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Wainhouse Research News in Brief - April 12th 2016

April 13, 2016 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by Alan D. Greenberg / Wainhouse Research

Fuze and Yealink have teamed to certify the Yealink VC120 video conferencing room system as compatible with Fuze conferencing and collaboration solutions. Though it offers its own Fuze Room, this will enable any organization seeking the VC120 capabilities (1080P HD video, dual-screen support, and content sharing) to allow their Mac or PC users to access Fuze's video service, leveraging the Yealink VC120 from the organization's meeting room.

Sonic Foundry has joined the Riverbed-Ready Technology Alliance program to bring new capabilities to both Sonic Foundry and Riverbed customers. The program framework enables partners to extend the Riverbed Application Performance Platform, a platform that provides CIOs visibility into all IT resources across a hybrid enterprise. Though not the first vendor in our space to partner with Riverbed, this should help SoFo tackle the challenges of delivering behind-the-firewall, well-scaled and secure video.

Digital Samba has released version 4.4.3 of its web conferencing platform OnSync, adding what it reports as approximately 100 new features, improvements, and bug fixes. These include improvements and extensions to its recently introduced MP4 recording feature. The new version allows organizers to have more control over their sessions and users. The automatic recording feature for sessions now also works for sessions that have phone dial-in activated. As soon as a new recording is available online, participants can be notified with an automated e-mail. One interesting tidbit: the MP4 recorder allows users to directly save sessions as an MP4 file on their hard drives - and system admins can select which users get this capability. And for those wishing to bring in external content like YouTube videos, the company has made it possible to use the Vimeo API as an alternative.

UK-based Drum has launched a new site and a new free service based on its WebRTC-browser-embeddable functionality. Calling it "free, instant web meetings," Drum enables users to upload files to present, use VoIP audio, and do screen annotations. This can be delivered to users from anyone's website using Drum's nifty HTML and Javascript hooks and WebRTC.

ReadyTalk announced it added more than 1,000 new accounts in 2015 across its lines of business. The company also announced some management changes (see People & Places below) and that it expects to boost its total employee head count by roughly 25% year-over-year.

Jive Communications has released Jive Mobile 2.0, a softphone app that adds new geofencing, video, and texting features to the Jive mobile app. Available for Android and iOS devices, it includes three key sets of enhancements: 1) location-based rules, which automatically turn features like do not disturb on and off depending on where a user is located; 2) video calling for face-to-face meetings; and 3) business texting, which lets users send chat messages to teams and customers on their company phone numbers rather than their personal numbers.

SMART Technologies reports that sales of its kapp dry-erase board are picking up in China. The distributor China Daheng Beijing Software Technology. Co., Ltd ("Daheng") has completed a deal to purchase 4,000 SMART kapp boards for distribution in that country.

Bluescape announced its display and ideation technology now integrates with these third-party services or products: Google Drive, Google Image Search, Microsoft OneDrive, PowerPoint and Word, Box, DropBox, and Adobe Creative Cloud. The company is also bragging like crazy that the TED2016 Conference in Vancouver recently deployed its collaboration / ideation tools in a big way.

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Speaking of displays, a little Redmond-based company interested in a surface near you shipped its Surface Hub. OK we know this news has been out there for a few weeks now. But this is Microsoft. Better late than never!

Nureva has announced its Span 1.2 software, an automatic download delivered through the cloud to its customers. The company has added some familiar business-analysis templates (SWOT analyses, fishbone diagrams, Kanban boards as examples) to make it easier for teams to integrate the Span system into their established processes. An upgrade to the software's digital ink automatically smooths pen strokes to improve the appearance of annotations and sketches, while visual cues and new menu options make the use of groups and subgroups more intuitive.

Dimension Data announced it has acquired the privately owned Ceryx Inc, a Toronto-based service provider that offers a suite of services across the Microsoft Messaging and Collaboration Suite, including Office 365, Exchange, Sharepoint and Skype for Business. The sale price was not disclosed. Ceryx will reside within Dimension Data's ITaaS Service Unit. Ceryx's focus is on Fortune 500 clients, mainly in Canada and the United States, with recent wins in Europe.

Tel Aviv-based Beamr has acquired Vanguard Video, a California-based provider of HEVC and H.264 codec technologies. Beamr has focused on media optimization solutions, with a patent-pending perceptual video optimizer that can reduce video streams the company claims by up to 50%. Vanguard Video brings to the table codec technologies, a nice set of technology customers, and support for a wide range of computing platforms. As part of this process of acquisition, Beamr underwent a $15M funding round led by Disruptive Growth, with the participation of Marker and Innovation Endeavors.

Is it on? Is it off? Is it still dating? The news just keeps up a steady drip that Polycom and Mitel are in "advanced merger talks." Bloomberg is a pretty reliable source, but details are so sketchy as to be pretty questionable. The detail would value Polycom at about $1.7 billion ($12.50 a share). The stock is hovering around $11.56 as we write this now.

Over in the consumer space, 900 million people currently use Facebook Messenger to communicate with one another. Here we go with a business app: Facebook is opening up Messenger (and presumably WhatsApp) for companies to communicate with Facebook members via Messenger, using chat bots. Chat bots are chat robots -- interactive software powered by artificial intelligence - that simulate human conversation. They can be used to perform simple tasks like schedule appointments, shop, send money - and Facebook is counting on all those Facebookers being open to these kinds of interactions (some marketing, some more utilitarian). The $ will come from companies paying Facebook for the access. Reportedly we can opt-out if we prefer to be left alone, thank goodness. We just wrote about B2C video messaging services like YouNow, Twitch, and Periscope coming of age, and how companies are jumping onto that bandwagon. So there's gold in these here hills for brands interested in mining it.

UC audio gear provider Revolabs has announced a major expansion of its Canadian business development efforts, appointing Stampede as its newest distribution partner for the region. Headquartered in Amherst, New York, Stampede has reach well into Canada and is a leading distributor of integrated, custom designed AV/IT technology solutions.

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AVer Information, Inc. has announced a new visual collaboration solution designed for education and business environments. The CC30 HD camera is a wide-angle HD, plug-and-play HDMI and USB collaboration camera with wireless audio. CC30 comes equipped with 120-degree wide angle lens camera and free CaptureShare software to give classrooms and meeting spaces a genuine video conference, livestream, and screencast experience. Users are able to plug CC30 into apps such as YouTube, Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom, Ustream, and others to expand HD video collaboration capabilities. Price starts at $600.

Give 'em five! Video conferencing equipment maker Highfive announced 341% annual growth in customers during 2015 and an expanded Premium offering for its combined hardware and SaaS software solution. Highfive now reports that its customers now account for one million call minutes per week.

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