InfoComm 2016 Preview: Vendor Booths


This is the second, and final, part of our 2016 InfoComm preview guide. In the first part, we looked at the keynotes and sessions. Now, we’ll preview what some of the industry’s leading vendors plan on displaying at this year’s show. There are far too many vendors to possibly cover them all, and in fact we are still adding briefings to our schedule. The following list includes the briefings we currently have locked down.

While most vendors are keeping their bigger announcements under wraps, I’ve been lucky enough to attend a few pre-InfoComm briefings and can share some of what we should expect to see at the show. Be sure to check out my post-InfoComm coverage for a complete wrap-up. That being said, here is some of what I hope to see, in alphabetical order.

At the Enterprise Connect show we witnessed the last time Acano will ever exhibit at a stand alone booth. At InfoComm they will be at the Cisco booth and I hope to learn more about the continued integration of the Acano platform into the Cisco environment. I’m particularly interested in how the strategy to empower Spark with Acano is developing. It’s clear to anyone following Cisco that their eggs are increasingly being placed into the Spark basket. Acano is a $700 million egg, and I’m guessing it will have a very important spot in that basket. I also know the Acano team has continued to develop the platform with new features (such as recording). It is a bit tricky right now, they don’t want to develop features that are redundant with Cisco development as they continue to integrate, but they don’t want to hold off on development. I will try to dig in and see how the Acano team is coordinating with existing Cisco development efforts.

Altia Systems
The PanaCast 2 camera has been winning a slew of awards and recognition. The camera provides a unique approach to the problem of looking around a room via videoconferencing. Please see my recent webinar for more information about the solution. I look forward to catching up with the team and hope to learn more about user adoption success stories as well as future development plans.

This company has a unique approach to the problem of covering the typical “bowling alley” style meeting room. Their camera solution is useable with any standard video codec, and transforms the view into the more appropriate “across the table” look and feel, through clever camera angles and image warping technology. This is one of those solutions that is hard to describe in words, but always gets a “wow” reaction in demos. I’m looking forward to meeting with the team to learn about their recent partnerships and channel strategy.

I recently attended the AVI-SPL annual Sales Acceleration Summit and the company is having a banner year. Check out my coverage of the event to see what I learned in Tampa. Since that time, they have been purchased by H.I.G Capital. I intend to find out if the H.I.G. acquisition will have any effect on strategy or development plans, and to find out the latest from their collaboration team.

What started as a simple “neutral ground” cloud meeting room, with the ability to interoperate with traditional room video systems and services such as Skype, has grown into a full featured enterprise video platform. With services such as its Primetime streaming solution, its Command Center management solution, its Relay Touch room control system, and more, it is looking to meet all aspects of a business video culture. Please check out our recent white paper on the new BlueJeans Enterprise Video Cloud for more information on their current strategy and offerings. I look forward to meeting with the team at the booth and learning more about their roadmap.

There is a lot going on with Cisco collaboration. The centerpiece of the Cisco collab universe is Spark and I have been taking a very close look at it. In two recent articles I took a look at how Spark stacks up to Slack, and I shared a few things that I don’t love about the Spark workflow. Of course, the big story about Spark is how it has become a full enterprise communications cloud, supporting Cisco IP phones and video appliances. In other words, it is the hub of the Cisco UC universe and will be the main competitor to Skype4B. However, the Cisco developers more than Spark on their minds, and I recently briefed with them on their new PresenterTrack solution (learn more here). I think my booth briefing will be a combination of specific product advances, and general cloud strategy.

Collaboration Squared
The Ubiety solution has long been an LDV favorite. While many service providers are happy to simply plug in an Acano server and sell VMR space, the team at Collaboration Squared has looked to add real value with enterprise features such as free PSTN connections and Acano-based room solutions. I’m hoping to gain some insight into how the Cisco purchase of Acano will affect Acano-based service providers, and how Ubiety plans working Spark into their offerings.

While Compunetix is generally thought of for their robust audio conferencing platform, they do video as well. I recently briefed with Eric Murphy at Compunetix who shared a unique use case of a large company which holds a daily video meeting with literally hundreds of participants. These meetings are supported by Compunetix equipment and would be an extreme challenge for most other solutions in the market. I will try to get more details about the capabilities of this under-acknowledged platform.

Discover Video
I recently briefed with Mike Savic, VP Business Development at Discover Video, and was impressed by their differentiators in the digital signage and streaming space. I generally think of these technologies as high value, but high complexity and cost. Mike convinced me this doesn’t have to be the case. I look forward to getting my hands on the equipment and seeing for myself.

This leader in audio conferencing recently entered our space with a free video service. I chatted recently with President Bob Wise to get the details (see more here). I hope to learn how their customer base is taking to the new offering, and their plans for future development of the platform.

HD Technology Partners
This is a bit of an LDV exclusive. Back in December 2014 we broke the story about a new patent in the videoconferencing space. As we find ourselves using more and more video, we will become more and more aware of how we look on video. One of the biggest ways we can improve our look is through better lighting. While there are a few existing lighting solutions for desktop and mobile, they can be clunky or shine in the user’s eyes. The HD Illuminator lights up your face, without hurting your eyes. It is also designed to magnetically attach to a simple clip, making it usable for desktop, tablet, or phone. This solves the problem of competitors which have to make a custom lighted case for every possible shape and size mobile device. Today, in an exclusive briefing with Founder/Inventor Mike Jarchow and VP of Business Development Michael Baker, I learned that the HD Technology team will be at the Logitech booth, due to a not-yet-announced budding relationship with the collaboration leader. As you can see on the HD Technology website, they are already featuring the newly designed HD Illuminator and clip on a number of Logitech products.

I had a lot to say about Logitech in my Enterprise Connect wrap-up article. I am extremely pleased with their new ConferenceCam GROUP and the new ConferenceCam Kit. As I learned at the time, the biggest improvements in the GROUP were related to its audio capabilities. I was able to hear these improvements myself today as I attended a Logitech webinar. Joan Vandermate (Head of Marketing, Collaboration Business Unit at Logitech) was presenting, using the GROUP, and she sounded as clear as if she was using a headset. There was none of the echo or hollowness that I expect from a tabletop speakerphone. I know their development team is working nonstop and wouldn’t be surprised if they have something new to share at InfoComm, or at least some roadmap items.

Phoenix Audio Technologies
This audio company has been making a lot of users happy in the video space. Their Condor beamforming mic array takes the audio (and its messy cables) off the conference table for a more clean modern video environment. They’ve enjoyed a number of recent partnerships and certifications for the Condor as well as user success stories. They are a busy team so I expect they will have a lot to share as far as roadmap and development plans.

I recently briefed with Polycom to better understand their Clariti solution. While I am sure Polycom will be demonstrating Clariti, as well as its popular Debut, Trio, and Centro hardware solutions, the big story is the Mitel acquisition and the recent counteroffer. While the team at the booth might not have a lot to share on that front, I expect the floor as a whole will be buzzing with rumors. I’ll keep my ears to the ground to learn as much as possible about this industry shaking event. Meanwhile, I’ll check in with the team to learn about the user uptake on their new solutions and future development plans.

As one of the leaders in pure cloud video, StarLeaf has proven its ability to quickly shift development to meet the ever changing needs of business video users. I recently covered how the StarLeaf cloud is uniquely positioned to cover the full range of potential video deployments. CTO William MacDonald recently shared with me under NDA that the StarLeaf development team may have something exciting and completely unexpected bubbling up in the lab. I’ll see if we are ready to announce anything at this time, and catch up on roadmap and adoption.

I was extremely pleased with what I saw at the Tely booth at Enterprise Connect this year. The company is doing very well based on its combination of ease of use and enterprise manageability. The latest addition of the Tely Touch app makes things even simpler by replacing the remote control with an Android app. I am very curious to hear how users are adopting this new feature, and to hear what their development team has in store for us next.

The camera + Nuc combo is getting very hot in our space, and VDO360 was one of the first (if not the first) to jump on the concept. Their Clearwater solution is an attractive and professional implementation of the Nuc + camera and comes with Intel’s Unite software already installed. I have information under NDA that the VDO360 team has something new and unexpected for us at InfoComm this year. While I can’t spill the details now, I’m certainly looking forward to seeing it in person and sharing what I learn with you in my post-show wrapup.

This global cloud video provider just announced that Cisco Telepresence DX70s and DX80s can now register to its service. I’ve also learned under NDA that the they have at least three more announcements in store for us at InfoComm. I’ll be getting the details on these announcements, and seeing if their phenomenal growth is continuing.

Long time industry insiders Laurie Berg and Mike Brandofino are behind a very exciting new startup in the digital signage space. The product is called Visualz and will be shown at the Dept 60 booth. I recently received a demo unit and account, and the concept is to take digital signage out of the hands of IT and make it as easy as any user facing app. I’ll dig into this product’s differentiators so I can share what exactly makes it so revolutionary.

What started as a small freemium WebEx alternative has become one of the biggest success stories in the visual collaboration industry. Zoom’s growth and adoption are the envy of the industry. The key to their success, in my opinion, isn’t its affordability, but the fact that its users really like it. People use video, in general, because of the value of face-to-face communication over audio and because of the impact and engagement you get from video. People use Zoom specifically because they like Zoom. The interface has that undefinable something (similar to Slack) that makes users choose it over competitors that may be just as good on paper. They have a very agile team and are constantly adding new features and capabilities so I am sure they will have something fun in store for us.


About Author

David Maldow is the Founder & CEO of Let's Do Video and has been covering the visual collaboration industry, and related technologies, for over a decade. His background includes 5 years at Wainhouse Research, where he managed the Video Test Lab and evaluated many of the leading solutions at the time. David has authored hundreds of articles and thought pieces both at Telepresence Options, where he was managing partner for several years, as well as here at Let's Do Video. David often speaks at industry events and webinars as well as hosting the LDV Video Podcast.

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