Category Unified Communications

Key Points to Know Before Purchasing a Video Conferencing System

“The proper design and integration of a video conferencing (VTC) system requires time, coordination and communication upfront,” notes Fred Grob, design engineer (CTS-D) for AVI-SPL. “Aside from the technology, there are many other parts to the puzzle. It’s important that collaboration takes place between the AV system designer, interior designer and architect on several key points.”

These key points include:

  • Ceiling type and height. There are many reasons that these factors are a primary concern, as they effect: speaker type, possible sound wave reflections problems, VTC light fixtures and placement. These are crucial factors in ensuring the quality of viewed images.
  • Upholstery and lighting. A qualified and experienced AV system designer will be able to communicate with the interior designer and help choose upholstery patterns that the camera can easily pick-up and transmit, or choosing paint colors and scheme that complement the lighting. Recommendations need to be made regarding wall fabrics and decoration, as this will have a very positive or negative effect on the acoustics of the room.
  • Furniture. Aside from the electronics that make up the VTC system, another huge cost is the table. This can often be the most expensive single item in the room. The layout of the table, display(s), and camera(s) has to be such that every participant has an unobstructed site line with the display(s) and camera(s).
  • Microphone positioning. Another factor to discuss regarding the table is microphones and location. For example, is it feasible to have them cut into the table? Or, are ceiling microphones that automatically drop down from the ceiling more appropriate and functional?
  • Ambient noise. This is another important consideration in the room. The biggest culprit of noise pollution is most often the HVAC system. In this case, the AV system designer will need to work with the MEP engineer to help create a quiet HVAC system.

Click here to learn more about videoconferencing. »

Avoid the 3 common pitfalls of expanding your video conference setup beyond the boardroom.

Could Google’s Latest Move Spell Trouble for the Unified Communications Market?

Over the last few years, the battle for the desktop has been intensifying between some of the biggest technology names in the world. It wouldn’t surprise folks to see Microsoft, IBM and Cisco all pitching to convince companies to use their platform and suite of applications across an enterprise.

However, just as the line has blurred between work and play, the traditional “enterprise” players are seeing new entrants join the fray. Frost and Sullivan’s recent article on Google’s acquisition and development of a Unified Communications (UC) and Collaboration suite reveals the heightened interest of traditional consumer-based players, as they try to penetrate the workplace as well. They do have a ways to go to before they can compete with the established, feature-rich solutions provided by the traditional players. However, the brand recognition and “cloud”-based approach Google will most likely take with its UC offerings could enable them to make inroads into the corporate world.

Here at AVI-SPL, we take a neutral approach to technology solutions. We help our customers deploy and leverage UC tools and applications, and are focused on solutions that best fit their requirements and budget. We do not see Google UC gaining a large market share in the enterprise in the near future. In the next few years, however, we expect that Google will be considered a viable option for corporations on a wider scale.

The above is written by Michael Brandofino, executive vice president of VTC and UC, AVI-SPL.

As momentum on this story grows, we’d like to hear from you too. Does Google have what it takes to become a strong contender in such a tightly-established market?

Polycom, Microsoft to integrate Unified Communications offerings

Polycom and Microsoft have announced a channel partnership to increase Microsoft’s Unified Communications (UC) offerings. As a part of the multi-year global agreement, Polycom will develop and provide integrated end-to-end UC solutions, including room-based video systems, for Microsoft’s clients. Under this partnership, Polycom becomes a member of Microsoft’s key strategic global alliance.

AVI-SPL Director of Video and UC Project Management John Vitale shared his thoughts about the partnership: “I think this is a good step for both Microsoft and Polycom to take and help accelerate the adoption of Unified Communications. In the past, video has always been the ‘leave it for later’ feature of UC due to its challenges with mass scale deployment in an enterprise. Polycom and Microsoft teaming up to help solve these issues can only help the situation. I’m looking forward to the fruit this partnership will bear.”

For more information about the agreement, click here to read the announcement and watch a brief video featuring Microsoft Corporate Vice President of UC Products and Polycom President and CEO.

VGo Teleconferencing Robot Steals the Show at InfoComm

Our AVI-SPL booth was a hot destination last week at InfoComm. Tons of people stopped by to learn more about our products and services, but some got a little sidetracked on the way to our booth.

The VGo teleconferencing robot steals the show at InfoComm 2010

We blame VGo.

VGo is a four-foot tall teleconferencing breakthrough on wheels. We featured the robot at our booth and it simply stole the show.

The VGo offers two-way video and audio. The user can also control the robot’s movements remotely. Imagine not only being able to see and communicate with others in a teleconference, but also freely moving about the room. With VGo, it’s like you’re actually there.

We expect VGo will revolutionize teleconferencing for small and large business, as well as health care. Just picture a doctor checking on patients remotely, or a manager walking the factory line from the airport.

With VGo, you can truly be two places at once.

Call (866) 559-8197 for more information.

Lessons in UC From the Classroom

Unified Communications (UC) tools are moving out of the board room and into the realm of higher education. In a great post on the UC Strategies blog, Blair Pleasant discusses a variety of areas that universities could use UC to streamline communications between faculty, staff, students, and others.

All UC vendors today are trying to find ways to differentiate themselves from one another and to stand out from the crowd. I generally recommend that they focus on professional services and/or applications, especially vertical applications. One vendor that has been successfully building UC applications and solutions based on its vertical expertise is NEC, which is working with its partners to understand the business challenges and business processes in the areas of health care, hospitality, higher education, and government.

For the full text of the blog post, click here.

For more information about UC products and services from AVI-SPL, click here.