This Week (In AV and IT) 12/11

While this could be considered last week’s news, I did say there would be a followup to the final story from my previous This Week blog.

Here’s what it looks like when your startup passes a make-or-break test (12/4)

The future is looking very bright now for videoconferencing company Blue Jeans Network after “Big Papi” David Ortiz announced the details of his retirement from baseball Friday morning.

Blue Jeans Ortiz

As was previously reported, this was a huge test for the startup as Ortiz held an international press conference through the Blue Jeans network, an event set up by Derek Jeter’s media startup, The Players’ Tribune. Jeter happens to be an investor in Blue Jeans and he had integrated Blue Jeans into The Players’ Tribune with just such events in mind.

The great challenge facing Blue Jeans here? Had it gone poorly, not only would that have damaged Blue Jeans’ relationship with The Players’ Tribune, but the fail would have ticked off countless sports journalists and the nearly one thousand Ortiz fans attending the event online and asking him questions.

The event though, save for a single mic bobble at the beginning, was considered a rousing success. Blue Jeans CEO Krish Ramakrishnan reported afterward that Jeter told him The Players’ Tribune is going to do more live videoconferencing events between sports fans and stars.

The Blue Jeans team was so relieved after the event was over, they cheered. Here’s the picture:

Blue Jeans post-event-celebration

Here’s a short video recording of the event:

Read more here.


Cisco Spark Changes the Game in Collaboration (12/8)

It began with:

As announced on December 8th by Rowan Trollops, SVP/GM, Cisco Collaboration Technology Group, Cisco is reinventing the collaboration experience with a brand new offering of Spark to deliver the three types of communication tools people use at work the most— messaging, meeting, and calling—from the cloud.

Rowan Trollope Spark

In addition, Cisco is making it possible for their phones and video conferencing systems to plug into the cloud and access these new services.

By making collaboration available from their cloud platform, they believe this changes everything because:

  • It is designed from the ground up for highly secure collaboration that is delightful to use. Today, most of us use unconnected tools for team messaging, virtual meetings and phone calls.  With Cisco Spark, all three are parts of a complete user experience. For instance, with a single click you can turn a phone call into a video meeting.  With a swipe you can move a video call from a room system to your mobile phone and then to another room—so you don’t have to miss anything when you need to move.
  • It makes setting up video rooms and phones a snap. Have you ever shown a QR code on your smartphone to board a plane? That’s how easy it is to set up a desk phone now.
  • It connects phone systems to the cloud. Enterprises have a lot invested in phone systems and other on-premises equipment. Cisco Spark Hybrid Services enables entirely new and amazing experiences by connecting this equipment to the cloud.

“My team is passionate about making tools for work that are as simple and delightful as the tools we use at home,” said Rowan Trollope, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco Collaboration, Data Analytics and IoT groups. “Spark lets us give amazing experiences to companies of all sizes—from tiny start-ups to the Fortune 100. And we’re just getting started.”

Read more here.

See the recorded webcast here.


Revolabs, Inc. FLX™ UC 1500 Conference Phone Named a 2015 CRN® Product of the Year (12/7)

Revolabs, Inc. a wholly owned subsidiary of Yamaha Corporation, announced that The Channel Company’s technology review arm, CRN® Test Center, has named its FLX™ UC 1500 Conference Phone a 2015 Product of the Year. Recognized companies represent best-in-breed technological innovation backed by a supportive channel partner program. The FLX UC 1500 Conference Phone received the award for the office equipment category.


Throughout the year, CRN provides in-depth coverage of an extensive array of products across a wide range of categories. CRN’s annual Product of the Year awards are selected by editors from among that pool. This year’s highlighted award categories include Android devices, client software, components, data center, desktops, enterprise storage, Internet of Things, mobile, and more. Products are recognized for a number of factors, including quality, uniqueness of features, ease of setup and use, and ability to increase worker productivity and reduce cost and complexity for solution providers, IT departments and end users.

The FLX UC 1500 IP & USB Conference Phone  is designed for conference rooms larger than those for which earlier FLX offerings are intended and includes two extension microphones to create a wider pick-up range. Its high-performance speaker also gives it more powerful sound output to fill larger spaces. The FLX UC 1500 supports USB audio for softphone calls and SIP telephony for all market leading IP PBXs and features call bridging between VoIP and USB calls. System implementers can use the FLX UC 1500 to configure an all-in-one conference room equipment solution that provides superior audio clarity.

See related  Biamp Mics Reach Zoom Certification

Revolabs FLX UC 1500 made the list of my Top 10 at InfoComm 2015.

Read more here.


Interactive Intelligence Launches Enhanced Global Partner Program (12/8)

Interactive Intelligence logo

Interactive Intelligence Group Inc., a global provider of software and cloud services for customer engagement, unified communications and collaboration, has launched an enhanced Global Partner Program.

Enhancements include new Systems Integrator and Telco/Carrier Programs, and an updated Channel Program all designed to give partners new revenue opportunities – particularly within the cloud market — while making it easier to do business with Interactive Intelligence.

“As we’ve expanded our product offering and global footprint, we realized that we needed to both streamline partner engagement and diversify our partner ecosystem,” said Darren Gill, Interactive Intelligence vice president of channels. “The changes we’ve made are designed to better support our existing contact center-focused partners, while more quickly bringing to market our new cloud offering and building out our services business to reach new customers.”

Today, the Interactive Intelligence Partner Ecosystem comprises approximately 400 companies worldwide, including Arrow Systems Integration, Arvato (a division of Bertelsmann), Atea, brightONE, Cognizant, Hitachi, IBM, Iwatsu, KPN B.V., Maintel, NACR, Software House International, and Xerox Business Services.

(Note: Learn more about PureCloud Collaborate. I had highlighted Interactive Intelligence at Enterprise Connect in March). 

Read more here.


Biamp Systems Announces New Online Certification Training for Audia® Digital Audio Platform (12/9)

Biamp Systems, a leading provider of innovative, networked media systems, today unveiled an all-new online training course for its market-leading Audia® digital audio platform. Designed to be flexible and on-demand, the self-paced course allows integrators and end-users to gain insights into maintaining the company’s Audia solutions.

Biamp systems logo

Providing two renewal units toward InfoComm International’s Certified Technology Specialist™ (CTS®) credential, the online learning module focuses on existing systems by looking at topics such as AudiaFLEX and Nexia hardware, navigating configuration software, connectivity layers for communicating with hardware, and how peripheral devices such as audio expanders and controllers impact the overall AV system. In addition, participants will learn how multiple Audia and Nexia systems transmit sound between each other.

“Audia installations continue to power audio for facilities around the globe, creating the need for us to broaden the training available to meet the continued learning needs of the industry,” said Kiley Henner, director of customer experience at Biamp Systems. “Targeted at professionals tasked with operating and maintaining an Audia system, the ‘Audia for Technicians’ online training course provides valuable knowledge on how to successfully leverage and maintain the benefits of our networked audio solution.”

More information on Biamp’s new Audia online certification training and how to register for the course is available at


Marriott is removing desks from hotel rooms in a strange bid to please millennials (12/11)

(Note: While this isn’t AV or IT related, it does focus on one of the industry’s white hot topics – millennials).


Frequent travelers are voicing their disdain at Marriott Hotels for a room redesign with what they consider a “ridiculous” twist. As numerous guests have pointed out this year, Marriott has been removing desks from many of its hotel rooms.

The design flaw was recently addressed by Yahoo Sports columnist Dan Wetzel, a person who (by his own account) spends a fair amount of time staying and working in Marriott Hotels. Further online research by Wetzel found that there were pages of Internet forums devoted to the trend.

Like so many brands before it, Marriott is reportedly making these awkward changes in a bid to appeal to Millennials. Bill Marriott, chairman of the hotel chain, claimed that younger guests have changed the “whole dynamic” of the hospitality business, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal last year. Marriott insisted that Millennials want a hotel that has the feel of a “Silicon Valley startup” (whatever that means…).

And as the article states – After all, don’t people in Silicon Valley work— using desks?

Instead of a desk, Wetzel — who was staying at Charlotte Marriott City Center — found a side table positioned next to the couch and his bed. And while, as the article states, a missing desk may not put off vacationers and tourists, business travelers who use their rooms to work (and rarely get to do much else) can’t make do without them.

[And personally, I’ll attest to the fact that if I showed up in a hotel room with just a small side table (where I always have a laptop, an iPad, a Smart phone and more to lay out) I’d be making new reservations in another hotel — quickly].

Read more here.


And an added Star Wars bonus.

Get A Free Star Wars Edition Google Cardboard