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Nice slide show

From CIO Insight




Take note of slides 9 and 10 in particular- the lack of face to face is a huge barrier that we are able to overcome- it’s now incumbent upon us to facilitate these ‘virtual teams.”

Another new season- after Infocomm/Interop

I know a lot of folks like Las Vegas- the best thing about it, in my humble opinion, is the sheer number of hotel rooms and the conference space. Other than that, it is a place where the soul gets sucked out of everything. Again- just my humble opinion.


Well, that was kind of harsh! Interop and Infocomm were both great! Interop is the kind of show that appeals to the very network geekiest, while Infocomm appeals to the geeks of all kinds. No offense meant, rather the opposite- let your geek flag fly!


This years Infocomm was quite interesting for VCAV, we will have to see how some things work out, but it should be a banner year. I think most folks that read this knows that we can’t really publicize the details, but suffice it to say, this was a very good conference.


Every year the new players in the VC technology sphere try to make their inroads into the market. The established players break out some new gear, new alliances are formed, and the beat goes on.


This year the “new” guys I noticed had some pretty cool ideas. Vu Telepresence (Telepresence? Really? That seems to be the newest marketing buzzword, but I digress) has a good pc based system, but we’ll have to see how long they can keep up the marketing. Avermedia has a nice little codec, I like the form factor of the camera in particular. Then there is ZTE corporation- another of the Chinese corporations venturing outside of their normal market with what could be a “giant killer”, but will have to overcome the great challenge of the channel.


All of the established names had something to show off, but what I noticed wasn’t necessarily what was being touted.


Polycom was pushing their lower bandwidth offering, but the thing I saw was their digital signage offering.


Tandberg always has a great product, but the Cisco/Tandberg amalgamation in the booth seemed a little incongruous.


Lifesize had a lot of traffic and a very clean booth- good job Marketing Division! It would seem that Lifesize is maturing!


Radvision has really come out with a great codec in the XT1000. Their other codec the VC240 really seems to be the best choice for the desktop, they not only have a good codec with the screen, but the resolution as a pc monitor is the best. If we have to have one thing sitting on the desktop, this would be my choice. If someone was looking for a traditional codec, The XT would be a “best pick”.


Vidyo, with their untraditional infrastructure approach was now partnered up with HP- it’s a perfect fit, not only for their desktop approach but also the room offering.


Well, all in all, it was interesting as well as busy at Infocomm 2010. VCAV should do well coming out of it.


Thanks to everyone I met there, those for the first time and those for the nth time!

In your face!

There’s this other thing


After reading through my post from last week, I realized that there was an elephant still in the room that needed noticing.


Desktop video


This segment of our industry has quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) progressed to actually having a significant impact on the industry as a whole. The quality of the codecs has escalated along with the CPU speeds available to run them. The network topology has adapted to this new media on the net and we have yet to see the full potential of this type of VC.


I can see personal VC (personal telepresence?) becoming the primary means of communication, not only in the enterprise, but in the home as well. The technology is here, the infrastructure is here, and the costs are coming into line- what’s missing? Why isn’t everyone talking on the “videophone”?


In my opinion, it’s just a cultural thing. For the enterprise culture, it’s a matter of control and quality. For the home user there may be other issues- Now I have to dress to answer the phone? – I don’t know about you, but that could be a problem at times! Avatars, anyone?


The enterprise issues are being addressed- we all know the players. My favorite though, and the one I see most promise in, is Vidyo. They really have remarkable quality and a price structure that seems to be very fair. Their entry into the “room” market has a real chance of being a new path for the SME to follow. Every company has its champions and its detractors. I think at this time, for this application, you can put me in the champion column.


Desktop video- yes it is here to stay- and finally it is a product that won’t turn people off of VC. The early iterations of the technology didn’t meet the expectations of “Tom Brokaw” on the screen that has been set by popular culture. This new generation of products does meet that level- let’s get the marketing folks out there doing some product placement!


OK back to work

Whole lotta shaking still goin’ on!

Alrighty then-

Again, it’s been a while since I last rambled around in here- The ramifications of the mergers and acquisitions have started to play out, the economy is recovering and with it the industry changes the mix, and we just have to standby and be ready to jump into any position like a utility player in baseball.


Tandberg getting swallowed by the Cisco beast will prove to be the biggest game changer in VC since the Viewstation. Though more of a sales and marketing hurdle than a service problem, on the service side we have to be ready to support those “new” dealers that were once router guys and now are moving the AV side of things- a lot of opportunity for those with even a little expertise! Now the Tandberg VAR’s that are VC centric will be hurt a bit on this- margins will be tight and Tandberg, after being the big fish in a medium size pond, has been assimilated into an organization that will just use the technology to drive bandwidth usage.


Lifesize’s move to a computer accessory has yet to show itself as a major issue, but the removal of an msrp will hurt their penetration in the VAR world. What vendor is going to want to spend time demoing equipment when the customer will just go to an internet catalog vendor and pick the stuff up for a song? I do like what they have done as far as their streaming solution. It will be interesting to see how this one continues to run.


Polycom- well, what can you say- they seem to be adapting their strategy to one of “let’s attack it all”. Though this has been a difficult road for some, if any company can pull it off, it will be the big P!


Hey! Wait a minute! What about Radvision? Now here is probably the coolest thing about this entire shake up. Aethra had its issues, but one thing about the technology was that is was sexy- And I mean that in the most Italian way! Great design ideas, but poor execution. Looks great, but something is missing and we couldn’t quite figure out what.


What was missing was an understanding that, no matter how well something may fly in Milan, if it doesn’t sell in the USA, it doesn’t sell. Now that Radvision, a company with experience in the US market, has the rights to arguably the best codec that Aethra had perhaps it might be something that the US market is ripe for. Radvision does have a steep learning curve ahead of it as they tackle the endpoint market and the channels to support that. These units aren’t being sold to the IT group, but to the facilities side of the house, the admin kingdom, if you will. A completely different animal and it is a big question if they are ready for the support issues. We will see. This has to work for them- Cisco was their largest customer and now that they have their own MCU, Radvision will have to make up the difference somewhere. Are they ready for the average sale price to plummet to the endpoint number? A lot more involved than just selling a box to the channel. If they can pull it off, the XT1000 is one of the better codec’s I’ve seen and it has the capability to rattle the market like nothing has in a long time.


OK, nuff for this qtr!

Wow- whadda year!

What a difference in the industry- Cisco acquiring Tandberg- Logitech and Lifesize. What’s next, Polycom and GM?

It will behoove us a field techs to keep an eye on these developments- what skill sets will be needed going forward? What types of DSP’s will we be programming? Bridges? Firewalls? SIP,323, Skype? It would seem to me that to remain viable, we must be proactive and lead the way. What are your thoughts?

This has been a tough year for a lot of folks- we can only be thankful that we made it through relatively unscathed! As a matter of fact, I have yet to really crunch numbers, but I’m sure we’ve had another growth year!

Pete and I want to wish everyone of our associate techs and all of our valued clients and partners a prosperous New Year!

Been a while

Been a while since I’ve updated- pretty busy with the new site rollout.

Lifesize posted a link to this article and I thought I would share it here as well- pretty cool stuff!


Montana in Space!


From VCinsight.com:

“”Posted 22 June 2009. The growing promise of video conferencing was noted by Giovanni Bisignani, the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) director general and CEO, in a speech entitled “State of the Air Transport Industry” at the IATA annual general meeting and World Air Transport Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in June. It was reported in newspapers and the aviation industry trade press.

IATA’s Director General Bisignani warned that “whether this crisis is short or long, the world is changing … It will not be business as usual.” He cited, for example, the growth of videoconferencing during the downturn, which is now “a stronger competitor” to air travel.”"

Now this is a good sign for us as contract labor as well as for our clients!

This is Dan again- not really a lot to say, but it sure was great getting to meet new folks and greet old friends at Infocomm. I’ve been going over my notes and speaking with people I ran into while at the show, and I look forward to a great relationship with all of you.

I think that the one thing I found most refreshing is the appreciation for our “Ambassadors of the Industry” mantra. This bodes well for all of us as the companies that see technical services as merely the dropping of a box find that the continued relationship with their customer relies on the customer feeling comfortable with the field engineer. We don’t just “drop a box”, we tailor our visit to what the customer needs while at the same time looking for those added opportunities for our clients.

Geez, enough already! I’m trying out this blogging thing to get in the habit of dropping in here- let me know if I’m doing OK!

Hi there, just wondering if anyone actually is reading this.

Anyway, this is Dan.

Infocomm 2009 is history. Not a lot of “revolutionary” products that I was aware of, with the exceptions being notable.

In my opinion, the new LED lit display from Samsung http://www.samsung.com/us/productsubtype/led/# is by far the sexiest display I’ve ever seen.

The new Extron control panels http://www.extron.com/product/prodtype35.aspx are very cool, they fill that niche between the universal remote and a full blown control system, quite good for 85% of our installs.

Another cool piece is the new generation DSP’s from ClearOne http://www.clearone.com/conferencing_amplifier.html with the integrated amplifier it should be a real rackspace saver.

I was able to meet with a few of our clients and the feedback was great. Meeting with some of our associated techs was a real pleasure as well!