Tag Archives: Immersive Telepresence

video conferencing Connect Two Boardroom 2_edited

The Elephant in the Video Conferencing Room

The fundamental challenge of running enterprise-wide video conferencing (VC) is keeping users happy. Happy users feel empowered, not foolish when confronted with the challenge of setting up or running a VC meeting. If you keep users happy you have most likely cut support costs while increasing utilisation – both metrics critical to any AV service manager come review time.

However for some inexplicable reason the VC industry as a whole has done a very poor job of keeping users happy. Regardless of what the respective vendor marketing departments say, most VC users consider the experience to be at best annoying, at worst completely off-putting. Integrators try to put lipstick on the vendor-grown pig, but inevitably only add cost and introduce unneeded complexity.

The Benefits Of Wide Area Networking Using Cisco Technology

Cisco Nexus Switches (5010 and 2248)

Cisco Nexus Switches (5010 and 2248) (Photo credit: pchow98)

Long before the internet became the phenomenon that it is today, Cisco was providing networking solutions, so efficiently that it has become the world leader in computer, IT and communications networking. In fact, the company has become a household name, recognised even by people who haven’t a clue what Cisco does. This is why, to those who are in the know, Cisco technologies are the perfect choice when planning Wide Area Networking (WAN) solutions for anyone from home users to corporations operating around the globe.

Cisco Offers Bespoke Solutions

One of the most appealing advantages of using Cisco Technologies for WAN is the company’s flexibility to tailor its networking products and solutions to customers’ specific needs, meaning no prospective customer is only offered the choice from a range of off-the-shelf options. This also offers the scope for growth and future updates without installing a complete new system.

Connecting Through Switching

Wide Area Networking using Cisco Technology is where the company comes into its own. While many other providers have moved into the smaller Local Area Network and Personal Area Network markets, Cisco have undoubtedly looked at the big picture for the future and provide a service that is used and trusted across the globe. From a base or local station, information sent to a remote geographical location must travel via one or more WAN links, connected through switches that are dedicated to sending the information. A computer in London, for instance, would communicate through a router to a WAN that then sends the data to a router in, say, Munich, Montreal or Mumbai. Three different technologies, cell switching packet switching and circuit switching, are used, each with its own advantages, disadvantages and optimum uses.

Benefit From Unbeatable Flexibility

At the heart of all of the company’s products and solutions is the Cisco Internetwork Operating System, or Cisco IOS. The IOS brings together diverse and different systems and devices to integrate varied protocols into a cohesive whole system. The integration of all components of the network increases security, as well as speed and quality of communication. With these solutions available, network designers can work more freely and flexibly, delivering solutions to their customers in a smooth process.

Modern Communication with Cisco TelePresence

Cisco TelePresence

Cisco TelePresence (Photo credit: dolanh)

Using high-end video conferencing technology Cisco was among the first organisations to produce TelePresence infrastructure and endpoints alike. With the Immersive TelePresence suites they have reached a milestone that was unparalleled until now allowing important meetings to be carried out with participants from around the world with the same effectiveness as if they were all in the same room.

Cisco Technology Is Future-Proof

One reason that Cisco technologies lead the world is that the company has never stood still. It has acknowledged advances in technologies in networking and connectivity, which means that the company is trusted by a wide pool of users. Consumers and network specialists look to Cisco for future developments. Cloud technology is the latest development to have captured the imagination, but it will not be the panacea it is predicted to be without the nuts and bolts of everyday use. Whatever comes out of the cloud in the future, integrating WAN with Cisco technologies gives its users optimum usage out of their broadband and network to do their own jobs with the maximum of efficiency, while Cisco runs the system unobtrusively under the bonnet.

Video Conference Services for Banks of the Future

How Video Conference Services can create additional value for banks of the future.

The Banking Sector and the whole financial industry have been subject to considerable change within the last couple of years. The fast development of the Internet and the growing acceptance of Internet users for online banking, entail great chances as well as great risks. Deutsche Bank AG Co-CEO Jürgen Fitschen has expressed his concerns about possible competition from big Internet companies such as Google or Microsoft, who have detailed knowledge about their customers’ preferences, which they could use for financial services.

Also video conference services play an ever growing role in the banking sector and add positively to change and modernization of business processes. Especially investment banks make use of video conference services in order to globally exchange real time information about markets, shares, currencies and other relevant information.

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“Deutsche Bank Skyscrapers in Frankfurt, Germany” by Thomas Wolf (www.foto-tw.de)

Up to now video conference services have been used seldom in areas such as Private Wealth Management, although those could potentially have an important impact on changing banking products and offers. Many banks keep themselves busy with designing concepts for bank branches of the future, in which video conference services certainly will be one of the components.

If you take a closer look at the traditional banking concept for private customers throughout Germany (provident banks, cooperative banks, Deutsche Bank, Postbank, Commerzbank and many more) you will not find a lot of creative approaches for change: During normal office hours customers get detailed advice about accounts and construction loans, leaving almost no time for individual advice.

Video conference services could leave more design scope to banks, thus helping them to offer better, faster and more tailored advice to their customers.

Improving Internal Communication

Using modern video conference services enables banks to equally inform all employees at all locations about current developments at the financial market, political changes or new products of the bank and their business partners. A big advantage compared to ordinary media channels (e-mail, intranet, video streaming, etc.) is the personal contact, which allows for further inquiries and therewith promotes a higher level of knowledge. Furthermore participation numbers are transparent.

Remote Experts Advice via Video Conference

In many cases customers confront their bank advisers with very complicated questions. The worst case is that the adviser will give the customer bad advice or has to start a lengthy inquiry within the bank to get the necessary information from an internal expert. Either way is not very customer friendly. A smart solution here would be to patch in the expert via video conference. This concept could also save travel costs where experts are shattered across the whole country and it additionally could accelerate decision processes concerning sales and distribution deals.

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This lady can talk to the right expert, thanks to video conferencing services.

Customer Advice via Video Conference

Modern video conference services can also be used to advice customers via video conference. Many video conference services permit taking part in a video conference via desktop PC, Mac or also with Tablet or Smartphone as mobile service. In the future bank advisers can effortlessly communicate with their customers via video conference. This still might sound like a vision to banks, but it should not be forgotten that the coming generation has been exposed to video conference services such as Skype since their early childhood and does not have any reservations against this communication medium. Banks certainly will have to look into this new consumer behaviour.

Consequently video conferences and modern video conference services have great potential for innovative financial services and banks. Putting technology to use in a smart way can be the decisive competitive edge for banks in creating an ideal environment for individual and superior advice also in the future.

Have you ever been using service like these or is your organisation having similar approaches? Let us know of your experiences and drop us an comment below!

Telepresence Advantages and Updates

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Photo: Wikipedia

Within the fast paced online world it’s hard establishing an intimate human connection with clients, employees, patients and customers. Businesses need the best communication tools whether maintaining fast and efficient phone lines to reach customers or working with an employee over video conference.

Countless companies, schools, and hospitals are dedicated to providing telepresence. You need a strong, capable, and expansive business class internet provider to handle the telepresence abilities. Investing in telepresence tools improves your company’s image and flexibility in the work environment.

Network Security

Discovering the most reliable corporate VoIP can prove essential for companies’ telepresence. The right internet service offers the correct data solutions to handle your business’ phone and internet needs all over one secured network. Plus, you’re telepresence will run smoothly whether in a video conference business meeting or if a boss pops in for updates on the workload. Finding a business class internet provider who customizes their service to your business at affordable rates will assist communication substantially.

Network security is important when it comes to increasing your business’ telepresence. Employees should be able to connect to a secured and private network where pertinent and confidential information is easily shared. When the network experiences lapses in security, it threatens your company’s communication skills and flexibility. The right corporate VoIP for a company establishes a strong foundation for communication and network security.

Video Conferencing

Twenty years ago who would have thought that business transactions, meetings, or even interviews could be arranged and handled over video conference on computers. The communication options continue to astound me as an employee and professional.

Why waste the time and money to travel to a job interview? Video conference saves money on both ends. But in order to conduct interviews, companies need strong network connections. Corporate VoIP is necessary for many companies to reach employees or clients over video conference. Video over IP connects two groups instantly over a clear video feed that’s more human and intimate than a phone call and it saves the time of an in person interview. If the network connection isn’t great, then that will reflect badly on the employer. A company’s inability for such communication shows that they’re behind the learning curve of technology and communication.

The best companies are willing to communicate via video conference. My video conference experiences that include countless staff meetings, interviews, and orientations have all been pleasant and reflective of my employers’ flexibility and ability to communicate.

Telepresence Robots

The telepresence field is taken to greater heights through the use of telepresence robots. These robots can be implemented for employees who work from home and still need to have an office presence. Companies use these robots to communicate with and monitor employees while out of the office, but now they are used at greater lengths in different fields.

Doctors utilize telepresence robots to interact with countless patients in hospitals or anywhere. It allows for quick communication and consultation. It improves a doctor’s ability to see more patients.

Educational systems provide funding for these robots for students who can’t be physically present in schools due to ongoing medical issues. The extent of telepresence technology is astounding.

Deutsche Telekom discontinues VideoMeet

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Source: Wikipedia

The cloud video conferencing solution VideoMeet by Deutsche Telekom in corporation with Blue Jeans Network is now confirmed to be discontinued by end of the year. The decision was first published by the German  expert magazine “Telecom Handel” in an online article yesterday by Waltraud Ritzer.

What is VideoMeet?

The solution was designed to bring different types of video conferencing devices and software clients together with Blue Jeans cloud technology. The VideoMeet solution was first introduced in June 2011 and has seen strong marketing campaigns. In addition to the virtual MCU and the interop between systems of many different vendors, Blue Jeans technology was first to natively bridge Skype participants into professional video conferences. In 2012 more compatibility features were announces such as the integration into Microsoft Lync or using the service directly out of the Browser with WebRTC.

What’s next?

Starting from January current users can switch to a new model by Deutsche Telekom, which is yet to be announced, or get the service directly from Blue Jeans. Spokesperson Marion Kessing says that unlike the cloud solution VideoMeet, Immersive Telepresence and other video conferencing options of Deutsche Telekom will be extended.

Next to the user base this also hits redistribution partners as they will have to find an alternative cloud video conferencing solution for their clients and integrate it into their service portfolio before January. Seeing the increasing demand for cloud video conferencing a complete removal of the service is unlikely.

Cloud video conferencing alternatives?

Users and redistributors alike might now be interested in alternatives such as examples that can be found on our recent cloud video conferencing solution comparison. In addition to that of course like always we would love to hear your opinion and the experiences you have made.

Desktop Video Conferencing – The largest Trend in Video Conferencing Business

Why are Desktop Video Conferences getting more and more popular?

The latest Forrester Report proofs again the importance of video conferencing and the continuous increase of desktop video conference solutions, integrated video conferencing rooms and immersive telepresence installations in organisations. The majority of the 1,000 participating companies stated that they are looking to implement desktop video conferencing solutions very soon. More than 40% of these organisations said also they are planning to introduce HD video conferencing and 25% are going to install immersive telepresence rooms solutions.

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This means…

There is an especially strong trend towards software video conferencing solutions, that can be used with already existing hardware such as PCs, Notebooks, Tablets and Smartphones. This is an important reason for the spreading of this kind of video communication technology in organisations but the main arguments for this are the reduced costs for installation and maintenance in comparison with HD video conferencing systems or immersive telepresence rooms.

Who’s new in the game?

The report provides a good overview around the current situation of the communication market and the manufacturing companies. The result is that next to big players such as for instance Cisco, Polycom and LifeSize, who are providing a wide range of video conferencing and unified communications solutions, several new companies are emerging, who provide software solutions. Two of the most important features of these new companies are a strong product focus and tailoring the technology to suit the clients. The report names some of the new actors in the game to be Vidyo, Huawei and Teliris.

Summary

Forrester shows clearly that many organisations are considering video conferencing as a strategic advantage and that the technology is placed in their long term planning for corporate communication.

The difference between Video Conference, Telepresence and Immersive Telepresence

Have you been wondering what all this is about?

There has been a lot of change in terminology in the video conferencing / telepresence business. New technologies were introduced and legacy technology was still kept and is still being developed. In this article I would like to explain my point of view even though usually every organisation uses different terms.

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Video Conference

Video Conference (or sometimes written videoconference) is the most common term for video communication. It replaced the term “videotelephony” which was somewhat redundant, even though we will meet the “tele” segment again. A video conference is the form of any communication using image and audio of two or more locations, exchanging data in real-time and in all directions at the same time. Private video conferencing solutions such as Skype also find their home in this category but are not industry standard.

Telepresence

Telepresence is the “new term” for video conferencing. However most people would agree that the term telepresence includes only high-end codecs that support high bandwidth and provide HD resolutions. To be exact even we can break down the term into the two segments “tele” and “presence” so we are talking about being present in a remote location. And even though it is not really related to video conferencing entirely this also include the robotic telepresence or telerobotics.

Immersive Telepresence

If telepresence systems are set up in a concept to provide a high degree of immersion  those solutions are called immersive telepresence. The degree of immersion defines how much the users  feel like the remote site is actually sitting at the other end of the table in their room even though they might be continents apart. In order to provide this a very complex rule set has to be followed on the design of all participating rooms. If only one of the “illusions” are broken it will not be immersive any longer.


Opinion of the People

In reaction to this article becoming very popular with people looking for a comparison of telepresence terms we have started a poll to find out what the most preferred term is. Vote and check the results here.


Introduction Video of the Cisco TX9000 Immersive Telepresence Solution

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H.265 – New video codec using half the bandwidth coming soon

How does H.265 work? When will H.265 come?

The news of a new codec coming has been going around for the last weeks now. But what does it really mean and how will it change the business?  Well let’s start at where this is coming from and how the history of H.265 actually looks like at the table below.

Release ITU ID MPEG Label ISO Number
 1988  H.261  MPEG-1 Video  11172-2
 1994  H.262  MPEG-2 Video  13818-2
 1996  H.263  MPEG-4 Part 2 ASP  14496-2
 2003  H.264  MPEG-4 Part 10 AVC  14496-10

Throughout the development of these codecs it was always the target to keep the quality of a video signal and to reduce their data size by applying intelligent algorithms. The complexity of these algorithms has increased and H.265 will have the most complex rules of codecs developed so far.

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Source: Wikinoticia.com

What is the main benefit of H.265?

H.265 will provide equal H.264 video quality but will reduce the required bandwidth for video conferencing or immersive telepresence by around 50% (more or less – depending on content in the video signal). This means that there could be twice as much video conferences going on simultaneously in a corporate network at the same quality. For all those who have been limited to a low bandwidth for video conferencing so far it can also mean that you can finally migrate to use HD video resolution and audio as clear as it has been never before.

When is H.265 coming?

There are no clear dates written in stone but so far H.265 is expected to be build into devices in 2013 and is expected to be a new standard in 2014.

What needs to be done to be ready for H.265?

More complex codecs usually require more computing power than the ones that were used previously. So in order to deliver the same quality at less data bandwidth it is very likely that also new hardware will be needed to use H.265. As for now the major video conferencing system producers have not announced a new series of H.265 endpoints but we will keep you posted.


Snorre Kjesbu and Thomas Wyatt of Cisco demonstrate H.265 at the Cisco Collaboration Summit

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZP75PEQo6E]

Video Conference Meeting Etiquette and Guideline

Joining a video conference for the first time?

We all love our quick 1-on-1 video conference calls from the desk with information provided just in time, but if you are participating in a scheduled meeting with the goals to exchange information quickly and progress to a common goal in an effective and mature manner you should consider some of the following guidelines.

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Better not eat nor drink during a video conference

Everyone is busy nowadays and wants to invest time as efficient as possible, however consuming your lunch during a video conference might not be the best idea due to low aesthetics as well as the fact that the microphone will most likely amplify all the sounds that you would rather not want others to hear. This is especially the case for participants joining with a headset. Telepresence restaurants such as Fleming’s the Steakhouse in the United States or Haidilao the Hotpot restaurant chain in China are of course an exception but to avoid drooling, all sites should be in such a venue.

Introduce everyone

After all participants have joined the host should introduce any individuals that might be not acquainted with everyone yet. This prevents participants from being confused about people they might have exchanged emails with but have never seen face-to-face.

Remain within camera view

Before you are joining your video conference you should check if the camera is set up properly and if not adjust it to fit. You should not see feet under a table nor should you have too much headroom above the individuals. If others are joining your room as well you should zoom out and re-adjust to make sure everyone is seen clearly – after all this is the purpose of having a video conference.

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Mute yourself if you are not speaking for long periods

If your meeting is set up in a structured way and follows an agenda you don’t need to have your microphone active all the time. If you mute it while nobody in your room is talking you are reducing unwanted noise such as the air-con, someone sorting their documents and similar sources of disturbance. You can keep your remote control near in case you want to quickly say something but in general you will notice a more clear communication experience if everyone who is not talking, has their microphone muted. Even though your room is on mute, you should not talk with other participants within your room even if it is just a quick comment. This will most likely distract the speaker and add confusion to the communication flow.

Talk slowly and anticipatory

Video conference and immersive Telepresence technology is at a very mature state, however it can still happen that someone finishes his sentence but have not yet finished his speech. So talk calm and wait for the speaker to finish and don’t talk over each other. If you happen to have talked someone over, quickly apologise and ask the speaker to carry on in order to continue the conversation in a structured way.

<Your advice here>

If you have a great advice for participating in or hosting a video conference, let us know in the comment box below. We are looking forward to hear your great ideas!


 

 Video: Top 10 Video Conference Bloopers by Karen Boosalis

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfu4ZO91zk0]

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