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Videoconferencing Users, Vendors, and Analysts Come Together at VCI-Group Annual Conference: October 22-24, 2012, Monterey, CA

September 24, 2012 | David S. Maldow, Esq.
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The third Annual Visual Collaboration Industry-Group (VCI-Group)Conference will be held in Monterey, CA on October 22-24th, and Telepresence Options will be in attendance. VCI-Group is a knowledge-sharing community focused on visual communications , and the event provides a unique opportunity for end users, vendors, and industry analysts to meet and work together to identify and address the challenges and possibilities in this quickly developing field. To learn more about VCI-Group and what we should expect from the conference, we spoke with VCI-Group Director and Conference Chair, Toni Alonso.

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At Telepresence Options we have long studied the numerous obstacles which have historically hindered true viral adoption of telepresence, videoconferencing, and visual collaboration. On the other side of the coin, we are well aware of the enormous benefits being enjoyed by those who have adopted (and properly implemented/supported) videoconferencing use in their business environments. As a result, we believe in supporting activities, like this conference, which are designed to help everyone work together, share information, and seek solutions. Keep reading to learn more about VCI-Group, what they have planned for this conference, the new Emerging Company Membership program, and the even newer Super Group Program. VCI-Group has a lot going on, so let's jump in.

The Visual Communications Industry Group (VCI-Group)
VCI-Group is a community comprised of 450+ end-user members, along with an alliance of vendors, focused on videoconferencing, telepresence, Unified Communications and/or collaboration technology. User membership consists of individuals from organizations that make visual communications purchasing decisions or recommendations and create implementation strategies, and/or support the technology. The members represent Fortune 1000 companies, colleges and universities, and government agencies.

VCI-Group was originally created in 2001 as a vendor specific user group (the Polycom User Group, commonly known as PUG). In 2010, the organization's members voted to become vender agnostic and evolve into the VCI-Group. Now, as an independent nonprofit organization, VCI-Group is working to influence the development of Industry-based standards for multimedia collaboration technologies and applications, to improve industry products and services, and to facilitate the exchange of information among its members.

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The VCI-Group October Monterey Event - Collaboration Your Way

"Collaboration Your Way"
is the theme for this year's highly interactive VCI-Group Annual Conference. The conference agenda is packed with relevant concurrent and feature sessions on key industry topics of the day such as the BYOD phenomena and the growth of Cloud based video (scroll down to see the full agenda). These sessions will feature leading industry analysts (including yours truly and Telepresence Options Publisher, Howard Lichtman), as well as executives from a number of vendors and service providers.

The keynote address will be delivered by Ofer Shapiro, CEO and co-founder of Vidyo. "It is exciting to know that our membership will hear from one of the fastest growing video conferencing companies in the industry at our annual event. The analysts tell us that Vidyo is growing at four times the growth rate of our industry, and our industry growth is estimated between 16-21% right now," said J D Vaughn, chairman of the VCI-Group Advisory Council. "Of course, other industry manufacturing leaders such as Polycom and AVI-SPL will be represented at our event as well. It is only fitting that the fastest growing company in the industry deliver one of the keynote addresses to the fastest growing visual communications users group."

This year's conference will also host Special Interest Group (SIG) meetings, which are designed to match your interests and challenges: Distance Learning, Healthcare, Enterprise Industry, and Technical & Engineering. These break-out sessions will allow you to compare notes with conferencing and collaboration colleagues, share best practices, and remain the conferencing and collaboration leader within your organization.

We asked Toni Alonso why VCI-Group members find this event to be so valuable. She explained...

"There are too few opportunities for end users to get training, view the latest technology, network with their peers, and hear what industry leaders and analysts have to say about the current and future state of the industry other than at the VCI-Group Annual Conference."

The VCI-Group 2012 Annual Conference will be held in Monterey, California on October 22-24, 2012 at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa. For more information on membership and the 2012 VCI-Group Annual Conference visit http://www.vci-group.org

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VCI-Group's New Emerging Companies Membership Program

VCI-Group has a new, low-cost membership program  for emerging companies. The goal is to make it easier for new companies to reach out to VCI-Groups 450+ user members and share information about their products and services.

J D Vaughn says, "This is just what a young technology company needs to launch new products and services: Access to a large group of end users that will embrace a high quality leading edge new product or service that addresses the contemporary issues facing the visual communications industry and users. This new Emerging Companies membership will also provide low cost exhibit space at our annual conference and the opportunity for Emerging Company members to position and present their solutions during our regular VCI-Group Spotlight broadcasts to end user members."

Recently joined emerging members, including G2J, Connexus, and Vidtel are scheduled to present their cutting edge products and services at the Monterey event. The event will enable them to best reach their channels, partners, as well as the VCI-Group's 450+ user members.

Scott Wharton, Founder and President of Vidtel said, "Vidtel is helping form a new industry category for cloud video conferencing service and is enthusiastic about joining the VCI-Group as an emerging visual communication company. We know that we can serve our resellers and channels by connecting with the membership within the VCI-Group community. And we know we can best serve our users by testing our solutions with the experts within the VCI-Group. They have a collective expertise that can serve emerging companies like no other association. We look forward to our first event with VCI-Group in Monterey in October 2012."

For more information about the Emerging Company Membership program, please visit http://www.vci-group.org/membership/emerging.aspx

Super Group Exploratory Session

You heard it here first. VCI-Group is investigating the creation of a Super Group program. This program will result in the creation of a network of vendor specific user groups, all under the VCI-Group umbrella. Your humble author is involved with this initiative and will be participating in a special session at the Monterey conference designed to introduce this Super Group program, and solicit feedback from the VCI-Group community to help guide its development. This exploratory session is tentatively scheduled for 3:10 PM on Monday, October 22nd.

The idea behind the Super Group program is to help vendors quickly enjoy the benefits of an active, vendor specific, user group by addressing the hurdles and challenges of group formation and management. In addition, the Super Group Umbrella will give each group instant recognition as well as use of Super Group and VCI-Group resources.
We hope to ensure that the Super Group program will be perfectly tailored to the needs of today's users and vendors, which is why we are asking the VCI-Group community itself to participate at this stage of the program design. The end goal is a program which allows each subgroup to quickly enjoy the benefits that an established, well run, vendor specific user group can provide, while simultaneously offering the advantage of participation in a larger community. Keep tuned for more details as this program continues to develop.

Conference Agenda



About the Author
David_Maldow, Esq.David Maldow, Esq. is a visual collaboration technologist and analyst with the Human Productivity Lab and an associate editor at Telepresence Options. David has extensive expertise in testing, evaluating, and explaining telepresence and other visual collaboration / rich media solutions. David is focused on providing third-party independent analysis and opinion of these technologies and helping end users better secure their telepresence, videoconferencing, and visual collaboration environments. You can follow David on Twitter and Google+.






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