This Week (In AV and IT) 12/18

Vidyo Secures Strategic Investment from Kaiser Permanente Ventures for Telehealth and Video Collaboration (12/14)

Vidyo, Inc., a leader in high quality visual communications, announced a $10M strategic investment from Kaiser Permanente Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Kaiser Permanente, and $5M from existing investors, for a $15M follow-on round of funding.  Vidyo has raised $163M to date from investors including Kaiser Permanente Ventures, Menlo Ventures, Rho Ventures, Sevin Rosen Funds, QuestMark Partners, and others. The company will use the funds to accelerate growth in vertical markets.

Vidyo telemedicine image

“Kaiser Permanente Ventures is committed to partnering with innovative organizations that support our work to improve the health of patients and the communities we serve,” said Jordan Kramer, Director Kaiser Permanente Ventures. “We view our partnership with Vidyo, with its telehealth offerings that increase patient convenience and the overall quality of care, as advancing this strategy.”

“We appreciate the confidence and support from Kaiser Permanente Ventures which sees the latest and most innovative healthcare offerings and understands the critical and expanding role that telemedicine plays in the delivery of care,” said Eran Westman, CEO, Vidyo. “The VidyoWorks platform and APIs have been deployed by the top names in healthcare and the quality and experience delivered have played a key role in advancing the use of telemedicine across hospital systems and to patient homes. Vidyo is proud to deliver innovative healthcare solutions, and to work with a large ecosystem of partners to transform healthcare with new applications and integrations.”

Read more here.


Blue Jeans Network Names Industry Veteran Mike Mansbach to Guide Next Era of Company Growth (12/15)

Blue Jeans Network, a global leader in cloud-based video collaboration services, this week announced the addition of Mike Mansbach to its leadership team in the newly created role of President. On the heels of their $76M funding round, Blue Jeans is gearing up for major expansion and continued product innovation, and Mansbach, according to the company, will be instrumental in the next phase of the company’s journey.


As an industry veteran, Mansbach, according to the article, has a demonstrated track record of driving results, delivering exceptional customer experiences and preparing companies for meteoric growth. He was most recently CEO of PunchTab which was acquired by Walmart in September of 2015. Prior to that, he was instrumental in growing Citrix Systems’ GoTo product line, including GoToMeeting. Under his leadership, Citrix focused on delivering great customer value and SaaS revenues grew from $40M to over $500M.

“Video communications is crossing the chasm. For a long time, the missing piece of the puzzle has been creating something the end user loves. Blue Jeans delivers that,” said Mansbach. “We’ve built a platform that IT loves and now have the opportunity to complete the picture with a user experience the customer loves as well. With that goal in mind, we’re deeply committed to continually delighting our millions of users around the globe.”

“We are embarking on a new and exciting chapter at Blue Jeans. Mike shares our vision and understands the value of real-time video and the power it has to transform the culture of the enterprise,” said Krish Ramakrishnan, CEO of Blue Jeans. “We are thrilled to welcome him as part of the Blue Jeans family.”

Mike Mansbach, President at Blue Jeans Network.

Read more here.


Microsoft Latest Innovation Center Opens in Atlanta (12/15)

Microsoft Innovation Center

Microsoft and members of the tech startup scene in Georgia are celebrating the opening of Microsoft’s latest Innovation Center in Atlanta.  Located in the historic Flatiron building in downtown Atlanta, the facility will act as a hub for the company’s outreach efforts to local communities, schools and technology startups.

Microsoft Innovation Centers (MICs) offer access to training, technical resources and the company’s software and technologies.In total, the Redmond, Wash., technology giant helps maintains over 100 MICs across the globe to support entrepreneurship, improve education and help local workforces brush up on their technology skills.

“We aim to foster innovation, collaboration and economic growth in local communities as an inherent piece of our culture and look forward to expanding our work in the Atlanta community,” said Judson Althoff, president of North America at Microsoft, in a Dec. 15 statement. “The MIC will allow us to provide training and resources to thousands of members of the technology, education and business communities; help hundreds of businesses grow; and host countless learning and networking events.”

The Atlanta MIC is part of Microsoft’s smarter cities initiative called CityNext and represents an alliance between Microsoft and the city of Atlanta under the program. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed views the new MIC as a welcome addition to the area’s startup culture, particularly for women seeking to establish a business.

Read more here.


This Flying Car Just Got Approval to Move Into Test Mode (12/16)


The Federal Aviation Administration has authorized flying car company Terrafugia to start testing out prototypes of a flying car that could some day fit right into a one-car garage, wings and all. And the company says its flying car test flights could start whizzing around the Northeast in the coming months.

You shouldn’t go clearing out a spot in the garage just yet—the company has only been approved to test miniversions of their TF-X flying car.

“The TF-X is a 4-seater that “will look like a large car with wings,” Terrafugia spokeswoman Dagny Dukach says. The roughly 35-member team based in Woburn, Mass., is building out their ~2 ft. long FAA-approved models now, and they hope to have them flying around the company’s home base (just outside Boston) soon. The test cars also have a weight restriction: No more than 50 pounds.

See related  Barco ClickShare Now Provides Usage Insights Directly to Microsoft’s Teams Rooms Pro Management Portal

Read more here.

And as for the FAA,  regulations for small UAV’s have finally been specified after many near disasters in the air, and others are chiming in too. The flying car conversation should be a loud one for sure.


InfoComm Announces 2016 Certification Committee Members (12/18)

InfoComm logo

InfoComm International®, the trade association representing the commercial audiovisual industry worldwide has announced election results for the 2016 InfoComm International Certification Steering Committee. The committee of industry volunteers oversees the development and administration of InfoComm’s Certified Technology Specialist™ certifications (CTS®, CTS®-D and CTS®-I), the most respected professional credentials in the audiovisual industry.

Current CTS holders elected the following industry professionals to the Certification Steering Committee:

  • Heather Callaway, CTS-D, SiteReady Design
  • Tim Cichos, CTS, University of Notre Dame
  • Alec Graham, CTS-D, CTS-I, ServicePoint Australia
  • John Lamberson, CTS, Biamp Systems
  • Rodrigo Ordonez, CTS-D, K2 Audio, LLC
  • Farrell Wood, CTS-D, CTS-I, Whitlock

Callaway and Graham were reelected for new terms. All of the elected Certification Steering Committee members join current members Jeremy Caldera, CTS-D, CTS-I, Zdi Inc.; Josh Srago, CTS, ICS Integrated Communication Systems; and Matthew Wood, CTS-I, George Washington University. Caldera was elected by committee members to chair the committee.

“I am excited for what the CTS program will bring in the coming year,” Caldera said. “Recognition of CTS certification as the leading AV professional credential-both within the United States and abroad-is higher than ever and we need to take it to the next level. Along with other members of the steering committee, I’m excited for the opportunity to lead the certification effort and its expansion over the next year.”

InfoComm thanked all of the outgoing Certification Steering Committee members:

“Rich Kowalske and all the volunteers serving on the Certification Steering Committee have made important contributions to industry excellence and the Certified Technology Specialist program,” said Adrienne Knick, Director of Certification, InfoComm International. “We want to thank Rich, Matthew LeFeber, Christopher Neal and Adam Walton for their time, expertise and insight during this exciting time in the CTS program. Under their watch, the number of Certified Technology Specialists exceeded 10,000 worldwide — a milestone that anyone who’s ever volunteered to be part of the Certification Steering Committee or been a CTS can be proud of.”

As of December 17, 2015, there are 10,241 Certified Technology Specialists around the world. In 2014, over 80 percent of eligible CTS, CTS-D and CTS-I holders chose to renew their certifications, demonstrating their commitment to industry professionalism.

For more than 30 years, InfoComm has administered the Certified Technology Specialist program, which is recognized worldwide as the leading AV professional credential. All three certifications (CTS, CTS-D and CTS-I ) are ANSI accredited under the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) ISO/IEC 17024:2012 General Requirements for Bodies Operating Certification Schemes of Persons program.

For more information, visit here.


Coming to rAVe and more in 2016 (12/18)

It’s the end of a great year in which I wrote blogs, articles and conducted interviews on numerous as well as varied topics – AV and IT, UCC, mobility, IoT, Drones, AI, Cybersecurity and more. I participated as press/media at two major trade shows – Enterprise Connect and InfoComm 2015 and I thank rAVe, InfoComm and Enterprise Connect for those opportunities. I did three podcast shows which I detailed in these blogs – part 1 and part 2. I look forward to more in 2016 and already have in the works plans for blogs, interviews and of course the podcast I consider to be one of those leading the industry – AV Power Up. Along with certain Crew members returning, we are also adding two new members – that to be announced very shortly.

Here is the last AV Power Up of 2015, and one I consider to be among the very best that we have done so far. Our guests are Jan Sandri, President at FSR Inc., Cory Schaeffer Director, Systems Solutions at QSC and Marika Acquino, Technical Recruiter at Tier PM.

AV Power Up! – Episode 35: Great Year Ender Where These Women of the Industry Rule and the Guys Agree

AV Power Up logo

A big thank you to my Power Crew who bring it to each and every show and have been the embodiment of “team.”

A another big thank you to the man behind the scenes Michael Williams with rAVe who takes care of the edits and the posting. Yes I do “put him to work” at times, however he always gets it done with the utmost in professionalism. Our collaboration has become another key to the success of the show. A big thank you as well to my editor at rAVe Sara Abrons and to owner Gary Kayye.

Let’s always thank those “behind the scenes” in AV, like the engineers, project managers, programmers, installers, marketing and more who also get it done.

I wish you all a very happy and healthy holiday season and New Year.

This Week (In AV and IT) will be back on Friday January 8th.


And one more Star Wars bonus (12/14):

12 Star Wars-Inspired Gadgets