Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Video Conferencing

TANDBERG's PrecisionHD USB camera is now shipping

September 1, 2009

Microsoft Releases Two New UC OCS 2007 Training Tools

August 13, 2009

Microsoft released a new UC How To training application leveraging Microsoft Silverlight™ 2 to help users and administrators learn how to use Office Communications Server 2007 R2. The Microsoft Unified Communications "How-To" training tool provides step-by-step instructions for common UC tasks, such as find and add contacts, create groups in contact list, initiate a voice or video call, create a chat room, search chat history, and much more. It also goes into "etiquette" in instant messaging and etiquette in managing your presence status. I really liked this aspect of this training tool, since it is often difficult for IT/MIS folks to document etiquette procedures and get users to actually listen.

FREETALK Everyman Skype Headset Review

August 6, 2009

The FREETALK Everyman is a foldable super wideband audio "Skype certified" USB headset designed by Skype themselves. Why this isn't called the Skype Everyman headset is beyond me. I guess perhaps why want to market this headset as doing much more than Skype calls. They sent me one for review today so I thought I'd write up my impressions.

When I opened it out of the box I noticed the large speakers and the flexible rotation for additional comfort when wearing it.

Microsoft OCS 2007 R2 Documentation

July 29, 2009

Microsoft just published the latest and greatest version of their OCS 2007 R2 documentation. I asked the official Microsoft OCS MVP mailing list, "Is there anything new about the OCS 2007 R2 docs contained on this page or is this just a centralized repository of all the Word docs and the single .chm help file?" I added, "Perhaps this is the first "official" 1.0 release of ALL the documentation?"

All you know-it-all techies out here are probably thinking, "Documentation? We don't need no stinkin' documentation!"

Yeah, in most cases I'm right there with ya, but not something as complicated as OCS 2007 R2. I often tell users who come to me repeatedly with the same IT question to go RTFM.

Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 Site Resiliency White Paper

July 24, 2009

With Microsoft making increasing inroads with their Office Communications Server 2007 R2 platform, many integrators, VARs, and end-user customers are looking to find out more information on bringing the famed "five nines" (99.999%) of reliability to OCS 2007 R2.

Well, Microsoft has just released a white paper detailing how to ensure high reliability. According to Microsoft:

Using backup and restoration procedures for site disaster recovery as described in the Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 documentation library topic Backup and Restoration, can entail some downtime for users."

This white paper describes a site resiliency solution for Office Communications Server 2007 R2. The solution includes an Enterprise pool that spans two geographically separate sites.

Skype Video Calls on Google Android

June 19, 2009

What if you could do Skype VoIP & video conferencing on the Google Android? Sounds pretty damn cool, doesn't it? Especially given all the media hype surrounding the new iPhone 3GS. I already tweeted my displeasure that the new Apple iPhone 3GS doesn't support Flash and also tweeted my annoyance that Apple didn't put a front-facing camera for video chat support using Skype.

Microsoft Roundtable is now Polycom CX5000 Unified Conference Station

March 30, 2009

Polycom and Microsoft today announced that "as part of Microsoft's vision to broaden the availability of Microsoft RoundTable, Polycom has licensed the right to distribute RoundTable, effective April 13, 2009." The product, renamed the Polycom CX5000 Unified Conference Station, will be available through Polycom and its channel network.

Polycom has 'exclusive rights', to sell the CX5000, which is a huge win for them. Although I have been a huge fan of the Microsoft Roundtable with it's cool 360 panoramic video, my guess is that Microsoft has had difficulty selling this expensive ($4300) videoconferencing equipment.

The CX5000 when used in conjunction with Office Live Meeting service, or as part of Office Communications Server 2007, it combines content, a panoramic 360-degree view of the entire meeting room, and a separate view of the active speaker for a unique and engaging voice and video experience.

The Polycom CX5000 will be available beginning April 13, 2009, at a list price of U.S. $4,300. The CX5000 will be available in 27 countries through Polycom's extensive channel partner network and will be available for shipment in late April.

IPEVO Wi-Fi Phone for Skype Review

March 27, 2009

The IPEVO Wi-Fi Phone for Skype launched just last month and IPEVO sent me a review unit to check out, which I've been testing for a few weeks.

Installing the IPEVO Wi-Fi Phone was a snap. Although it only has a numeric keypad for entering in alphanumeric characters for entering in the WEP/WPA/WPA2 key. As you hit a key, it shows you the current key where your cursor is located, but it also shows you a horizontal list of all the characters that key can produce and highlights the current key.

Windows Server 2008 RDS Does VoIP

March 11, 2009

Terminal Services allows you to remotely run applications as well as perform remote administrative duties on servers. It has allowed remote audio to be streamed over IP from the remote computer to your local computer (audio redirection) but has never allowed the microphone or line-in port to be redirected. If Microsoft did, you could do VoIP. Of course, you'd have to redirect from the local PC to the remote server and not the other way around.

Polycom VVX 1500 Media Phone Game Changer?

March 9, 2009

Today, Polycom has launched the Polycom VVX 1500 touch-screen business media phone, a new VoIP phone that combines IP telephony with business-class video and the ability to integrate with business applications. Recently, Verizon make a big splash with their consumer-class Verizon Hub, a multimedia phone that combines VoIP, Internet access, color screen, video streaming, and more. One could easily make the case that the Polycom VVX 1500 is the "business-class" version of the consumer-oriented Verizon Hub phone.

Although there are many similar features and both could be classified as "media phones", the Verizon Hub does not do video conferencing, since it does not have an embedded camera. The Polycom VVX 1500 on the other hand does have a video camera embedded (2-megapixel) and is therefore more suited to video conferencing, which is more prevalent in the business world any way.

The Polycom VVX 1500 combines a personal video conferencing system with a fully featured voice over IP (VoIP) telephone along with Polycom HD Voice (wideband telephony) and an open application programming interface (API) and microbrowser for real-time delivery of personalized Web content.

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