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Telepresence Options Magazine

Latest Telepresence and Visual Collaboration News:
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Polycom Receives Revised Offer From Second Potential Buyer

May 24, 2016 | Telepresence Options

Polycom Inc., which had agreed to be bought out by Canadian telecommunications company Mitel Networks Corp. , on Monday disclosed a revised offer from a second buyer that could derail the nearly $2 billion Mitel deal.

Shares of Polycom, down 17% over the past 12 months, rose 4% to $11.56 in after-hours trading.

Under the terms of the revised offer, which Polycom said may constitute a "superior" or financially more favorable proposal for Polycom shareholders, the unidentified private-equity firm presented two plans: an $11-a-share cash dividend, or the choice to trade the dividend for a new convertible preferred stock; or a "take private" deal of $11.50-a-share in cash with a contingent of up to $3 a share.

In both cases, Polycom said, the cash dividend, existing debt and the $60 million termination fee to Mitel would be paid using proceeds from the sale of preferred stock, $870 million in new debt and available cash.

GenieCast Offering 800+ Speakers Over Videoconferencing

May 12, 2016 | Telepresence Options

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Geniecast, a startup in two-way business videoconferencing events, is on a growth curve at the historic 555 Washington Avenue building in downtown St. Louis.

The company has 17 employees but occupies enough space -- nearly 13,000 square feet on the building's fourth floor -- to accommodate many more workers. Company leaders expect the headcount to grow to several hundred within two to three years.

Geniecast touts itself as the world's largest online marketplace of thought leaders, speakers, experts and consultants available on live, two-way videocast. The company refers to its approximately 800 speakers as "Genies" expert in customer service, business best practices, leadership or other trending industry topics.

Video Conferencing Analytics Firm Vyopta Adds Another $1M to their Previous $5M Round

May 11, 2016 | Telepresence Options

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Austin--Vyopta, which provides a video conferencing system dashboard for businesses, said Wednesday it has added $1 million to a $5 million funding round it announced in February.

AVX Partners, the company's investor in the previous round, is putting up the additional $1 million. Allison Smith, a spokeswoman for the company, said Vyopta decided to take the additional funding last month after receiving interest from other investors following the February announcement.

"Ultimately, we accepted the additional $1 million from the same partners (AVX) and under the exact same terms (valuation, etc.) as the additional $5 million so officially it will be listed as a part of the same round," she wrote in an e-mail.

Why Videoconferencing? Thanks to the TSA, almost 7,000 passengers missed their flights in just one week on just one airline!

May 9, 2016 | Telepresence Options

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And in other news, the TSA continues to suck.

It isn't even summer yet, and major problems with longer and longer TSA screening times are happening at major airports across the nation, including Seattle, Chicago, Atlanta, Charlotte, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and San Jose just to name a few. During Spring Break (March 14-20) this year alone, an estimated 6,800 airline passengers missed their flights due to TSA screening delays on American Airlines -- just American Airlines.

Who knows how many people in total -- mostly innocent Americans who bought a ticket to ride on a plane simply because they want to travel quickly from one place to another -- missed their flights that week in this country. Or how many miss a flight in total on a daily basis thanks to TSA. The number would probably shock us all... or not. (It is the TSA we're talking about.)

H.I.G Capital, a private equity firm, completes acquisition of AVI-SPL

May 9, 2016 | Telepresence Options

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H.I.G. Capital, a global private equity investment firm with $19 billion of equity capital under management, has acquired AVI-SPL through an affiliate.

AVI-SPL is an end-to-end provider of AV and collaboration solutions for organisations of all types around the world. The H.I.G. deal positions the integrator for opportunities in the growing collaboration solutions markets and helps them meet the demands of enterprise clients seeking global standards and delivery platforms.

Headquartered in Tampa, Florida, AVI-SPL has 1,500 employees throughout 35 locations worldwide, with 29 offices in the US and six internationally (Canada, UK and UAE). The company's extensive office footprint has supported the completion of over 35,000 AV and video collaboration deployments since 2008 in over 101 countries. A diverse array of clients rely on AVI-SPL to design, engineer and integrate increasingly complex collaboration solutions and to support their systems with maintenance, on-site staff and cloud-based managed services.

Richard Stokes, a managing director at H.I.G. Capital, commented: "AVI-SPL is the established market leader in the AV systems and collaboration solutions market and we look forward to supporting the continued expansion of the company's service offering and geographic footprint."

What's Driving Mitel's $2B Polycom Acquisition?

April 26, 2016 | Howard Lichtman

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Scale, partnerships and innovation are three main motivations for Mitel's recently announced $1.96 billion acquisition of Polycom. But it won't be easy making the combined operation successful.

The two companies earlier this month announced plans to combine to create a business with combined expected annual revenue of about $2.5 billion, specializing in cloud and on-premises video, calling and collaboration. Mitel Networks Corp. sells cloud-based on-premises PBX and hybrid voice and unified communications systems to enterprises and communications service providers.

Polycom Inc. (Nasdaq: PLCM) is a video-conferencing systems vendor, which will retain its brand. The combined company will be based in Ottawa, Canada, where Mitel is currently headquartered, and have about 7,700 staff, run by Mitel CEO Rich McBee. (See Mitel to Buy Polycom for $1.96B.)

Mitel's 2015 revenue was $1.16 billion with an operating loss of $10.2 million, while Polycom reported $1.27 billion revenue and an operating profit of $86.1 million.

Continue reading...

Exertis targets SME market with Yealink's video conferencing solutions

April 25, 2016 | Telepresence Options

Yealink_VC400.jpgExertis has announced the distribution of Yealink's video conferencing (VC) series, designed specifically for the SME market.

The Yealink VC range of products are an exciting opportunity for resellers to offer a truly cost effective, enterprise-grade video conferencing solution without high costs or advanced technical expertise, said the distie.

Yealink offers ease-of-use, plug and play video solutions that are affordable and profitable for the channel.

"Yealink delivers a friendly UI with easy-to-use buttons allowing almost all operations to be carried out in just three simple steps," said Michael Thompson, Exertis UC business manager.

Imago ScanSource Launches i-Kandy Video Conferencing System

April 19, 2016 | Telepresence Options

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Immersive telepresence at a video conferencing price

Imago's i-Kandy Bundle Combines Polycom's Group 500 Series

and the Array Telepresence Equal-i Imaging System

London, 19 April 2016. Imago ScanSource, Europe's largest video solutions company, is launching a brand new video conferencing system, i-Kandy, bringing together two powerful products from the industry's leading players Polycom and Array Telepresence.

i-Kandy combines the Array Equal-i image processor and DX dual-headed camera with the Polycom Group 500 video, voice and collaboration system. This unique new offering will provide customers with a cutting edge immersive telepresence experience that maximises all the power of the Polycom engine with the transformative impact of the Array image technology.

Imago ScanSource is offering its reseller channel the opportunity to become authorised partners for i-Kandy, which will enable them to take advantage of the available training programmes, secure improved margins and deliver installation services to customers. Imago ScanSource is also currently providing a 2-for-1 offer on i-Kandy for a limited period.

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.

The past and future of the videoconference room, Part 3: The User Interface

April 12, 2016 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by Network World

In the first of this series of blogs, I discussed the history and future of videoconferencing cameras, in the second I discussed the hierarchy of rooms/spaces/environments for visual collaboration. This - part three - is about how to use the darned things.

From the earliest days of technology in enterprise conference rooms the user interface (UI) has been a contentious, problematic and difficult part of users' satisfaction with that technology. All UIs have to achieve a balance between simplicity and power. The more that they can do, the harder they are to operate. So because videoconferencing has traditionally been hard, the UI has needed to do a lot to meet the needs.

Logicalis Launches Managed Video Conferencing Service

March 30, 2016 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by Aldrin Brown / MSPmentor

Logicalis announced today the launch of a managed unified communications and video collaboration service, aimed at providing reliable conferencing for enterprises.

The international solutions and managed services provider said the new offering includes monitoring, management and maintenance, to ensure optimal performance and free in-house IT resources for more strategic tasks.

Microsoft wants to 'holoport' you into a conversation elsewhere

March 28, 2016 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by Blair Hanley Frank / Computerworld

Microsoft wants to bring HoloLens users into a conversation with other folks who aren't in the room, using a technology developed by its research division that enables "holoportation."

It's a product of Microsoft Research's Interactive 3D Technologies group, which released a YouTube video showing different people appearing in a room alongside Shahram Izadi, a partner research manager. While Izadi was being recorded in person, the other people who joined him (including his daughter) were displayed as digital renderings while being recorded in another room.

Why Video Collaboration Lags in the Workplace

March 22, 2016 | Telepresence Options

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Enterprises are not taking advantage of video collaboration and conferencing even though workers welcome the technology, according to a survey.

Although enterprise-ready video is available, it is not being widely used in the workplace, according to a new survey. The survey found that of the 41 percent of those who use video as a collaboration tool in the workplace, 57 percent rely on it less than once a month. The survey of 554 U.S.-employed Internet users 18 years old and over was conducted by ConnectSolutions, a Microsoft partner, in February. "Unfortunately for many, video is something you respond to rather than initiate," said Christopher Martini, vice president of Microsoft Skype for Business. "But while workers have been slow in unlocking video's potential, the tech is there and workers are ready to use it." The problem may be related to old habits, according to the survey; while consumers are constantly finding new uses for video on mobile devices, video's role in the enterprise has traditionally been limited to formal video conferences and training sessions. Here are some highlights of the survey.

Optoma launches ultra-wide short throw laser projector

March 17, 2016 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by ET Now

Optoma has announced the latest addition to its ultra-short throw product range - the. Based on laser-phosphor technology, the ZH300UW is designed for business, education and specialist AV applications.

Featuring a solid-state laser-phosphor light engine instead of a traditional projector lamp, the ZH300UW produces a brightness of 3,000 lumens and a contrast ratio of 10,000:1. Apart from delivering great colours, the laser engine eliminates the cost of replacement projector lamps, and has a life expectancy of up to 20,000 hours.

Lumens introduces HD PTZ USB Camera

March 17, 2016 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by InAVate

Lumens has announced a camera offering non-compressed and no latency 1080p/60pfs video and USB 3.0 support.

The VC-B20U is suited to videoconferencing and event recording environments, and works with Windows, Mac OS X and Android operating systems.

Microsoft Grooms Skype for Business for Rooms

March 17, 2016 | Telepresence Options

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Microsoft's Zig Serafin addresses the crowd during his Enterprise Connect keynote.

Story and images by Dave Michels / No Jitter

Apparently taking the old saying "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again" to heart, Microsoft once again touted solutions for video-enabling conference rooms from the keynote stage at Enterprise Connect, which took place last week. This time its approach applies to a wider range of rooms, and involves new solutions from Logitech and Polycom.

We live in digital times, but too many of our meeting facilities remain analog, with basic whiteboards, speakerphones, and simple displays and projectors. Many vendors have introduced "huddle room" solutions that are meant to make video conferencing more accessible to and cost-effective for small and medium corporate meeting spaces.

Exclusive: Mitel and Polycom in merger talks amid pressure from Elliott - sources

March 16, 2016 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by Michael Flaherty / Reuters

Canada's Mitel Networks Corp (MNW.TO) is in talks to merge with U.S. peer Polycom Inc (PLCM.O), in a deal that would combine the voice and telephony equipment providers and heed the demands of hedge fund Elliott Management, sources said on Tuesday.

Mitel, the smaller of the two companies with a $1.11 billion market value, made the initial approach to buy Polycom, according to sources familiar with the matter, but the talks remain fluid and the final structure is still being worked out.

Droidcam Allows Android Phone to Double as Webcam for your PC

March 14, 2016 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by Tehran Chronicle

It is obvious that you could just download Hangouts or Skype on Android phone and perform the video call on your phone itself. But if your phone is quite small or if the video conferencing calls for a scenario where you need to broadcast a wider view of you, that's when this post can come in handy.

You could also need this in the event you don't have an actual webcam with you.

PetChatz HD: Videoconference with your pet for $379

March 14, 2016 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by Jessica Van Sac / Boston Herald

You can now "Skype" with your dog -- in high-definition video.

The just-released PetChatz HD is a two-way video and audio terminal that even allows you to remotely dispense treats to your furry friends.

Ten Rules of Etiquette for Videoconferencing

March 14, 2016 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by Sally French / WSJ

It's the big day. You have a videoconference with the chief executive of your company to pitch your ideas. You're on time, and you couldn't be more prepared for your presentation.

But are you up-to-date with your online--and on-camera--etiquette?

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