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$28 hacking software to break into webcams spreads in China

June 20, 2017 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by RT

The notion of "the privacy of your own home" may be becoming a thing of the past. Cheap software has reportedly spread in the Chinese Internet, allowing web-connected cameras and home surveillance devices to be infiltrated.

Virtually anyone can buy the hacking software for just 188 yuan ($28) with an attached list of IP addresses and a manual on how to use the malware, China's CCTV broadcaster reported after conducting an investigation. The malware scans for internet-connected webcams, giving its buyers easy access to them.

ProtonMail makes its free VPN service available to everyone

June 20, 2017 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by Engadget

ProtonMail, the encrypted email created by CERN and MIT scientists, has released a new product in response to the administration's roll back of Obama-era internet privacy rules. Starting today, you can try out the company's VPN service, which was in beta testing by 10,000 initial users for a year, by getting it from the official ProtonVPN website. The great thing about it is that it has a free tier that's free forever. It might not be as robust as the paid ones, but it still routes your connection through multiple encrypted tunnels in three countries.

By offering free options, the company can reach more people, especially now that there's a lot more interest in using VPN all over the world. In the US, the new FCC chairman and various Senators want to kill net neutrality in addition to nullifying rules that protect user data. UK Prime Minister Theresa May wants to regulate the internet. People in China, Egypt and other places where the internet is heavily censored also need VPNs to get around restrictions, while others need the service to keep their info secure and private.

Yamaha Introduces New Dedicated UC Department

June 20, 2017 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by CommsTrader

One of the world's leading pro audio companies, Yamaha recently took a step into the market of Unified Communications with a dedicated department. Using the expertise provided by Revolabs (a Yamaha subsidiary), Yamaha will be able to focus on solutions to enhance communications and develop products that help organisations reach their goals for the business.

According to the executive officer, and senior general manager for Yamaha, Hirofumi Osawa, the company already has over a decade of experience working in the UC industry, through their collaboration with Japanese enterprise customers. The latest change to the organisation will represent a natural step forward to help Yamaha cultivate more UC relationships around the world. Thanks to their core strengths in music and sound technology, Yamaha are in a great position to explore the UC market segment.

Message startup Slack said to draw interest from Amazon.com

June 15, 2017 | Telepresence Options

Story and images by Chicago Tribune

Corporate chatroom startup Slack Technologies has received recent inquiries about a potential takeover from technology companies including Amazon.com, people with knowledge of the situation said, a deal that would be the internet-commerce giant's biggest ever.

San Francisco-based Slack could be valued at at least $9 billion in a sale, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. An agreement isn't assured and discussions may not go further.

Overview of Polycom's EagelEye Director II Voice Tracking Camera

June 15, 2017 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by TechTarget

Polycom Inc., a longtime unified communications provider, is still innovating. The vendor's EagleEye Director II, a video conferencing camera, has won this month's Network Innovation Award.

The Polycom camera, launched earlier this year, can automatically find, frame and focus on speakers in a video meeting. Geared toward midsize and large meeting rooms, the smart video camera features picture-in-picture room display and data analytics to track ROI metrics.

Google brings 45 teraflops tensor flow processors to its compute cloud

June 15, 2017 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by Ars Technic

Google has developed its second-generation tensor processor--four 45-teraflops chips packed onto a 180 TFLOPS tensor processor unit (TPU) module, to be used for machine learning and artificial intelligence--and the company is bringing it to the cloud. TPU-based computation will be available to Google Cloud Compute later this year.

Typically in machine-learning workloads, initial training and model building are divided from the subsequent pattern matching against the model. The former workload is the one that is most heavily dependent on massive compute power, and it's this that has generally been done on GPUs. Google's first-generation TPUs were used for the second part--making inferences based on the model, to recognize images, language, or whatever. Those first generation custom chips are 15 to 30 times faster and 30 to 80 times more power-efficient than CPUs and GPUs for these workloads, and the company has been using them already for its AlphaGo Go-playing computer, as well as its search results.

ScreenX extends movie onto theater walls for a 270 degree panoramic experience

June 14, 2017 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by ISPR

When I sat down at the CGV Cinemas in Koreatown (621 S. Western Ave.), I was sure I was in the wrong place. I was there to see a movie in the new ScreenX format, but the theater had a normal-sized screen. I couldn't imagine how it would provide the promised 270-degree viewing area. (Yes, 270, as in way more than half of 360.) When the movie started, and nothing seemed special, l left to ask a cashier at the concession stand about the ScreenX technology. She assured me that I was in the right theater and said the picture would extend onto the walls, but it doesn't do that all the time. So, if you want to go check out the latest theater tech to hit L.A., and you're like: OK, where is my amazing transcendent futuristic movie experience? It's there. It's all around you, even when it's not.

The Board appoints Jonas Rinde as the new CEO of Huddly Inc.

June 6, 2017 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by Huddley

The Board of Directors of Huddly Inc. has promoted the product design and collaboration industry expert Jonas Rinde (well known in the industry as the co-founder of Spark Board) to the position of the company's CEO.

Jonas will continue building the world class team that makes Huddly Inc. a fully-fledged product company ready to break down the traditional video barriers, take away the daily pains of dealing with unintuitive video collaboration solutions and bring the fun back to meetings.

Can You Finally See Me Now?

June 1, 2017 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by No Jitter

Nemertes Research recently published the results of its second-annual study on enterprise adoption of videoconferencing in small rooms (five or fewer seats) and use of cloud videoconferencing "meet me" style services to enable both integration of disparate desktop and room systems within and across company boundaries. The results this year show that video adoption remains in line with its hype.

The Killer App for VR: The Ability to Meet Yourself

May 25, 2017 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by TechZone360

I was at a VR event this week and I'm sure the speaker misspoke when he said that one of the benefits of VR is the ability to meet yourself. But the idea caught my interest; what if you could meet and talk to yourself? Not in your head as you do now, but as a separate entity in real time? Have you ever noticed how easy it seems to give others advice on a problem, but then you seem to have difficulty addressing the same problem yourself? The kinds of recurring problems with relationships, career choices, and even purchases where we are so close to the issue that we don't use our own knowledge to make a better decision would be ideal for this.

The technology I'm talking about would also clearly allow us to digitally have conversations with our parents, past teachers, and even digital representations of experts and celebrities regardless of whether they are still alive or not. But the perspective we could bring to our own problems if we were able to approach them as if they came from someone else would be unique, and we'd be far more likely to follow our own advice than that from anyone else.

Google's Jamboard goes on sale as connected whiteboard market gets crowded

May 24, 2017 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by ZDNet

Google has launched its Jamboard for $5,000 and the reviews are solid, but the technology buyer is likely to be a bit wary as Cisco and Microsoft play in the market.

Simply put, Google's Jamboard is pretty neat for $5,000 and an enterprise or small business could justify the price based on cool factor as well as collaboration heft--especially if you're in Google's cloud anyway. Jamboard has its own tablet and phone app to make the Jamboard work and enhance G Suite connections.

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.

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