We have moved over to the dark side of video communications… Live Streaming. In some ways, I miss the lightside. GoToWebinar, Cisco Event Center and Zoom Webinar were comfortable. They weren’t too expensive and I enjoyed the easy to manage platforms that just felt good.
Many prospective clients come to us with questions like, “Why do I need to conference through video vs. phone?” or“What’s the value of having an entire conferencing camera system?" I’m here to show you that, yes, it does make a difference. I’m not going to pitch to you why our products are amazing or better than the rest, we’ll save that argument for another day ;). I’m here to talk to you today about relationships.
Here’s an example of what I’m referring to. You go to your local deli every week to purchase your lunch meats and the occasional pot roast. You choose there as opposed to the supermarket because you enjoy contributing to a local business in your community. Joseph, the butcher, is a jolly old fellow that’s owned his delicatessen for 23 years now. He puts a smile on your face every time you walk in with his witty jokes and ability to remember your name, your order, and your kid's name. He tells you about his grandson’s soccer trophy and his wife’s silly nagging. His products are 30 cents more expensive to the dollar than the supermarket, but it’s worth it. That interaction you have with him every time you go to buy your cold cuts is part of a positive relationship you’ve built with this business owner. Your visits have become a fun experience.
Joseph’s the one that’s got it all figured out. What’s most important and often ignored in business is building and maintaining relationships with your clients and equally as significant, your employees. This can be difficult if you run a large company or a business that doesn’t allow for in-person interaction with the client. You’re left with reaching your customers via phone and e-mail, or spending the money to travel to meet. Investing in a video conference system provides a solution to these issues and allows you to develope or maintain those relationships.
Here's a simple layout of how video conferencing will benefit your business:
1) Reduces Travel Time & Cost
Installing a video conferencing system will eliminate the need for traveling and will, in turn, save you A LOT of time and money on flights, hotels, per diem, etc. This will also likely please your employees by not taking them away from their family and homes on a regular basis. Less travel time also allows employees more time for productive work in the office.
Today we want to talk about this USB 3.0 frame grabbers that are becoming so popular! HDMI to USB 3.0 and/or HD-SDI to USB 3.0 capture devices are tools that every audio visual manager should have in their toolkit for a couple reasons:
- Trouble shooting AV
- Extending USB 3.0
- Video Support for "hard-wired" source in webconferencing
Supporting "Hard Wired" HDMI sources for Web Conferencing:
So many conference rooms have support for users to plug in their laptops at the table or a wall to connect directly to a display. This is good for BYOD conference rooms where users are meant to bring their own computer to a conference room. But what has happened over the past few years are companies are providing "Dedicated PC" computers in each room because they dedicated to video conferencing for cloud based applications such as GoToMeeting, WebEX or Skype for Business. Companies are doing this because they want to keep the USB camera and USB microphone plugged into the same computer without requiring users to continually un-plug and re-plug their laptops. It's also convient because the "Dedicated PC" can be managed by IT, locked down if needed and connected directly to the display via HDMI.
So what happens when we want to connect our HDMI laptops or tablets to the "Dedicated PC"? Well, in comes the HDMI to USB 3.0 frame grabber. Many conference rooms already have HDMI run from a table to the display. So you can re-use that cabling and put a HDMI to USB 3.0 frame grabber in-line to connec the HDMI directly to your computer. You can use this input to pull in a webcam into any cloud based video conferencing software such as WebEX, Bluejeans or even Zoom. Many of our customers are using Intel NUC computers are dedicated PC's, because they are small, affordable and powerful enough to run web based video conferencing applications.
Hello fellow Web Conferencing Folk,
If you're in the ProAV or video conferencing industry you most likely get this question all the time. How can I use multiple cameras with my web video conferencing software? Power users have adopted web video conferencing for it’s powerful communication benefits and they want to push the limits of what they can achieve. Using multiple cameras will allow presentations to include a second view for products, speakers and almost anything else you can imagine. In this article we review the easiest and most cost-effective ways to add a second camera to your web video conferencing experience no-matter what software you are using.
- Connect multiple USB cameras to a single PC and switch cameras using the software settings
- Use multiple computers in the same meeting space each with their own cameras connected to same meeting
- Use a USB video mixer such as a Roland or Inogenie (reviewed in this article)
- Use a software-based video mixer such as Wirecast or vMix which can create a virtual webcam input from almost any mix of sources which is selectable in any video conferencing software as a USB webcam.
UPDATE! 10/19/2016: Lead Engineer Matthew Davis Review the Inogenie Share2 allowing users to combine multiple cameras for use in
Matthew Davis explains how to use multiple cameras with Skype for Business, GoToMeeting and WebEX using the INOGENI Share 2. The INOGENI Share 2 is an amazing USB 3.0 capture device that allows users to bring in 2 cameras into their favorite web video conferencing service along with 2 additional USB devices with a single USB 3.0 input.
For this how to video Matt Davis set up the unit to demonstrate 2 cameras via HDMI and DVI plus an audio input coming from a USB 2.0 HuddlePod Air wireless dongle. As the INOGENI Share 2 demonstration is done you will see that the device has 7 buttons for easy camera layout changes. The layouts include: picture in picture, side by side and other layouts for sharing multiple cameras with your Skype for Business, GoToMeeting, WebEX or Zoom conference.
The INOGENI Share 2 is a great dedicated appliance making dual camera systems for web conferencing a breeze. It's nice because there are buttons on the top, an application and crestron/extron control. There are software alternatives for using multiple cameras in a single USB selectable virtual webcam but it's very nice to have a dedicated appliance to streamline easy of use in the conference room.Updated 2/1/16!: We just recorded a live review of this presentation with YouTube Live! It's available below
Hello IT & AV Pro's!
This Friday Nov 20th Paul Richards & Patrick Kirby the hosts of HuddleCam Live will be interviewing, Doug Devitre, author of “Screen to Screen Selling”. Paul Richards, Dir of Business Development for HuddleCamHD said “I first found out about “Screen to Screen Selling” when I saw a LinkedIN post from Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom Video Communications. After reading the book I have to say it was a refreshing outlook on the amazing new technology tools available to sales teams.”
Hello Web Conferencing Professionals,
Lately it seems like the ChromeBox has been taking the meeting room by storm. IT folks are seeing the ChromeBox as a simple and affordable option for a "Meeting Room" Computer. Google put together an attractive package called "ChromeBox for Meetings" built from the ChromeBox, a Logitech C930e and a Jabra Speak 410 microphone. Google also includes a "Google User License" and they made custom "Meeting Room Software" to make the room easy to schedule and usable for Google Hangout meetings. Much of the demand is driven by companies who are on the Google Platform for gmail and therefore unified communications.
So the fact that these ChromeBox's are going into meeting rooms begs the question: Why bundle a desktop webcam? That camera is made for desktop video conferencing where users are literally 2-3 feet from the camera. Putting this camera in a large room makes the users look like ants and field of view is always way to wide.
Locking Down an Intel NUC for Meeting Rooms
What if there was an easy way to completely lock down the Intel NUC and give your meeting rooms access to ONLY the applications it needs? What if there was a simple "reset" button to restore your Intel NUC back to the ideal settings and clear any cached files for corporate security compliance?
UPDATE: It's worth noting that you can litterally lock Intel NUC computers using a Kensington Lock :)
Hello IT & AV Professionals!
In this article I would like to define Unified Communications versus web video conferencing and the hybrids we find in between to shed light on where each fits into today's diverse online collaboration market. Wikipedia considers "Unified Communications" a "buzzword" stating "Unified Communications (UC) is a marketing buzzword describing the integration of real-time, enterprise, communication services such as instant messaging (chat), presence information, voice (including IP telephony), mobility features (including extension mobility and single number reach), audio, web & video ...".
I would define unified communications as any application that combines multiple forms of communication into a single integrated product suite. The easier this product suite is to use the more users will adopt the technology. Advanced unified communication solutions companies like Microsoft and Google combine multiple forms of communication such as voice, video, chat, email, presence, file sharing and collaboration into a complete product offering. At it's best UC provides fully integrated tools which enhance communication, ease of use and user adoption. Today it seems like every large communications company from AT&T to Google is offering unified communications services to enhance their core products with "collaboration and communication" services.
Topics: web conferencing
Good Day AV & IT professionals!
Skype has just announced a new pricing plan for its Skype for Business service! It's the kind of announcement where you have to stop and say "Wow? Is this going to be game changing? What will this mean for the online video conferencing industry?". Skype for Business is one of the most popular video conferencing tools for professionals using video conferencing. In this blog post we look at the latest features and compare them with other popular third party meeting providers available as alternatives to Skype for Business such as GoToMeeting, Cisco WebEx and Zoom.
Cisco WebEx has the advantage of producing video conferencing hardware as well as providing the software (WebEx) for an optimal video conferencing experience. Just like Microsoft, Cisco also provides a enterprise level unified communications product called Cisco Jabber that offers similar server level plans that can merge with WebEx. GoToMeeting has a very simple design and has a huge "business user" apeal for users who just want something that works. Citrix offers a large suite of online cloud based products but none that usually compete with Microsoft & Cisco's unified communications platforms. To mention a few: GoToMeeting, ShareFile, GoToWebinar, Podio, OpenVoice and Grasshopper. Lastly, Zoom is the most in-expensive compared to the others but provides some unique features such as iPhone/iPad screen sharing, H.323 room system compatibility and Zoom Rooms for instant meetings. While all three alternatives to Skype for Business provide widely different feature offerings, Skype remains the most widely pleasing option for both price and attendee flexibility. Most pricing plans are split in to 10, 25 and 100 attendee caps while Skype for Business allows up to 250 people in one business plan. For a more detailed feature list of all 4 providers click here (written before Skype for Business release).
The new Skype for Business pricing plan is as follows: