Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Video Conferencing

MindTouch Cloud Launches into Cloud Collaboration

November 19, 2009

MindTouch just launched their popular open source Sharepoint-like software into the collaboration cloud. Called MindTouch Cloud, this hosted SAAS offering will put them in direct competition of the likes of Google Apps, Google Wave, Zoho, and others. MindTouch will deliver their open source collaboration applications in the cloud for a monthly fee that starts at just $7/month for 50 users. They also offer a free 30-day trial.

MindTouch Cloud enables your employees & managers to pull and aggregate business data from data silos like your CRM, ERP, accounts payable, file servers, email, databases, and others to gain visibility through mashups.

Run Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 Virtualized

November 13, 2009

According to Microsoft, Office Communications Server 2007 R2 can now be deployed onto Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, or onto any virtualization solution that is a certified partner through the Server Virtualization Validation Program (SVVP) certified partners. Running OCS 2007 R2 "virtualized" is a hot topic, so knowing exactly how and which components can be virtualized is crucial so you're not banging your head against the wall wondering why it isn't working.

Well, the good news is that it supports the following workloads virtualized:
  • Presence
  • IM (including conferencing, remote access, federation, and Public IM Connectivity)
  • Group Chat
Today, Microsoft released a whitepaper which identifies which server roles are supported in a virtualized environment and it provides guidance for scaling users and workloads in a virtualized environment. Best to let Microsoft spend the time  testing and determining the results rather than you doing all the effort.

Microsemi Launches Captain Marvel-proof PoE Midspan

October 21, 2009

Today, Microsemi is launching a new line of midspans which feature integrated lightning protection. This marks the first time a PoE midspan features lightning protection. As more and more PoE devices are used outdoors, including outdoor wireless Access Points (APs), outdoor security cameras, and more, having lightning protection is critical. One lightning bolt strike and it can wipe out your entire networking and IT infrastructure.

Verizon Hub Bites the Dust

October 2, 2009

What an inglorious end to the Verizon Hub, which Verizon Wireless promoted as the greatest VoIP phone ever. Sure it was sexy, and sure it was gadgety - doubling as a Web tablet and digital phone frame, but apparently users just weren't buying. Not even a year after Verizon Wireless launched the Hub they have killed it.

Verizon Wireless said Sept. 30 it was discontinuing sales for its Verizon Hub. The Hub retailed for $199 and required a $34.99 monthly fee. Too high a price if you ask me.

Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 XMPP Gateway Launches

October 1, 2009

Microsoft today just released the Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 XMPP Gateway, which is available at no cost. That's right, it's free and is immediately downloadable. The XMPP gateway allows basic presence sharing and instant messaging (IM) with Cisco Jabber and Google Talk. OCS users can now instant message Cisco Jabber and Google Talk users.

The Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 XMPP Gateway can be downloaded here. Also, check out this video featuring Ashima Singhal (Senior Product Manager) and Albert Kooiman (Senior Product Manager) from the Communication Server team who discuss IM interoperability between different networks and show how the XMPP Gateway works.

Notice the different network icons (Yahoo!, AOL, Gmail/Google Talk)

Demo of Communicator client IM'ing a Google Talk user.

Some more good news - a PIC License will no longer be required for federation with American Online (AOL).  Customers qualify for federation with AOL if they have Office Communications Server 2007 R2 Standard CAL or active Software Assurance on their current LCS/OCS license.  Alas, customers who want Yahoo!

Cisco Buys Tandberg, but does Video Interoperability Suffer?

October 1, 2009

Cisco bought Tandberg, a video conferencing company for $3 billion. But is this good for the video conferencing industry or bad? Let's have a recap of Cisco's "openness" and adoption of standards.

First, Cisco was very late to adopt the SIP standard, finally embracing third-party SIP phones back in 2006. However, Cisco plays some serious licensing shenanigans that make it very cost prohibitive to use 3rd party SIP phones with Cisco CallManager.

Polycom VVX 1500 Video Phone Quick Demo

September 29, 2009

Check out the quick video recording I made of two Polycom VVX 1500 IP video phones making a test video call. I used an iPhone 3GS to capture the video of the test call between the two phones. The iPhone's video recording quality isn't too shabby, but doesn't truly give you an idea of the quality of the Polycom's VVX 1500 touchscreen. (Note: The video phone was tilted far back, so it was aimed directly at the fluorescent lighting in the ceiling.

Livestream Livepack Bonds Six 3G/EVDO modems for Ludicrous Wireless Internet Speed!

September 24, 2009

Livestream today is launching the world's first solution for wireless live streaming at HD quality by bonding six load-balanced 3G/EVDO modems over three carriers. Called Livepack, this unique solution enables you to have a roaming live video studio anywhere you can get 3G/EVDO connectivity. Livestream says it can stream HD video at far lower costs than traditional solutions such as broadcast trucks.

 Of course, bonding six 3G/EVDO modems together has some other fringe benefits - like ludicrous wireless Internet speed! Wonder if you can tether the Livepack to your laptop and get super high-speed Internet access while on the road?

Mitel Series X Collaboration, Unified Communications Solution Unveiled

September 23, 2009

Today, Mitel unveiled the next phase of its comprehensive software strategy with Mitel Series X Collaboration, showcasing Mitel's complete suite of collaboration solutions including Mitel Unified Communicator Advanced (UC Advanced) and the Mitel TeleCollaboration Solution. Mitel Series X aims to deliver a single solution to integrate business communications. Mitel's UC Advanced integrates your communications tools including phones, mobile devices, video conferencing, voice mail, instant messaging (IM), and email.

The sexy product within the Series X platform is Mitel TeleCollaboration, a 3-screen, high-def video conferencing solution that provides the ability to have up to 5 parties of video in a single screen without any degradation in video resolution. Mitel TeleCollaboration enables the group to view and edit documents within the application, in real time, without needing a dedicated room for the screens.

802.3at-2009 Power over Ethernet (PoE) Plus Standard Ratified

September 14, 2009

The IEEE recently ratified 802.3at, a new Power over Ethernet Plus standard. The IEEE 802.3at-2009 Power over Ethernet (PoE) Plus standard defines the technology for powering a wide range of powered devices at up to 25W over existing CAT5e and above cables.

Mike McCormack, Chair of the IEEE P802.3at Task Force said, "IEEE 802.3at uses the Link Layer Discover Protocol (LLPD) from IEEE Std 802.1AB, which allows dynamic power allocation and negotiation down to 1/10th of a Watt, and associated technology including Type, Length, Values (TLVs) from IEEE 802.3bc, which was also recently approved. This will allow equipment manufactures to manage their power supply costs and efficiencies at levels not possible with previous standards, and to cut their costs in the process."

I contacted Daniel Feldman, Director of Marketing, Telecom, Microsemi and he responded to Mike's quote by saying, "This is a mis-interpretation of what can be actually done. All LLDP allows is for more devices to be powered with a given power supply, it does not increase the power supply efficiency in any way."

Mike McCormack also stated,  "In addition, we have increased available power up to 25W.

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