Date Archives January 2012

Polycom Introduces RealPresence Cloud

Polycom recently announced the arrival of its RealPresence Cloud, an exciting offering that allows businesses to save on the cost of network infrastructure while still reaping the benefits of video conferencing.

The solution is designed to deliver video as a service (VaaS) for small- and medium-sized businesses. RealPresence Cloud enables multipoint connections among standards-based video conferencing rooms, as well as desktop PCs, tablets and smart phones and endpoints supporting the Telepresence Interoperability Protocol (TIP). It also supports Microsoft Lync 2010 and IBM Sametime.

Through the RealPresence Cloud, service providers will have the infrastructure, endpoints and services to deliver scalable VaaS to businesses of all sizes. According to the RealPresence Cloud FAQ sheet on the Polycom website, the offering is currently available to a limited number of qualified service providers for initial evaluation and testing.

Contact AVI-SPL to learn how we can implement managed services offerings that help you easily communicate throughout your enterprise. Email us at sales@avispl.com or call 1-800-282-6733.

AVI-SPL Launches Collaboration Expo for 2012

AVI-SPL’s Collaboration Expo will make stops in six cities across the U.S. this year, showcasing communications solutions that today’s businesses need in order to compete in a global economy with a  mobile workforce. The leading manufacturers of video conferencing, unified communications and digital media solutions will be on hand to demonstrate their products and provide educational seminars in the technologies that are re-shaping the business communication landscape. This FREE event will land in the following cities throughout the U.S.

  • Dallas, TX – April 18
  • Washington D.C. – May 9
  • Chicago, IL – September 13
  • New York City, NY – September 25
  • Tampa, FL – October 18
  • Long Beach, CA – October 30

Each full-day conference is your opportunity to see how these systems work, so you can make an informed decision on the audio visual investments that will help your company compete and operate efficiently.

Each event begins with a keynote presentation on the value of video, voice and data convergence, and why the combination makes sense for your organization. In addition to networking with other professionals and visiting the exhibits, you can attend product demos and informative seminars that increase your savvy about the technologies that lead to operational efficiencies, save you money and drive growth.

Andrew W. Davis, cofounder of Wainhouse Research, will be the keynote speaker at a number of the Expo events. Wainhouse Research is a boutique analyst firm that concentrates on collaboration products and services, including audio, video, and web conferencing and unified communications.

Benefits of attending AVI-SPL’s Collaboration + Conference Expo 2012

  • Learn about the latest professional audio and video solutions and trends from leaders in the industry
  • See demonstrations of new audio and video technologies
  • Network with peers and industry professionals
  • Attend free informational seminars

If you have a question about any of our upcoming events, email us at events@avispl.com.

FETC, iPads and Apps!

So much to learn at the Florida Education Technology Conference held in Orlando this past week! Many of the sessions showcased the iPad as the learning tool of choice for our students. However, there is so much more to using an iPad than meets the eye. Students love them, of course, which can be a double-edged sword!  There are the initial deployment issues, managing the hardware, curriculum integration, best practices for effective instruction, and much more involved in an iPad education initiative. We all know iPads are awesome, but how do teachers and schools use them for real student achievement?

Fortunately I was able to attend a session, “Using iPads for Online Learning,” presented by Jenna Linskens, assistant professor in the school of education, Marian University, Wisconsin. This was a BYOD session, or Bring Your Own Device. As she discussed the different categories of apps for education, I stopped taking notes and started downloading each one in rapid succession! Below are a few apps to download and try – most are free!

  • CourseSmart  e-textbooks
  • Inkling –Language Arts
  • Plizy – view videos from specific channels
  • Popplet – create graphic organizers
  • Teamviewer – computer remote control
  • Paperport notes – create, edit and annotate

And those are just a few of the apps for education available today; there are literally thousands of them to choose from!

AVI-SPL Acquires Iformata Communications LLC

Leading audio video communications provider AVI-SPL announced today the acquisition of Iformata Communications LLC, a leading provider of video managed services. This acquisition includes the Iformata Video Network Operations Center (VNOC) business and the VNOC Symphony® management platform. AVI-SPL views this acquisition as a critical move in the company’s continuing drive to become the dominant player in the video communications solutions and services space.

“In 2009 we set forth on an initiative to grow our video communications business. In 2011 we succeeded in growing video related revenue to over $200 million and video is now included in over 50 percent of the projects we do,” said AVI-SPL CEO John Zettel. “With that growth, we recognized the importance of expanding our capabilities in the video services we provide our customers. Acquiring Iformata shows our commitment to expanding our video communications strategy with a strong managed services offering.” Click here to view Zettel’s video announcement of the acquisition.

“This acquisition is a major win for both AVI-SPL and Iformata,” reports Ira M. Weinstein, senior analyst and partner at Wainhouse Research. “This combines AVI-SPL’s strong A/V integration experience and 150+ strong, video-savvy, field sales force with Iformata’s robust, multi-tenant Symphony videoconferencing management system.

“The result is an immediately available, mature service offering from a well-known and trusted technology partner. Hosted video managed service offerings, like AVI-SPL’s Unify ME™, play a key role in helping enterprise organizations maximize the benefits they receive from their collaboration investments.”

Founded in 2004, Iformata has built a reputation as the leading innovator of VNOC tools and end-to-end automation services through its VNOC Symphony platform. Providing managed conferencing services to global enterprise firms, equipment manufacturers, and top-tier carriers and networks, Iformata’s 450 claim patent portfolio and platform has features for every aspect of managing an enterprise’s fleet of video systems, including call setup, intelligent framing, automated monitoring, event correlation, and call tear down – even for disparate immersive telepresence systems.

The addition of the Iformata VNOC service bureau, associated services and innovative technologies to AVI-SPL’s current Unify ME offering provides a more robust total managed services solution to customers. The enhanced services brought by Iformata is a strong addition to AVI-SPL’s portfolio, which currently includes cloud-based services, remote services and onsite services with long and short term Strategic Onsite Solutions and professional services.

“With the acquisition of Iformata, we become one of the only video solutions providers who can truly provide every aspect of the video communications experience.” said Mike Brandofino, AVI-SPL executive vice president of video and unified communications. “We think it is critical to be at the point of sale when selling services and the fact that we design, build and now provide VNOC managed services across any video platform, clearly differentiates us from anyone else in the space.”

The new operations and the associated employees will join AVI-SPL’s Support Services group under the leadership of AVI-SPL’s Executive Vice President of Video and Unified Communications Mike Brandofino.

For additional information, please contact UnifyME@avispl.com.

Learning in 3D

3D technology has come a long way since the days of those cardboard specs moviegoers wore to cinemas in the 1950s . Today we’ve been witnessing the rise of 3D from a novelty to a staple of movie theaters and home entertainment.

Only recently has this technology moved into our classrooms.   The number of brand manufacturers of 3D projectors has increased significantly, making the technology more available to K-12 classrooms.  Although not yet widely used, there are a few pioneering school districts implementing 3D.  I was curious to find out if 3D in the classroom improves learning gains and what educators have to say about it.

Boulder Valley School District in Colorado has integrated 3D in four of its schools. From an article in THE Journal, Nov/Dec 2011 issue, titled: “Taking Learning to a New Dimension,” thoughts on the effects of 3D in STEM education come from science teacher Kristin Donley, who says , “I teach mostly biology and chemistry, and a lot of that information is hard to visualize, so 3D really helped them see in much more detail what I was trying to teach them.”  She goes on to say, “As they would do an essay question about molecular processes, for example, they were able to recall details much better from a 3D versus a 2D and were able to put those details in an essay.”  

3D seems to go beyond the “wow” factor and encourages a deeper level of thought processes. Donley’s students, for example were able to demonstrate a higher level of understanding, and the use of higher order thinking skills. Anecdotal evidence points to what could be called the “Toddler Effect.”  Have you ever seen a very young child deeply immersed in play?  Students are deeply engaged in a 3D lesson as they want to know more about what they are seeing, which leads to much deeper understanding. 

Sounds like some of the early adopters of 3D are seeing tremendous benefits for their students.  I can’t wait to see more classrooms coming alive in 3D!