The wide scope of video conferencing
When new technology comes onto the scene, it usually takes a while for businesses, individuals, and institutions to find the best ways to leverage it in order to maximize efficiency, opportunity, and success. This rule holds true for whyGo corporate account, as well. Although it’s been shown to be an effective solution for communication and a strong alternative to travel, it has taken many years for it to seep into all of the areas in which it can truly make a difference.
So where are we seeing video conferencing today, and how is it being used? Let’s take a look at some of the most useful environments for this exciting technology.
Primarily, we see video conferencing in business. No matter what kind of business you are running, unless you’re a very localized group without much travel or remote working involved, video conferencing has probably at least come up as a point of discussion. It’s a great way to get mobile workers involved, to cut down on expenses related to traveling, and to facilitate better communication between businesses, partners, and/or clients.
Video conferencing is also making a name for itself in the world of education. Teachers are now able to leverage this technology to spread knowledge across much wider fields. Online lectures, interactive virtual classrooms, and other uses of this technology are taking the education industry by storm and truly improving on how we can spread information and promote higher learning.
It’s also being used in the health care industry. Whether it’s with remote doctors communicating with one another to determine strategies for treatment, or it’s doctors treating patients remotely through video connectivity, video conferencing has increased options for health care around the world.
These are just a few examples of video conferencing’s influence today. Where do you see the technology going next?
Intel’s new chip looks to support video conferencing better
Video conferencing is a highly popular and functional method of communication, but it sometimes requires more robust hardware than a simple phone call or e-mail. Having the network, audiovisual quality, and processing speed to support a real-time video chat is important and can make or break the quality of your communication. Thankfully, technology has maintained speed in its development, and robust systems are continuing to become more and more affordable. Now, Intel – the CPU mogul – has announced a new Haswell chip with some impressive specifications, and as some have noted, it seems to specifically support the rise in popularity of video conferencing. SemiAccurate reports:
“While the GPU is an evolution of the older Ivy shaders, there are serious enhancements to functionality. Intel added support for DX11.1, OpenCL 1.2, and OpenGL 4.0 to the feature list along with 4K video support and three screen capabilities via DP1.2. On the video encode/decode side Intel has added MJPEG to the codec lists and now supports more streams. The idea here is to support better video conferencing where simultaneous encode and decode are mandatory and additional streams can be put to good use too.”
Streaming services like Netflix have taken hold of the entertainment industry as well, so it makes sense that Intel is looking to design processing solutions that maximize the potential to support video streaming of all kinds. We are excited to see the world of video conferencing gaining clout even in the most widespread technological industries. Intel has a rich history of supporting businesses and people worldwide; we hope that the Haswell chip leads to a new age of video conferencing strength.
Cisco will unveil a Digital Classroom
At an upcoming technology conference called Futurecom 2012, Cisco will present its new Digital Classroom system designed to provide educators with effective and comprehensive tools for spreading knowledge across wide geographic ranges. The article published on Equities.com elaborates on the technology:
“The new technology that makes the Digital Classroom possible is Cisco(TM) Edge 300 – an “all-in-one” device installed in the classroom that offers a Wi-Fi access point; local network connectivity; Bluetooth; an interactive digital whiteboard control; audio and video features (speakers, microphone, camera, video displays, keyboard etc.); videoconferencing, providing cost-effective and easy connections between expert teachers, students or remotely located groups.”
Cisco will also be collaborating with local companies to add useful software, pedagogical tools, and much more. The end result will be an effective all-in-one system for providing virtual education in a wide range of areas.
The education world has seen its fair share of video conferencing in recent years, but the Digital Classroom is one of the first examples of a system specifically designed for this market. Teachers and students alike should be able to benefit in a big way from the streamlined and all-inclusive tools found in Cisco’s upcoming products.
Educational video conferencing is an exceptionally innovative use for the technology. It allows lecturers to widen their target audience by an exponential rate, and it offers stronger solutions for helping educators reach students in rural and other remote areas. The spread of knowledge is one of the most important aspects of developing a continually sustainable society, so the application of new technology is always a boon for the world. We hope to see more on the Digital Classroom soon!
More government agencies looking into video conferencing
Video conferencing has found its way into nearly every type of business and institution imaginable over the past handful of years, and for good reason. The technology’s capability to provide improved communication, larger ranges of features and data sharing, substantially minimized costs, and higher quality of interfacing is an attractive offering no matter the price level. That’s why it should come as no surprise to hear that more and more government agencies are looking into investing in video conferencing technology to improve practices of all kinds. Government Video reports that both the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of the Interior have released requests for bids on video conferencing support systems to strengthen productivity, cost efficiency, and communication quality.
Government agencies should be some of the most smooth-running institutions in the world, but given the way that government spending is often restricted and difficult to manage, this may not always be the case. Thankfully, it seems like more and more agencies are analyzing their budget and identifying the implementation of video conferencing as a potential solution to money constraints rather than as a problem.
With the right systems in place, government agencies may be able to communicate internally and externally with greater efficiency and overall quality. Having robust methods of contacting outside parties as well as remote workers is crucial to performance and efficiency; video conferencing provides this service in an unparalleled quality. Both the Department of the Interior and the Department of Veterans Affairs seem to have performed research to identify some of the best systems to match their particular needs and are also looking for ongoing maintenance and support services.
It is exciting to see new agencies investing in the world of video conferencing, and we hope to see more widespread use of this technology as time goes on!
Polycom holds over 50% of China video collaborations market
The video conferencing industry has had its small handful of market leaders since its inception, but they have changed places and struggled for the top spot over time. Right now, the two main entities fighting for the top of the hill in the industry are Cisco and Polycom, two telecommunications giants each with their own respectable line of video conferencing software and hardware. Microsoft is also looking to move in on the market with its recent acquisition of Skype. Recent studies, however, show that Polycom seems to have the clear lead in one of the world’s largest nations – according to TelecomTiger, Polycom holds 51.4% of the Chinese video collaboration market.
So what is it that makes Polycom the leading force in the industry right now? According to some, their interest in moving towards cloud-based services and VaaS (video as a service) have given them the clear advantage, at least in the short-term. The article explains:
“Polycom RealPresence video solutions, which range from room and fully immersive systems to RealPresence Mobile and executive desktop systems, are powered by the Polycom RealPresence Platform. Providing a comprehensive software infrastructure designed to bring nearly universal interoperability to enterprise video networks through broad support of open industry standards, the RealPresence Platform transforms islands of employees and fragmented communications systems into a seamless culture of collaboration, with enterprise-grade video easily and securely accessible to all authorised personnel whether they’re mobile, remote, or on-site.”
Working towards complete interoperability is an absolute necessity in the industry as it stands, and Polycom seems to be the biggest player in making that happen. We hope to see more innovations and collaborations between other telecommunications service providers and video conferencing-related businesses.
Tablets are a game-changer for video conferencing
We’ve taken a closer look at many of the new and exciting platforms for video conferencign technology to be used in both the world of business and the world of pleasure. Whether you want a product that can help you stay in touch with friends and family or you need something that can help you collaborate with co-workers and other parties, you’re going to be looking for a platform that has serviceable audio and visual quality as well as the ability to connect to a strong network. With these criteria in mind, tablets like the iPad and those that run on the Android operating system have changed the face of whyGo corporate account.
Tablets are some of the first truly plausible mobile video conferencing devices. While it is possible to use a mobile smart phone or similar device to hold a video chat, small screens really limit the capabilities related to these connections. If you have more than two people chatting, you may as well just be on a conference phone call. Tablets, on the other hand, have the screen size and processing power to support multiple video chatters for long periods of time.
Mobile video conferencing can end up being very important, too. If a business relies on a number of employees “on-the-go”, they may need to connect with them while they are at a remote location without a desktop computer or laptop handy. Calling someone up on the iPad or other tablet is a simple and effective way of doing so.
Upcoming conference takes a look at the future of video conferencing
It’s no secret that video conferencing and telepresence tools have taken off in the last handful of years. The development of more affordable and high-tech tools has allowed businesses, institutions, and individuals all over the world to connect with remote parties for collaboration and general discussion. Unfortunately, there are a number of roadblocks currently holding the video conferencing industry back from truly exploding onto the scene. An upcoming Video World Conference & Expo will be a great chance for both software and hardware developers as well as service providers to get together and discuss the future of video conferencing and what steps must be taken next. The article on Telepresence Options explains a little more about the event and one of its main panels:
“In the “Connecting the Pixels – Visual Communication Comes of Age” panel, to be held Wednesday, October 3, at 11 a.m. CST, AVer Information Inc., Blue Jeans Network and Vidtel will collaborate on helping attendees understand their options and find the interconnection path that best matches their company’s needs.”
Focus on Connectivity
We have discussed before how the problem of interconnectivity between disparate video conferencing systems is one of the biggest roadblocks in the way of mainstream success. As it stands, there are too many options and too few connections between these options. Companies like Polycom and Cisco have been trying to develop more integrated and connected tools that allow businesses, institutions, and people of all kinds a chance to connect with users on other platforms, but until a more standardized medium or a larger global initiative can help work towards common ground, connectivity remains an issue.
This upcoming panel hopes to have key experts talking with one another and with audiences to come up with plans for progress. The fact of the matter is that it is mutually beneficial for developers and service providers to work together, because more collaboration will increase the span of the market itself. Currently, the competition between companies whose products won’t work with one another is creating isolation and niche markets where there should be none. It is our hope that this conference and expo will take the first steps towards eliminating this detrimental attitude toward video conferencing marketing.
Other Topics of Interest
Connectivity isn’t the only thing being discussed at this upcoming expo. Experts will also give talks on how video conferencing can boost productivity and sales in businesses of all kinds. Although to the well-read video conferencing user this may seem like a no brainer, this gives companies a good chance to use this event as a platform to discuss in simple and certain terms how the technology can be beneficial to business.
As it stands, many businesses are hesitant about video conferencing and telepresence tools because they fear that the investment might not pay off or that technical difficulties would get in the way of productivity. Experts should be able to dispel these myths in no uncertain terms during this upcoming conference, so we are excited to see how it goes.
Stay tuned to hear more about the expo and how whyGo corporate account‘s biggest players are working together to improve the industry!
Video conferencing being used for counseling
We have looked at a few instances in the past in which video conferencing has been used in the health care industry to connect doctors and experts with remote patients, but these instances have mostly been localized and strictly dependent on individual institutions. That’s not to say that video conferencing isn’t making waves in the health care world, though – in fact, the technology is continuing to show up in new areas of work. Now, experts in the fields of therapy and counseling are looking to video conferencing as a way to expand their work and use new avenues of communication to treat patients. A recent news article on ComputerWorld.com explains how video conferencing psychiatry meetings – telepyschiatry – is taking off.
The article includes quotes from Dr. Avrim Fishkind, a psychiatrist from Houston who uses video conferencing to meet with patients. He mentions that out of “just over 60,000 patient encounters,” only six have refused to participate in video conferencing for their sessions. The article also looks at what the roadblocks in this progression towards new technology have been:
“Fishkind said telepsychiatry is limited only by insurance reimbursements. As more insurance companies start to reimburse for telepsychiatry treatments at the same rate as they do for in-person visits, the emerging medical field will grow exponentially.”
With higher bandwidth potential worldwide and increases in security, more psychiatrists are becoming comfortable with the idea of using this technology as a means of reaching out to patients. While it is often seen as more of a convenience than anything – for both the patient and the doctor – it can also be used to reach otherwise unavailable patients, such as those in prisons or nursing homes.
This is another example of truly revolutionary thinking that has the potential to better the lives of people all over the world. Telepsychiatry may be the way of the future for counseling!
Why Does My Skype Call Get Goofy?
When people hear about video conferencing for the first time, most will think of Skype and the video call they tried to do with the family last holiday. For many, the screen froze a few times and the picture broke up into little boxes occasionally. That isn’t Skype’s fault, because a video conference call is only as good as the network you are using.
WhyGo suggests you have at least 768Kbps of bandwidth for an IP connection or 384Kbps for an ISDN connection — and most folks have no idea what that is or why it’s important. Bandwidth is the road the signal uses to go from one point to another. Kbps are Kilobits per second, or the speed that the information is travelling. The size of the bandwidth is like the type of highway you are driving down, a two lane isn’t going to take as much traffic as a six lane.
So when your Skype call got all goofy, it’s possible that the flow of information was in a traffic jam if the bandwidth was too narrow for all the traffic you were putting on your road. You could have a bandwidth that is adequate, but if you are sharing that bandwidth with someone who is playing online games, it will affect your use.
At home, you have a certain amount of control over who is on your service and how they are using it. The type of service you have – DSL, Broadband, dialup, etc. – will determine how many lanes are on your personal internet highway, and the traffic is determined by the activity you are trying to do online.
A personal Skype call can get goofy and you can still have a good time with friends and family. A business call shouldn’t be goofy. If your network is inadequate for your enterprise, consider WhyGo’s public videoconferencing rooms for your next remote meeting. You can get a quick quote and a good idea of the possibilities for the future in 30 minutes.
Mac gets its first native video conferencing tool
Video conferencing has been around for many years, but it has traditionally been used on Windows PCs over other operating systems due to its flexibility and dominance in the market. Now, the tech company FuzeBox has announced Fuze for Mac, the first native application for video conferencing on OS X. The article on Mashable explains:
“FuzeBox is one of the only apps that was built on Apple’s campus. By going native on the Mac, Cavins says FuzeBox was able to add more features than it has in the browser-based version as well as take advantage of everything the Mac has to offer, including the retina screen.”
It is exciting to see an OS X-based app for a number of reasons. Apple products have traditionally strong systems for video and sound, and these are certainly important features for participants of video conferences. Moreover, it opens up more opportunities for use in businesses and other institutions that prefer Mac products. Getting video conferencing to be available to everyone and everywhere possible is an important part of pushing it into the mainstream, so we are excited to see this news as it is indicative of a trend towards spreading into other areas of technology.
Fuze can support up to 12 video chat participants, and it can synchronize document sharing across all parties. It can also support up to 1,000 phone and VOIP connections. It looks to be an excellent and well-rounded tool for video conferencing and general communications overall. We hope to see more news about Fuze and other products for OS X and other operating systems in the future!
Logitech webcam puts Skype on TVs with no need for PC
We’ve recently taken a look at news regarding Microsoft’s patent of a TV-based video conferencing system, but it seems that they are not the only company looking towards this market. Logitech has developed a webcam that puts Skype on TVs without the need for a PC.
The camera connects to the TV via an HDMI cable and includes an ethernet port for Internet connectivity. It is said to have a wider angle lens than traditional webcams, and it includes functions such as the ability to zoom in and out. It includes the ability to handle multiple Skype accounts, and it even has a ringer for when someone is calling you via the software. It’s a fully functional alternative to PC video conferencing for Skype users all over.
The price tag of $200 may be one of the only snags in getting this into the mainstream. The problem is that most people already have a PC and can purchase a much cheaper USB webcam if needed. Televisions provide clearer display, more comfort, and less management, however. There is certainly something to be said for the ability to have a video chat on your couch in your own home.
Logitech’s approach to TV video conferencing is much different from Microsoft’s. Microsoft intends to use the power of the television display in conjunction with PC technology to provide users with a higher quality of conference, rather than eliminating the PC from the equation entirely. Regardless, two major companies are turning their focus towards the television as an untapped corner of the market. Can we expect to see more companies coming up with their own TV-based tools? Stay tuned to hear more!