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Telepresence Options Magazine

Latest Telepresence and Visual Collaboration News:
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Can Cisco kill royalties for video codecs?

August 25, 2015 | Telepresence Options


Story and images Caroline Gabriel / Rethink Wireless

Google made only limited headway against the might of the MPEG LA licensing body when it pushed its no-royalty alternative to H.264, VP8. Now a new round of wars over video codec standards - which will be essential to future mobile content experiences - has broken out. HEVC or H.265, is in the incumbent position, but is being battled by an open source challenger, this time from Cisco.

Cisco argues that HEVC has become too expensive, and too embroiled in a dangerous and costly patent war, to be the undisputed codec of choice for 4K and Ultra-HD video. As well as supporting those next generation video experiences on screens from large TVs to smartphones, HEVC technology will be important for more bandwidth-efficient Full HD delivery, bringing capacity relief to cellular and pay-TV networks.

FCC Chairman Promises Open-Source Video-Conferencing Platform for ASL-Signing Callers

August 25, 2015 | Telepresence Options


Story and images by Ellen Muraskin / Channel Partners Online

FCC Chairman Tim Wheeler addressed the biannual meeting of the Telecommunications for the Deaf, Inc. (TDI) Conference in Baltimore on Thursday, with news of interest to anyone who works in assistive technologies..

The Commission is preparing an open-source videoconferencing platform for ASL (American Sign Language) communication and customer service, to be available "by this time next year." As a first step, Wheeler said, they will release mobile and desktop applications that "allow for text, voice and high-quality video calling into existing TRS (telecommunications relay service) providers."

Cisco Debuts Thor in Video Codec Fight

August 19, 2015 | Telepresence Options


Story and images by Light Reading

Hoping a little superhero power will win the day, Cisco has introduced project Thor, an initiative to create a royalty-free video codec as an alternative to the industry standard H.265. H.265, which is also known by the name High Efficiency Video Codec (HEVC), has been widely expected to pave the way for next-generation television formats like Ultra HD (UHD) TV. However, recent concerns over licensing fees have put a damper on HEVC enthusiasm.

With an eye toward keeping licensing costs in line, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) has released the code for its project Thor codec. This is not a ready-for-use technology, but a project still under development, with Cisco looking for further input. Not only has the company open sourced the code, but it's also shared its work directly with the NetVC workgroup under the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) . NetVC is also aiming to develop a new royalty-free video codec and is accepting contributions from experts in the industry. Mozilla is another active member in the group and has contributed its technology called Daala.

Zero Latency: A world-first VR entertainment facility opens in Melbourne

August 18, 2015 | Telepresence Options


Story and images by Bennett Ring / ISPR

Stepping onto the large freight elevator, my body sways to keep balanced as the rising platform lifts me into the zombie-infested city above. Yet my conscious mind knows I'm actually standing on unmoving concrete and that the sense of motion is all in my head.

I've been playing Zero Latency for mere moments and already I'm amazed at how it overwhelms my senses. This is the world's largest virtual reality (VR) attraction, and its doors open August 15 in North Melbourne, Australia.

AT&T Helped U.S. Spy on Internet on a Vast Scale

August 18, 2015 | Telepresence Options


Story and images by The New York Times

The National Security Agency's ability to spy on vast quantities of Internet traffic passing through the United States has relied on its extraordinary, decades-long partnership with a single company: the telecom giant AT&T.

While it has been long known that American telecommunications companies worked closely with the spy agency, newly disclosed N.S.A. documents show that the relationship with AT&T has been considered unique and especially productive. One document described it as "highly collaborative," while another lauded the company's "extreme willingness to help."

Freshdesk makes its 1st acquisition; buys out live video chat provider

August 18, 2015 | Telepresence Options

Story and images by Radhika P Nair / YourStory

Enterprise software startup Freshdesk has bought out live video chat and co-browsing platform This is the first acquisition for Chennai-based Freshdesk, which offers customer support through the Software as a Service model.

Freshdesk has also crossed the 50,000-clients milestone. Freshdesk's flagship eponymous product was launched in 2011 to offer cloud-based customer support to enterprises of all sizes across platforms ranging from phone and websites to emails and social media.

Earthworks ceiling mics optimise videoconferencing spaces

August 18, 2015 | Telepresence Options


Story and images by Installation

Ceiling-mounted microphones from Earthworks are playing an important role in the upgrade of the videoconferencing rooms at a leading website optimisation platform company's HQ. The system at the San Francisco-based firm was designed and installed by Audio Visual Design Group.

Ceiling mics can present an audio challenge, as Aaron Obstfeld, director of technical services at Audio Visual Design Group, explained: "Ceiling mics by nature are difficult to make sound good due to the distance from participants and the unintended sound they can pick up. These rooms themselves were acoustically challenging as well."

Harvard Student Loses Facebook Internship After Revealing How Messenger Tracked Users

August 14, 2015 | Telepresence Options


Story and images by Geoffrey Grider / InvestmentWatchBlog

His application, called Marauder's Map -- a clever name that Harry Potter fans will appreciate -- was a Chrome extension that used data from Facebook Messenger to map where users were when they sent messages. The app also showed the locations, which were accurate to within three feet, in a group chat with people he barely knew. That meant complete strangers could hypothetically see that he had messaged them from a Starbucks around the corner, while he could see that they had messaged from their dorms.

Khanna tweeted about the app on May 26 and posted about it on Reddit and Medium. Marauder's Map began to go viral. Facebook, never one to miss a trend, quickly caught on.

Microsoft Surface Hub Shipment Delayed: 84-Inch Collaboration Tool Arrives January 2016

August 13, 2015 | Telepresence Options


Story and images by Nicole Arce / Tech Times

Instead of Aug. 1, 2015, Microsoft's 84-inch Surface Hub interactive whiteboard for businesses will start shipping on Jan. 1, 2016.

Microsoft Surface Product Manager Brad Hall announced the change of plans in a blog post, saying the Redmond-based software and devices company wants to tweak its production process to keep up with the unexpectedly "strong demand" for the Surface Hub, for which Microsoft began accepting preorders on Aug. 1.

Cisco Beats Analysts' Sales Estimates on Growth in Americas, Collaboration business up 14%

August 13, 2015 | Telepresence Options


Story and images by Peter Burrows / Bloomberg Business

Cisco Systems Inc. beat analysts expectations for fiscal fourth-quarter revenue, relying on strong sales in the Americas and faster growth in servers for data centers.

Sales increased 3.9 percent to $12.8 billion in the quarter ended July 25, with profit before certain costs of 59 cents a share, Cisco said Wednesday in a statement. Analysts projected sales of $12.7 billion and profit of 56 cents, according to the average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Pexip Adds Staff in Major Markets

August 12, 2015 | Telepresence Options


John Harald Grønninge

Story and images by AVNetwork

Videoconferencing software developer Pexip is expanding by adding staff in several markets in Europe and abroad.

Expansions include the addition of John Harald Grønningen in Barcelona, Spain, and the hiring of industry veterans Eddie Clifton for the U.K. and Ireland, as well as Paulo Cardoso in Brazil. Pexip has also strengthened its presence in Australia through the addition of Mark Bedwani as senior sales engineer.

Glyndwr University opens new holographic centre

August 7, 2015 | Telepresence Options


Story and images by Steve Bagnall / Daily Post

Artists will be able to create holograms with the help of world-leading imaging scientists at a pioneering hybrid research centre.

Wrexham's Glyndŵr University is opening the Centre for Ultra-Realistic Imaging, to allow artists to work side-by-side with research scientists.

Google Has a Fix for WebRTC VPN-related Privacy Issue

August 7, 2015 | Telepresence Options


Story and images by Peter Bernstein / WebRTC Solutions

It is always nice to report some good news and this is one of those instances. For those of you who may remember, a few weeks ago there was a major uproar about the revelation that the New York Times site could leverage WebRTC to track the private IP address of visitors without their permission. That obviously got more than a few people upset when it became public--despite the fact that as far back as February of this year this was uncovered by security researchers as an issue.

Just as a refresh, the problem from a technical perspective is that when WebRTC was used on a website in combination with a STUN server it became possible to reveal those private IP addresses from people coming to the website using a VPN connection. In short, so much for privacy!

Wheelings & Dealings: Twilio's 'Unicorn' Funding Round Worth $130 Million

August 6, 2015 | Telepresence Options


Story and images Tara Seals / WebRTC World

Twilio said that a Series E funding round back in April, which catapulted it into the "Billion Dollar Unicorn" club, totaled more than originally thought. While reports pegged the investment to be around $100 million, it actually came in around $130 million.

Twilio said it will use the additional funding to build out its real-time communications suite, which includes video and IP messaging products, as well as expand internationally.

Bitphone: Enabling Global Calling with WebRTC and Bitcoin

August 6, 2015 | Telepresence Options

What happens when you combine two hot new technologies? The team at SolidCloud has combined WebRTC and Bitcoin to build a new service, dubbed Bitphone. I spent some time talking with Michael Lauricella about the concept and the technology.

Thumbnail image for bitphone.png

Story and images by Phil Edholm / WebRTC World


Bitphone combines the use of the Internet currency Bitcoin with a WebRTC to PSTN calling capability. Basically, you use Bitcoins to put a certain amount of credits into your Bitphone account and then you can use those credits to make phone calls from a device using WebRTC to any PSTN phone globally. Essentially, Bitphone is a prepaid calling card that you can use from any WebRTC device. However, unlike a pre-paid calling card, if you decide not to use the remainder of your deposited Bitcoins, you can get them refunded back to your Bitcoin wallet at any time.

The telepresence revolution: Working from home will soon be radically different

August 4, 2015 | Telepresence Options


Story and images by Rob Lane / TechRadar

The phrase 'working from home', so often accompanied by air quotation marks when referred to by those who are chained to their offices, is starting to take on new meaning. This shift in emphasis is a result of new and evolving technologies that are bringing the office, virtually, into our homes, and us, virtually, into the office.

But the idea behind this rapidly evolving working revolution isn't a new one and is based around the word 'telepresence' ­- which itself has influences as far back as 1918.


'Tape Your Webcam': Horrifying Malware Broadcasts You to the World

July 30, 2015 | Telepresence Options


Story and images by Steven Nelson / U.S. News

The Internet is flush with webcam videos of people who clicked unwittingly on a malware link and opened their computer to anonymous miscreants intent on mocking, blackmailing or simply spying on them, according to a report being published Thursday.

There's not enough being done about such little-known but alarming invasions of privacy, the Digital Citizens Alliance says in its report on computer "slaving" by programs known as Remote Access Trojans, or RATs.

Change Of Guard At Citrix Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CTXS)

July 29, 2015 | Telepresence Options


Story and images by Viraj Shah / Live Trading News

A series of announcements made by Citrix Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CTXS) suggest that the company is in for a major organizational reshuffle. The company announced its second quarter earnings and the retirement of its CEO Mark Templeton.

Templeton had joined the company in 1995 as the Vice President of Marketing. He rose to the position of President in 1998 and to that of the CEO in 2001.

'Internet-scale anonymity': Researchers unveil high-speed Tor alternative

July 28, 2015 | Telepresence Options


Story and images by RT

An international team of researchers have presented a new routing network they say paves the way for internet-scale anonymity." A more secure alternative to the Tor, the new HORNET suggests better scaling and much greater browsing speeds.

The "High-speed Onion Routing at the Network Layer" (HORNET) was developed by five researchers from the UK, the USA and Switzerland. A research paper, presented earlier this week, outlines details of their project which is yet to undergo large scale tests and a peer review process.

Review: 4 low-cost videoconferencing devices keep you connected (video)

July 27, 2015 | Telepresence Options


The AVer VC520, the Lifesize Icon Flex, the Ricoh Unified Communication System (UCS) P3500 and the Logitech ConferenceCam Connect

Story and images by Brian Nadel / Computerworld

We all know that there's nothing like face time to get your point across at a company brainstorming session or to convince a reluctant customer to close the deal -- but these days, that is often not possible. Meeting remotely has become much more a part of standard business practice, especially with many employees located far from their company's main office and with businesses from small to large dealing with clients on an international scale.

Until recently, converting your meeting space to accommodate video communication with out-of-office participants meant you had to install expensive (and permanent) equipment -- or cope with an unsatisfactory speakerphone. However, new hardware is now available that can turn any office, cubicle or even café table into a videoconference zone.

Embrace Video

September 2, 2014 | Telepresence Options

Shaping a new SMART

September 17, 2013 | Telepresence Options

Focus on the Future

March 2, 2012 | Hogan Keyser

First Look: Cisco Cius

February 13, 2012 | Hogan Keyser

Eye Ball

January 2, 2012 | Hogan Keyser

iPad face, robot body

December 5, 2011 | Hogan Keyser

3D Research and Application

September 30, 2011 | Hogan Keyser

Polycom Acquires Accordent

March 24, 2011 | 

Low-cost Video Chat Robot

February 11, 2011 | Kendal Kirby

New BlackBerry PlayBook

September 29, 2010 | Chris Payatagool

DiData UK Buys Mvision

September 17, 2010 | Howard Lichtman

In The Picture

April 12, 2010 | Howard Lichtman

TelePresence @ Home

February 4, 2009 | Chris Payatagool

FOXSexpert: Hooking Up to Internet Sex Toys

November 25, 2008 | John Serrao

Holobama: 'Holograms' greet Election 2008

November 6, 2008 | John Serrao

Home again

September 15, 2008 | Chris Payatagool

War Is Halo

July 28, 2008 | Chris Payatagool

WAN refresh

April 2, 2008 | Chris Payatagool