ethernet port or, if you’re brave, Wi-Fi. The Hong Kong-based company had a successful Indiegogo funding campaign for the device, and is now ready to expand its offerings to the general public.

Read more HERE

December 27, 2016

Cisco Spark Micro Review

So I'm trying Spark. Here's how it goes. I plan to test it between two separate accounts.

December 09, 2016

TOZO iPhone 6s Plus cover review

Or: How to make it seem like you got a new phone.

I would rather not have a case for my iPhone, but it's way too slick. Typically, I don't drop phones, but I don't need them trying to help by being really slick. Enter the "worlds thinnest iPhone case".

December 08, 2016

BroadSoft Announces One-Click Video Conference Room Experience

GAITHERSBURG, Md., Dec. 06, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- BroadSoft, Inc. (NASDAQ:BSFT), a global unified communication software as a service (UCaaS) leader, today announced the commercial availability of BroadSoft UC-One® Conference Room – a one-click conference room system experience that enables businesses to easily and affordably connect existing conference rooms to any UC-One virtual conference.

Today’s conference room system experience is not only cost-prohibitive for most businesses, but complex to install and use. Meeting organizers and participants navigate TVs and video cameras that don’t work together properly, requiring different remote controls for each individual component. These legacy systems make it difficult to add remote participants or share content. It is no wonder that 47%1 of employees view meetings as the number one time-waster at the office.



BlueJeans Network unveils Huddle

BlueJeans Network unveils Huddle for simpler business video communications


On the list of frustrating office technologies, videoconferencing surely ranks near the top. BlueJeans Network Inc. aims to change that with a new service it’s announcing today.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based company’s service, called Huddle, is a cloud video system that BlueJeans promises will add easy videoconferencing to any room at a relatively low cost. Huddle’s software can work with standard gear that customers already have on hand: Windows personal computers, iPads or NUC mini-PCs from Intel Corp., cameras such as those from Logitech International S.A., and speakerphones. Technology retailer CDW Corp. also is expected to provide a package of hardware that works with Huddle.


November 23, 2016

Another bad advice article

Read it HERE


***

  • Keep your camera well positioned to avoid strange camera angles. Being too low or hooked into a different monitor can create distorted, distracting views.
  • Look into the camera when you’re speaking.  It’s easy to look at yourself on the screen, but you need to maintain eye contact with the camera.  Eye contact with the camera equals eye contact with your audience.

  • ***
    Number one: If your camera is well positioned there's no need to stare at it

    Number two: Looking at the camera is the worst advice that I continue to see being suggested. If you look at the camera, you render the whole point of video conferencing worthless. It's about seeing people. Put your camera in the right spot and look at the person you're talking to.

    Number three: Turn your self view off.