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Telepresence Options Magazine

Latest Telepresence and Visual Collaboration News:
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AI can doctor videos to put words in the mouths of speakers

May 23, 2017 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by New Scientist

Artificial intelligence can put words right into your mouth. A new system takes a still image of a person and an audio clip, and uses them to create a doctored video of the person speaking the audio. The results are still a little rough around the edges, but the software could soon make realistically fake videos only a single click away.

It works by first identifying facial features using face-recognition algorithms. As the audio clip plays, the system then manipulates the mouth of the person in the still image so that it looks as if they are speaking. Very little pre-processing is required, so all of this can be done in real time.

Princeton/Adobe technology will let you edit voices like text

May 23, 2017 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by Kurzweil

Technology developed by Princeton University computer scientists may do for audio recordings of the human voice what word processing software did for the written word and Adobe Photoshop did for images.

"VoCo" software, still in the research stage, makes it easy to add or replace a word in an audio recording of a human voice by simply editing a text transcript of the recording. New words are automatically synthesized in the speaker's voice -- even if they don't appear anywhere else in the recording.

Vaddio and ScanSource Imago Sign Distribution Agreement

May 23, 2017 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by AV Magazine

ScanSource Imago will provide resellers with Vaddio's specialist PTZ cameras for conferencing, lecture capture and general AV, as well as its enterprise video collaboration and bridging systems.

ScanSource Imago will also deliver the value-added services and support necessary, including education and training, technical support and marketing support, so that resellers can focus on growing sales and enhancing customer relationships.

I finally believe in Microsoft's mixed reality vision

May 23, 2017 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by Engadget

Using HoloLens and Acer headsets in a shared environment is fascinating.

For years, Microsoft has been talking about its dream of mixed reality -- the idea that AR and VR headsets can work together in harmony across virtual and physical environments. But until now, it really has just been talk. At its Build developer conference this week, I finally saw a mixed reality demo that made Microsoft's ambitious vision seem achievable. It was more than just shared VR -- something we've seen plenty of already -- it was a group experience that brought together HoloLens and Acer's virtual-reality headsets in intriguing ways.

To be clear, I was running through Microsoft's Mixed Reality Academy at Build, a simplified version of a developer class meant for journalists and analysts. It goes over the basics of building a virtual experience in Unity, while also giving you time to actually explore those environments. I went through an earlier version of the class two years ago that was entirely focused on HoloLens, but this week's version showed how HoloLens (and future AR headsets) can coexist with Acer's Windows 10 VR gear.

Sony's Richard Marks Says Star Trek: Bridge Crew's Co-Presence Could Be Big for VR

May 16, 2017 | Telepresence Options

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Sony's Richard Marks, head of the PlayStation Magic lab, was one of the public faces of PlayStation VR due to his team's technical breakthroughs while building the headset.

Speaking with Glixel on a wide range of VR related topics, Marks pointed out Ubisoft's Star Trek: Bridge Crew as one of the potential hits due to both its well-known IP and the co-presence factor of multiplayer.

"I like to compare it to video conferencing. I think you feel more present with somebody in VR than you do with a video conference. With video conference - and that's what we were trying to highlight with that robots demo - is the spatial cues are all wrong with video conference. The people don't look you in the eyes. They look over at something, and you don't even know what it is they're looking at because you're not sharing that same environment with them. And so you never quite feel like you're there with them. You know, it always feels like they're just kind of stuck on a TV screen. Whereas you go into VR and suddenly they feel like they're right next to you. And that's a very compelling feeling."

Unify: Back from the Brink

May 15, 2017 | Telepresence Options

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Unify has gone through more transitions and transformations than any other UC company. In the past 10 years, it has had three changes in ownership, four changes in leadership, three different company names, one major launch, and significant changes in go-to-market approaches.

Ever since Atos acquired Unify in 2016, there's been lingering doubt about the company's future. But now it's full-speed ahead.

Google's Royalty-Free Answer to HEVC: A Look at AV1 and the Future of Video Codecs

May 15, 2017 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by XDA-Developers

Almost 5 years ago Google first released VP9, the royalty free video codec that aimed to replace H.264 as the primary codec for online streaming and media consumption. While VP9 was not completely successful in that task, it has laid the foundation for Google's next generation codec, AOMedia Video 1 (AV1), which is looking extremely promising.

When VP9 first released, there were substantial doubts about how it would fare against the upcoming HEVC codec, which was backed by the same groups that lead to H.264's popularity over On2's TrueMotion VP3, Xiph's Theora, Microsoft's VC-1, and many others. And yet, here we are 5 years later, and VP9 has taken the world by storm. While HEVC has failed to find software support, with Edge being the only major internet browser to support it (and even then, only on certain processors), VP9 is now baked into every modern web browser except for Safari, and its royalty free nature has been a key factor in creating that situation.

20 Skype Tips for Cheap and Easy Chats

May 15, 2017 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by PCMag

Everyone knows what it means to "skype"--it's the modern verb for internet phone calls and video conferencing, all on the cheap (sometimes even when you're not using the Skype service itself). No matter the mobile or desktop OS you use, there's a version of Skype that can connect you to friends, loved ones, and business associates far and wide.

Skype arrived in Europe in 2003, the brainchild of the guys who once ran file-sharing service Kazaa. It has since been owned by investor groups and eBay; it's been in Microsoft's hands since 2011.

Invoke Speaker Is Microsoft's version of the creepy listening device called Amazon Echo

May 8, 2017 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by Tom's Guide

A new AI-slinging speaker is rolling into the living room. After a brief tease last year, Microsoft and Harman Kardon today revealed the Invoke, a Microsoft Cortana-powered speaker coming this fall to challenge Amazon Echo and Google Home.

First teased in late 2016, the Invoke will free Cortana from PCs and smartphones, allowing you to control your music and smart home with your voice. Available in black and silver, the Invoke's cylindrical body makes it look like a taller, more tapered Amazon Echo, complete with a glowing, twistable top piece.

Lyrebird is a voice mimic for the fake news era

April 27, 2017 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by TechCrunch

A Montreal-based AI startup called Lyrebird has taken the wraps off a voice imitation algorithm that the team says can not only mimic the speech of a real person but shift its emotional cadence -- and do all this with just a tiny snippet of real world audio.

The public demo, released online yesterday, consists of a series audio samples of (fake) speech generated using their algorithm and one minute voice samples of the speakers. They've used voice samples from Presidents Trump, Obama and Hillary Clinton to demo the tech in action -- and for maximum FAKE NEWS impact, obviously.

Virtual reality's cousin generating lots of buzz as Facebook, Apple, others focus on it

April 27, 2017 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by Phys.org

Last year, virtual reality generated lots of buzz. This year, the buzz is around a different kind of "reality" technology that could end up being more popular and useful.

That technology is dubbed "augmented reality" and it involves layering virtual information over views, images or videos of the real world. It could be something as simple as adding a virtual ballcap to a picture you've taken or as sophisticated as identifying on a screen in real time the person across the room and the place you are in.

AMD buys Nitero wireless VR startup

April 14, 2017 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by TechCrunch

AMD has acquired Nitero, a company that builds wireless chips for streaming virtual reality content from desktop computers to headsets, Forbes reports. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Quite a few things held VR headset adoption back in 2016, but one of the most visible issues (aside from price) were the bulky cords required by most high-end headsets. HTC's Vive, Facebook's Oculus Rift and Sony's PlayStation VR all require data and power transfer cables.

Google Duo Adds Voice Calling Support To Compete With WhatsApp

April 11, 2017 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by TelecomTalk

Launched at the Google I/O 2016 event back in May, Google Duo quickly became one of the top downloaded application in the Google Play Store. That largely is because of the simple user interface and stability of the application. It's been almost one year since Duo launched and all these days; it just served as a video calling app.

After hearing it from the users itself, Google is adding the voice calling support for Google Duo to compete with the Facebook-owned WhatsApp. If you recall, Google added the voice calling feature to its app last month, but it was rolled out to Brazil users, and now, Justin Uberti, the technical lead for Duo at Google announced the global rollout of the feature in Twitter.

Preparing for the Collaborative Classrooms of Tomorrow

April 5, 2017 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by AVNetwork

Remember the days of students sitting in grid-like classroom rows with a teacher sitting behind a desk glued to a laptop screen? Those days are going, going, soon to be gone, said Jason Meyer, senior product manager, Epson America. So what's next?

"Moveable furniture, multiple monitors, document cameras, and interactive projectors--that's what the future classroom looks like," he said. "In other words, it's about 'active learning,' introduced as a collaborative learning space promoting both creativity and critical thinking, with an aim to provide equal visual and auditory accessibility for students, regardless of where they are sitting in the classroom. As the idea continues to grow in popularity and expand in capabilities, the need for collaboration-enabling technology will be crucial."

Study: Videoconferencing is more effective when you can't see yourself

April 5, 2017 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by HR Dive

Dive Brief:

  • Marquette University researchers found that videoconferencing participants were more productive and happier with their performance when they couldn't see themselves on the screen, CBC News reports. The researchers said that participants worry about how they look, act and speak, which distracts them from the work at hand.
  • The study divided participants into two groups: Those who could see themselves on the video screen and those who could not. The latter group showed higher performance and satisfaction with the outcome of conversations than the former.
  • Researchers aren't sure of the cause, but they think it relates to a phenomenon psychologists call "objective self-awareness," in which seeing oneself on screen detracts from individual focus.

5 Game Changers Emerge at Enterprise Connect

April 4, 2017 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by No Jitter

Another Enterprise Connect is in the books! This year's event signaled the continued transformation of enterprise communications from one dominated by IP telephony to a varied landscape featuring a broad array of internal and external collaboration and communications platforms.

Here's what I see as the five biggest game changers from my week under the glass big top otherwise known as the Gaylord Palms in Orlando, Fla.:

3 Significant Reasons Video Is Crucial To The Future Of The Audiovisual Industry

April 3, 2017 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by The Huffington Post

Look around and it's no wonder why visuals have and always will have a significant impact on the AV industry. From display advancements to the surge of virtual video, it's in our DNA.

Let's take a look at where we're at and where we headed and the impact video will have on the audiovisual industry moving forward.

6 Ways to Invest in AR...Including Social and Communications

April 3, 2017 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by UploadVR

Augmented reality is generating a lot of excitement, particularly with rumors that Apple will enter the market sometime soon, alongside such competitors as Microsoft and Google.

Digi-Capital, a tech advisor, believes that the combined market for augmented and virtual reality could be $108 billion by 2021. And 2016 was a critical year for AR, with new device announcements, major acquisitions, and massive adoption from consumers and enterprises alike.

RBC is using video conferencing to bring the human touch back to banking

March 31, 2017 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by Tearsheet

With talk of intelligent machines making the banking experience less personal, at least one major institution is taking a turn in the other direction by letting customers video conference with real people.

The Royal Bank of Canada, Canada's largest bank, launched its MyAdvisor pilot this week -- a feature that lets customers schedule video conferences with financial advisors. The bank said it's making the move because talking to a real person still matters for their customers. "Clients told us that when it comes to investing, trust is key," said Michael Walker, vp and head of mutual funds distribution and financial planning at RBC. "For most clients, they build trust with human beings first -- not just technology."

BlueJeans teams with Dolby for teleconference audio clarity

March 29, 2017 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by ITworld

BlueJeans customers will be getting improved call quality, thanks to a partnership the company unveiled Tuesday. Dolby is working with the videoconferencing company to improve call clarity for people using its service.

As part of the deal, BlueJeans will integrate Dolby Voice technology for all the video and audio calls made using its service. It will provide a number of benefits to users, like reducing background noise on calls and normalizing sound levels from different speakers.

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