Disruptive at the InfoComm — My Top 10

Sure disruptive, it’s just about become my middle name. However, the industry is almost ready to re-name itself as a newly formed arena of disruption to go along with the standards like digital signage, control systems and more. But then again if I search hard next year, I’ll likely come up with disruptive technologies there too, where I know some do already exist. But it’s the first Top 10 blog and there will be more that will be included next year. Wait till next year to see disruptive behemoths (Microsoft, Google and ??), who will add to the disruptive game, as well as those vendors that continue to enter to the AV/IT space.

So here is my disruptive top 10 with solutions in video conferencing/unified communications and collaboration, cloud, virtualization, mobility/BYOD and a digital information sharing system along with furniture for a workgroup environment. Nine of the solutions providers are in alphabetical order and my surprise find comes at the end.

Acano

Part 4 of Disruptive Forces in AV/IT. Acano’s new Skype integration was demo’ed at its booth by one of its engineers (upon request only). Acano’s audio/video/data collaboration platform enables the 300 million Skype callers to reach people that use traditional video conferencing from companies like Cisco, and browser access technologies like WebRTC. Skype users can now add both individual addresses and virtual meeting room addresses to their contact list, see presence, and exchange IMs. They can talk with people using other technologies on PCs, video systems, tablets and smartphones. Acano software will include this capability later this summer, and video will be added when Microsoft itself adds video connectivity between Lync and Skype. Acano’s API capabilities were also on display. It was announced during InfoComm that Tata Communications, a company that has the world’s largest network footprint linking 240 countries with city-to-city connectivity, chose Acano as the technology provider for its unified communication platform jamvee. The Acano API is what has enabled Tata to change the brand while keeping the same extreme interoperability and features of the Acano platform. In addition to co-branding, the Acano API gives service providers the power to create unique products, like a monitoring service, and to customize offerings by tenant and even by individual.

Blue Jeans Network

Blue-Jeans-Logo-0614Part 1 of Disruptive Forces in AV/IT. As a cloud computing company, Blue Jeans Network is continually looking to leverage its extensive network footprint to provide solutions that are both useful as well as of the highest quality. Recently Blue Jeans Network answered users’ requests to provide a recording option to the service in a unique manner. Most recording solutions in the realm of video communications are done from the endpoint or device side. If the endpoint has a poor network connection, or has CPU/ increased memory issues, the recording quality can also suffer.  What’s interesting about the Blue Jeans Network recording solution is that it is done in a network based manner. By doing so, users recordings are always high quality, even with shaky endpoint connections, etc. This also addresses the issue of storage of these oftentimes large files. By using the company’s cloud service, Blue Jeans Network allows users to store their recordings securely, control distribution, download and play recordings back directly in their browser.

DisplayNote

displatenote-0614A neat solution that employs cloud and mobility/BYOD. DisplayNote is a software application that allows anybody with the free DisplayNote app (available for iOS, Android, Mac and PC) to connect to a presenter’s machine and have content streamed to them live. The instant content hits their screens, they own it. DisplayNote allows users to annotate, add text notes, share audio and messaging around the content being shared. This can be done on both a local network connection and via the cloud connecting route. DisplayNote will allow users to add to and instantly save their notes onto the content being shared live to them from the presenter’s computer. Presenters are able to manage their participants by pausing screens, allowing collaboration from selected devices, viewing screens and sharing audio and messaging back and forth. You can even poll your audience through DisplayNote. The software ensures that all connected users will leave with the core content from the presentation as well as their own notes and notes from any peers selected to collaborate.

FSR

fsr-huddlevu-0614When entering the booth, I came upon numerous solutions including an interesting furniture design solution. FSR manufactures a wide variety of signal management and infrastructure solutions for the audio / video, datacom, education, hospitality, government and religious markets. FSR’s latest high profile solution is the Huddle-Vu, a complete system for sharing digital information in a workgroup environment. What’s more, FSR has created a product called the Dugout, which seats up to 12 users who can share their information on one or two large monitor screens.  The dual height tables seat the users at two viewing levels to maximize space, reduce visual obstructions and provide seating comfort. The inner table boxes furnish AC power, device charging, AV connectivity and control while the outer table has AC power and device charging. There are a variety of table finishes available as well as upholstery styles to match existing décor. The units ship pre-assembled for ease of installation. FSR also rolled out new solutions including a new HDBaseT product line as well as a new enclosure box and cable retractors among others.

LifeSize 

A turn of events for LIfeSize as they go full force to the cloud adding on to their on-premise solutions. There is no question that “cloud” is a hot topic in the video collaboration space, but Lifesize Cloud has emerged as a truly innovative solution that is shaking up the industry in a big way along with the existing cloud solutions. Delivered as a software-as-a-service (SaaS), Lifesize Cloud is the perfect blend of software, hardware, service and UX that offers a new way to collaborate and connect employees. LifeSize Cloud is purpose-built for organizations for all sizes to implement a simple, scalable video conferencing solution with little to no need for IT involvement. Key features include a “connected device” experience with Icon room video systems, unlimited guest capability, shared internal company directory that pre-populates on every device, 25-way calls in HD video or audio for every user and virtual meeting, H.323 and SIP interoperability, as well as presence, seamless escalation from single to group calls, presentation sharing and click to call. A free 14-day, fully loaded trial can be found here.

See related  NEC Display Positions New Collaboration Suite for UCC and Education Markets

pexip-bandwidth-savings-0614Pexip

Part 2 of Disruptive Forces in AV/IT. Pexip showcased the new v6 of its Infinity scalable meeting platform. Pexip Infinity is a complete VC infrastructure based on a virtualized distributed software that claims to be industry leading in interoperability and flexibility. The new v6 adds management enhancements designed to comply with U.S. federal requirements. It also effectively makes a huge shift for the user experience, key to increasing adoption rates. Now Pexip also features the much desired presence status display for VMRs for any version of Microsoft Lync. Pexip also demonstrated future features of its platform, including universal browser support including Internet Explorer and Safari, as well as installable soft clients that can enable users without any video endpoints to quickly and easily access their VMRs from Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and even Linux operating systems. If you are trying to decide whether you should go for an on-premise or cloud solution when scaling and updating your unified communications solution going forward, Pexip showed a nice hybrid demo of its Infinity solution that can be deployed in your own data center, or in a private or public cloud. The demo at InfoComm included a three-node setup where one of the nodes was physically at its booth, whereas two nodes were on a Stratogen cloud, all showing one seamless conference with around 25 participants. This takes the guesswork out of how and where you deploy, as you are completely flexible with the virtualized solution.

kubi-0614Revolve Robotics

A different take on a booth presentation, part of my demo was handled virtually via Kubi as it included a remote presentation. KUBI, a portable videoconferencing device by Revolve Robotics was demonstrated at the Yamaha booth. The web-controlled robotic tablet mount enables remote participants to look around and interact from anywhere in the world for a face to face meeting. KUBI transforms a tablet from only being useful for one on one video chats into a useful small meeting room and ad hoc meeting solution. KUBI was demoed using a cloud video conferencing application on a Dell 11″ Windows 8.1 tablet that had a high quality USB speakerphone plugged in. Even on the noisy show floor, I was able to have a conversation with Revolve Robotics’ rep that wasn’t at the show — he was back in his office in Virginia. Other USB peripherals such as HD and zoom webcams can also be plugged in.  I also watched them control a KUBI that was located in the Fontel (distributors for KUBI) headquarters in Nebraska using another cloud video conferencing application.The Revolve Robotics rep in Virginia also showed me the company’s all new KUBI Cart by JACO that is designed for telemedicine and distance learning applications. It’s an affordable, mobile telepresence solution.

smartkapp-ic14-0614SMART Technologies

A product launch of a different kind at InfoComm and fun to watch. SMART Technologies showed that its SMART kapp digital capture board is as easy and intuitive to use as a dry-erase board, but delivers much more with features designed for today’s workplace. SMART kapp users write, draw, diagram and brainstorm using an ink marker, just as they would with the old-fashioned alternative. But with SMART kapp, co-workers and clients can follow the process remotely in real-time, where everything appears on their mobile devices. The work can be saved at any point and as a final product as PDFs or JPEGs and then easily shared with anyone, anywhere, instantly. SMART kapp is as easy to install as a dry-erase board and only needs to be plugged into a standard wall outlet with no other wiring or Internet connectivity required — the SMART kapp app for iOS and Android devices powers the revolutionary share and save functions.

Videxio

videxio-0614Didn’t make my Disruptive Forces series but certainly makes my top 10. A cloud video service provider, Videxio believes in mass adoption of business quality video collaboration. The company has introduced MyVidexio, designed to improve the user experience and fuel end user adoption. MyVidexio simplifies the user experience by bringing together a new way to schedule video meetings and invite colleagues, join meetings with a single click, manage and record meetings, and view usage statistics. With the availability of the application, individual users can have a complete collaboration experience with unlimited point-to-point video calling and their own high quality virtual meeting room, which features interoperability with standards-based videoconferencing systems, Microsoft Lync, browser-based video (WebRTC) and telephony. Add participants on the fly from a variety of networks and devices. Users will also be able to get a full overview of their own video usage. The new MyVidexio Microsoft Outlook plug-in, allows users to easily join and schedule meetings. With the new Videxio App for smart phones, users can set up and join video meetings at the touch of a button. MyVidexio builds on the company’s philosophy of anytime, anywhere connectivity combined with the flexible subscription models and interoperability.

And last but not least, my surprise find.

bassegg-0614Bass Egg

OK, so it may not be a standard Pro solution, but it still made me stop and take notice. The company promotes the solution with the following tag line: With the Bass Egg, EVERYTHING is a speaker. Just what does that mean? Traditional speakers employ a moving diaphragm, or speaker cone, to generate air disturbances; these disturbances are essentially what you hear as music. The Bass Egg, on the other hand, has no speaker cone. Instead, it sends vibrations into the object it is sitting on, thus turning that object into a “speaker.” With the Bass Egg, everything in your world has the potential to be a full-range speaker.  The only limitation is your imagination. Bass Egg has been featured on five national television shows, including The View, Extra, and The Doctors.

So there you go, very worthy participants. Please visit their websites for further information on these solutions and more. What will InfoComm 2015 hold? Will I have another surprise find? Let’s bank on it. If you think you’ll be cooking up solutions to disrupt the industry next year (I know it’s way ahead of time but try to give me an idea anyway and I’ll make sure you get a booth visit), just send an e-mail to me at cbmoss@dcsmartavit.com. And keep on disrupting — let’s add to that new industry perspective and continue to change the AV/IT world.