During the course of my regular briefings with industry professionals, I often come across information that I find newsworthy. We have created this recurring feature as a way of sharing these items with you. Below, in alphabetical order, are notes and thoughts from a few of my most recent briefings.
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I spoke with Fraser Park (VP Sales and Strategy) and Casey King (CTO) from Huddly to learn more about one of the biggest buzz-makers in videoconferencing cameras this year. Of course, the big news is their inclusion in Google’s new Hangouts Meet Kit. That kind of partnership, followed by an announcement of $10 million in financing, has a lot of people asking me about Huddly.
They sent me one and it is really a 10 second eval. It’s plug and play, Windows 10 (and my video apps) instantly recognized it and I was able to select it like any other USB camera. The wide field of view was dramatically different from what you get with a webcam (even a wide view webcam). The Huddly GO (despite its appearance) is not a webcam, it is a meeting room camera. The accompanying app allows you to easily digitally pan, tilt, and zoom the 4k image.
The real magic of the Huddly GO is in its upgradeable software platform. It’s current capabilities allow for future applications that will be pretty unique and powerful. For example, the camera can create and send multiple streams from a single lens. Potentially one camera can send 3 different views of the same room (let’s say zoomed in on three different speakers) which could then be processed and transmitted in a number of ways for uses we haven’t even thought of. This kind of potential, along with the current meeting room view and quality from a webcam-like form factor, is what got Google’s attention. I can guarantee we will be hearing more from Huddly in 2018.
Brad Lewis (Global Practice Director for Conferencing) shared some pretty exciting initiatives from big Orange. With customers including massive global mining, pharmaceutical, and manufacturing organizations, they need to deliver more than vanilla conferencing offerings. To make this happen, they are leveraging the APIs of Cisco’s Spark program with an innovative new “Open Labs” program. Through this program, Orange is providing enterprise customers with the resources needed to develop their own Spark based applications. This is my kind of stuff, real sandboxing, starting with the workflow and building an application to suit it. With over 200,000 user subscriptions for Cisco Spark, they have a great base of existing users ready to try new Spark-based apps. Obviously, I will be checking back with Brad to learn about the most interesting use cases to come out of the labs.
Dan Marchetto (VP Sales) and Rebecca Corliss (VP Marketing) shared the good news from Owl Labs. Their little birdies are flying off the shelves as customers from hundreds of companies are checking out this new take on the meeting room video experience. They even recently hosted a unique online event where anyone could click a link on their website and join a live marathon video demo. Rebecca and her team sat in a meeting room with a live Meeting Owl for over 10 hours chatting with random demo viewers like myself. They even talked me into playing a little guitar to keep the energy up. I fear that there may be a video of it somewhere.
While it is always interesting to catch up with Jordan Owens (VP Americas) at Pexip, the real story is what I am hearing in briefings with multiple Pexip partners. Pexip’s certification with Microsoft for their Skype gateway functionality is easing a lot of minds. Skype interoperability for many solutions can come and go as Microsoft can arbitrarily change its rules and code at any time. With Microsoft shifting from Skype to MS Teams, the lack of surety has been exacerbated. Pexip’s certification means that MS has made a commitment that whatever they decide to do, it will work with Pexip. This is a pretty big deal and their partners are running with it and making it a highlight of their Pexip-based offerings.
Jordan filled me in on Version 17 of Pexip Infinity. When I look at software vendors, I think their development cycle is as important as their current feature set, as user needs and expectations are changing so rapidly. The Pexip team continues to develop at an impressive pace with Version 18 very much under way (and very much under NDA). Version 17 is mostly about improved administration and management capabilities, which are a huge part of today’s cloud service purchasing discussions. Jordan had at least two other NDA announcements for me so stay tuned for some more Pexip developments in 2018.
I had great chat with new Vidyo CEO Michael Patsalos-Fox. Michael has been on the board at Vidyo for five years and has been Chairman since early 2017. This means he isn’t really new to Vidyo, and has been a big part of their current strategy. With that in mind, we shouldn’t expect any dramatic shifts. The focus on platform as a service, with particular emphasis on the verticals that are ready for PaaS video (such as telehealth and finance) is a big part of their current success and future plans. It should be noted that while Michael has been with Vidyo long enough to understand the video market, his full history and expertise has involved a great deal of management consulting and leadership. In other words, he grows companies to their full potential. What that means for Vidyo will be very interesting to see.