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Story and images by TechTarget
In UC news, collaboration software provider PGi is set to acquire cloud communications provider ReadyTalk; IHS Markit report names BroadSoft as UCaaS platform market share leader.
The unified communications consolidation carousel continues to go round. Collaboration software provider Premiere Global Services Inc., or PGi, last week announced plans to acquire ReadyTalk, a cloud communications provider that offers audio, web and video conferencing.
ReadyTalk's focus on midmarket customers and carrier partners aligns with PGi's go-to-market priorities for 2017 and beyond, PGi said in a release. ReadyTalk, based in Denver, is a communications provider that offers collaboration software to more than 6,000 small and midsize businesses.
Story and images by Nanalyze
Smart devices have made the world a much smaller place. At all times, we have the ability to connect with friends, family, and colleagues. Never before in the history of business, has real-time collaboration between offices and individuals located across the world from each other been so attainable for businesses of all sizes. As our ability to connect has grown, fast and complex collaboration has become a requirement to stay on the cutting edge in competitive industries. This will get even more intense with the arrival of virtual reality.
Las Vegas' Mob Museum is one of the few museums to offer tours via telepresence robot.
Story and images by CNET
Pamela Forth was determined to bring a little culture into her fiancé's life.
That was no easy feat. Two decades earlier, a car accident left Roger Sprong a quadriplegic, with limited mobility. That made any trip too far beyond his Valparaiso, Indiana, home a challenge.
Story and images by SlashGear
Google's messaging platform strategy has never really been stable. Over the years it has switched from one system and app to the next, practically promising "this" would be it. Substitute "this" with Voice, Messages, Hangouts, and now Allo and Duo, and you pretty much get the picture. Unfortunately for those who actually invested in, for example, Hangouts, they might soon find their investments rendered useless as Google shuts down Hangouts' API that third-party app developers once used to hook into the service.
Hangouts was supposed to be the be all and end all of Google's messaging platform, a single coherent brand both users and developers could rally behind. Although initially a part of the now obsolete Google+, Hangouts quickly group from group video chat to all-around phone, text, one-on-one video call, and video conferencing service. It even became the umbrella name for a stillborn Helpouts video chat assistance service.
Story and images by Digital Trends
When people think of a good videoconferencing solution, they often focus on video quality when evaluating the experience. That's a valid approach, of course, because it's the video that separates video conferencing from phone calls.
But audio is equally as important. It's not terribly helpful to see the person or group you're talking to in crystal-clear video if you can't make out what they're saying. Google understands that, which is why it has acquired voice communications company Limes Audio.
Story and images by No Jitter
Everyone loves a good rivalry. Red Sox vs. Yankees, Kirk vs. Khan, Lauren Conrad vs. Heidi Pratt nee Montag (yes, I love The Hills), Trump vs. Clinton... and, in unified communications, Microsoft vs. Cisco. These two UC leaders have been battling it out for years, giving rise to raging debates over which has the better voice, desktop, cloud, and mobile strategy.
While I'm sure the fighting will soon enough center on team collaboration and virtual meeting spaces -- Cisco Spark vs. Microsoft Teams -- more immediately it'll be about the physical meeting space. Despite the hype around virtual working, the rise of millennials, and other similar trends, the fact remains that people still do meet in physical spaces to get stuff done. Also, businesses are building out a wider variety of places to meet. They've got their large boardroom-style rooms, as well as their huddle rooms, medium-sized conference rooms, open spaces, and almost any other kind of configuration imaginable. Truth be told, anywhere people meet is a meeting space.
An image of a Hyperface pattern, specifically created to contain thousands of facial recognition hits. Photograph: Adam Harvey
Story and images by The Guardian
The use of facial recognition software for commercial purposes is becoming more common, but, as Amazon scans faces in its physical shop and Facebook searches photos of users to add tags to, those concerned about their privacy are fighting back.
Berlin-based artist and technologist Adam Harvey aims to overwhelm and confuse these systems by presenting them with thousands of false hits so they can't tell which faces are real.
Story and images by Kurzweilai
Apple's first paper on artificial intelligence, published Dec. 22 on arXiv (open access), describes a method for improving the ability of a deep neural network to recognize images.
To train neural networks to recognize images, AI researchers have typically labeled (identified or described) each image in a dataset. For example, last year, Georgia Institute of Technology researchers developed a deep-learning method to recognize images taken at regular intervals on a person's wearable smartphone camera.
Virginia university students linked together by telepresence robots and videoconferencing are tele-present elsewhere using flying drones
The drones project is sponsored by 4-VA, a statewide initiative that promotes collaboration among Virginia universities. The teams attend the same class but from their respective campuses, linked in real time through videoconferencing technology. Students are taught by faculty from each university with assistance from a group of Northern Virginia entrepreneurs who produce commercial drone technology.
The entrepreneurs use "telepresence robots, which are basically like iPads on wheels," said Sean McCarthy, an assistant professor at JMU.
"They actually float around the room and interact with students on their projects in real time."
Story and images by Lisa Eadicicco / Fortune
Companies like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft have spent years proclaiming that technologies like virtual and augmented reality represent the future of how we live and work. While teachers and doctors are already experimenting with such technology, VR and AR devices still have a ways to go before they're as ubiquitous as smartphones and tablets.
Local organizations in New York City are hoping to accelerate that process. A new lab will soon launch in New York City designed to support growing startups working in the augmented and virtual reality fields, making it the first publicly-funded initiative of its kind in the U.S. It's a joint effort between the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME), which issues filming permits and facilitates film and media production throughout the city.
Story and images by Pocket-lint
Virtual reality isn't limited to gaming.
Ever since the Oculus Rift VR headset debuted a few years ago, most of the talk surrounding the latest VR craze has centered around gaming. Most of the demos we've seen for the Rift, for instance, are some type of game. Although we know VR can extend into other applications, including to travel across the world from the comfort of your home, one area that hasn't been discussed a lot is social.
Story and images by NAsdaq
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT ) is enjoying a resurgence as it closes out 2016. While rival Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL ) has repeatedly come under fire for new product releases this year, MSFT has been looking like the innovative company.
Surface sales are on fire. New products like the Surface Studio PC are making rivals look boring in comparison, and MSFT is about to launch Cortana in the home. But, one bit of good news the company shared on its blog may be the true surprise of 2016: the Surface Hub - its massive (and expensive) wall-mounted system - is seeing sales levels that exceed MSFT's hopes and blow away predictions
Story and images by Windows
Our team gets so excited about meeting new Surface users and hearing their feedback, and we get to meet a lot more this holiday season! From Surface Pro, to Surface Book, to Surface Studio, to Surface Hub, we're having our best holiday ever.
In October, the unveiling of Surface Studio and Surface Dial captured people's imagination with a completely new way to create at your desk. The announcement of Surface Book with Performance Base took the laptop with industry-leading customer satisfaction and made it even better by adding twice the graphics power and 30% more battery.
Story and images by Dave Michels / No Jitter
It used to be simple. For decades, there were two kinds of enterprises: those that realized the benefits of video conferencing and those that did not. An entire video strategy could be summarized in one word: either yes or no.
Today just about every organization has some video conferencing. That's because every laptop, tablet, and smartphone, as well as most desktops, is equipped with a camera. Quality freemium and premium applications make video pervasive in modern life. The question isn't if you do video or not, but how deeply?
Story and images by Sudhir Chowdhary / Financial Express
San Jose, California-based Prysm is helping enterprises define a new way of work. One where applications, content, video conferencing and the web can all be easily combined into a visual workspace where teams can create, edit and share.
San Jose, California-based Prysm is helping enterprises define a new way of work. One where applications, content, video conferencing and the web can all be easily combined into a visual workspace where teams can create, edit and share. These interactive workspaces are stored in the cloud and available on any sized screen, says Amit Jain, president and CEO, Prysm. Before founding Prysm, Jain was CEO of Bigbear Network and co-founder and CEO of Versatile Optical Networks, which was acquired by Vitesse Semiconductor. According to Jain, GE has chosen Prysm technology to spark team innovation and collaboration within the company. Prysm had launched its services in India last year, and since then has conducted about a dozen customer implementations across large enterprises, he tells Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interaction. Excerpts:
How do you see the Indian market for a virtual workplace solution?
Story and images by Brian Fung / The Washington Post
If you're like most Americans, you probably learned about Pearl Harbor from a textbook or by watching a film about the surprise attack in 1941 against U.S. naval forces.
But now, visitors to a Washington-area museum can experience a measure of what it was really like to be at the scene.
Story and images by Channel Partners
Broadview Networks, the cloud UC provider, is bringing multiple enhancements to its conferencing solution and revising its user interface
Broadview said it has updated OfficeSuiteHD, the company's meeting service, in an effort to increase employee productivity. Updates include the ability to use two cameras at the same time, remote support sessions, break out sessions within a conference call, and the ability to pause and resume recording.
Story and images by MIT News
One of the limits of today's virtual reality (VR) headsets is that they have to be tethered to computers in order to process data well enough to deliver high-resolution visuals. But wearing an HDMI cable reduces mobility and can even lead to users tripping over cords.
Fortunately, researchers from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have recently unveiled a prototype system called "MoVR" that allows gamers to use any VR headset wirelessly.
Story and images by The Register
IBM is testing out a group chat collaboration tool branded Project Toscana, but judging by the reaction from channel partners involved in the beta, it's not going to worry Microsoft, Slack or anyone else for a while yet.
Toscana, which will run on a browser or as an app, includes IBM's tools in the Collaboration Platform - Sametime Chat and Advanced, Connections Files, Activities - and features include note-taking and integration of consumer type social media.
Story and images by Ars Technica
Facebook-owned WhatsApp has announced that video calls will--at last--be rolling out imminently, a move that came on the same day Microsoft revealed that Skype can now be used online without registration.
WhatsApp video chats will be available across iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.