TokBox, Polycom Leading to Faster, More Productive Tech & Conferencing Experiences in 2016

Cloud Computing Magazine | TMCNet, Technology Marketing Corporation

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED TO TMCNET’S CLOUD COMPUTING MAGAZINE

Recently, TokBox (NewsAlert), a Telefonica company and recognized leader in WebRTC, announced the release of yet another collaborator tool in mobile integrations. While companies are pairing up to bring the ultimate communications experience, TokBox makes its contribution to the overall customer experience, while eliminating some of the frustration that comes with tech support and strategic planning via remote interface. 

As businesses are adopting the ability to engage customers in video-enriched tech experiences, TokBox’s annotation tool allows for convenience in literally pointing out the problem.

Whether through screen sharing or screenshots, TokBox’s annotation tool allows users on either side of the conversation to engage in markup, calling attention to important points within the conversation. While this can already be done through standard mobile editing tools, TokBox allows for live screenshares and annotations through its OpenTok platform.

In tech support, customers can point out exactly what is broken, while specialists can direct customers to exactly which button resets a system and in which direction the switch needs thrown. There is no more room for a twenty-minute conversation trying to explain where on a device the customer should start looking. This cuts back call times, which directly cuts costs for tech support departments and promotes maximized productivity.

TokBox recently released a platform associated with FoxSports and college football. A coach could hold a meeting via remote delivery; strategizing gameplays and maneuvers, similar to what is done by commentators while a game is airing live to television. This would allow college students to be more proactive in their studies while maximizing their potential wins on the field. They would no longer have to skip classes or leave class early just to make a meeting on time.

Like many video conferencing platforms, OpenTok is recordable and able to be accessed at any time. This will benefit those who need a refresher course or would like to study what was discussed during the video conferencing. These platforms are available on both web and mobile platforms.

OpenTok’s annotation tools are currently in beta and have a long way to compete with some of the more advanced tools in video collaboration. But, they are off to an amazing start. Not too many platforms currently allow live annotations, but those that do are leaving our experiences fulfilled.

Polycom (NewsAlert), for example, calls their version of annotation “video whiteboarding.” They actually have created physical tools that allow “in-meeting annotation” and that enable participants to share those annotations on any standard whiteboard or LCD display to everyone on a call.

While basic tools and free form shapes are being made available through these platforms, colleges, such as Harvard’s MIT (NewsAlert), are searching for new ways to make rich annotations available – which would mean encoding more complex algorithms and allowing even more people to join the conversation simultaneously across a variety of streams and a variety of platforms.

In technology, only one’s imagination limits progress. You may not see a need for rich annotation at this point. But in the future, you may wonder how you got along without it. We can thank companies like TokBox and Polycom for their contributions to innovation and for making productivity a forefront of our video conferencing platforms.

This is perhaps an unpredicted and overlooked trend to hit 2016. Will we see more in-conference possibilities that help our business and tech support efforts become more productive? Rumor has it that Elliot Associates’ billionaire, Paul Singer, is pushing for a Polycom integration with Mitel to do just that.

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Health Apps Show Rapid Adoption, Promoting a Healthier Lifestyle Through Usage

Healthcare Apps, Unified Communications, WebRTC, IoT, RFID, Healthcare Solutions

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED TO TMCNET’S REAL-TIME COMMUNICATIONS

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, “Smartphones, connected medical accessories and apps have been underutilized by the healthcare industry.” But, not any more! Recent studies report a shift in the way consumers are caring for their health, as usage soars for health-related apps and technologies.

In 2016, it is predicted that we will see an even larger shift in consumer access to personal records, video diagnoses and even monitoring of our own health. Many of us have alarms set up on our phones already, reminding us to stay hydrated. Others are connecting smartphones to small devices that clock sleeping patterns and restlessness in the night.

This year alone, ensa introduced International audiences to a HIPAA-Compliant app that allows individuals to access healthcare records at any time of day, whenever they please. Most recently, a “Good Habit App” was released by ORCAS to curb bad habits by monitoring cause and effects on health conditions, while instituting good habits in developing healthier individuals. In late 2015, GreatCall acquired Lively, Inc. in supporting the health needs of our growing niche of tech-savvy senior citizens.

For years, consumers have been heading to the Internet to research every sneeze and every scratch that we encounter in our daily lives. Now, we have the capabilities to provide ourselves with the same “anytime, anywhere monitoring, diagnosis and treatment” that we can expect from visiting a healthcare professional in-person.

As healthcare companies are becoming hip to a consumer desire for improved lifestyle decisions, they are seemingly partnering with technology companies to delver solutions and provide a jumping board for promotion of their product and service lines. And, we are loving it!

Taking charge of our lives, a growing consumer niche is moving away from prescriptions medicines as much as possible, while working towards natural healing through diet and exercise, discipline and monitoring. Others are finding life too demanding to visit a physician during office hours and are finding it easier to consult via smartphone.

Forbes reports that one in three consumers have at least one health app on their smartphones. This number has actually doubled over the last two years with an increase of viable solutions in the app marketplace. This also has increased with growth in consumer proficiencies during that time.

The Walgreens Boots Alliance app was first released in 2009 and is now one of the most downloaded apps on the marketplace. It has led to a heightened interaction with consumers via mobile platform, as Walgreens is now showing an average of one prescription fulfillment per second – ordered by mobile app!  Now, how is that for productivity?!

You can run, but you can’t hide. If you are one in two-thirds the consumer base not already using a smart app to monitor health or encourage healthy choices, you may very soon become just that. Innovations are being seen every day, as the health industry leads new technologies in promoting healthy lifestyles to a global consumer base. Now, whether or not you become part of this culture, the question truly is – are you actually going to use it?  Let’s hope so! Here’s to a wonderful New Year full of health, happiness and innovation! 

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Predictions for Real Estate 2016: How Agents and Facilities Managers Will Benefit

Healthcare Apps, Unified Communications, WebRTC, IoT, RFID, Healthcare Solutions

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED ON TMCNET’S REAL TIME COMMUNICATIONS

Planon, a software provider in support of workplace optimization and Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS), has released their predictions in Real Estate and Facility Management efficiencies for 2016.

“Many of the trends that will come into focus in 2016 already exist today, but their significance is expected to grow and become mainstream in the near future,” states David Karpook, Strategic Business Consultant at Planon. “Today’s facilities management and real estate managers face an increasing need to respond to the evolution of technology and sustainability, ensure compliance, and increase cost efficiency.” 

Planon predicts that IoT opportunities will be made more applicable to the Real Estate spectrum in 2016. Therefore, it will be increasingly adopted by agents all over the world. Bottom lines will increase with the placement of affordable sensor technologies. Analytics data will be easily collected through occupancy of the workplace or meeting room. Additional IoT implementations point to better utilization of smart screens triggered by in app functionality or by room sensors, alone.

In the case of real estate, the amount of time an onlooker spends in each room may translate to sales potential, funneling sales interest data collected during the time spent in each room, individually. This data can be used to physically enhance the features that potential buyers enjoy the most and call out the needs for improvement in areas that guests most dislikes on the property. Doing so will lead real estate companies towards increased sales and shortened periods of closing. It will also provide insight as to where, exactly, a visitor may actually lose interest.

Workspaces can be checked for availability within a facility through the scanning of QR codes or the swiping of RFID tags.  This will save time and face, while meeting with clients in a busy conference space.

Much of 2016 will see an increase in the use of mobile technologies for just about every phase in daily process. Not only are individuals now using mobile devices to make and accept payments on the go, but also team collaboration and communication can more frequently be made feasible. Integrations in communications tools are now allowing for better project management and workforce productivity through in-app tools and centralized clouds, allowing users to stay in just one application all day without the need to toggle between apps to complete a single function.

In fact, Cloud delivery models will continue to transform the workplace,” claims the Boston-based software company. They will cut costs significantly for IT departments and eliminate the need for big-bulky equipment. Although true, there are many big businesses that are still skeptical about adopting cloud-based technologies in storing proprietary information.

Through mobility, employers are seeing more stretch-room in the physical workplace and may even save on operating costs with the ability to downgrade unnecessary expenditures. With flexible schedules, the workforce is being made more available at untraditional business hours and increasingly made available through “always on” technologies.

Workers are less stressed and therefore more productive. According to Planon, “More than 90 percent of respondents in research agreed that new workplace concepts will improve employee productivity.”

Finally, Planon predicts that building information modeling, BIM, will continue to increase in adoption. Their claim is that it will hold great promise for facilities management and real estate in the very near future.

Applying BIM and its methodologies to operations will allow more efficiency in management of the building space. This includes maintenance and construction during lifecycle process in providing a platform for real-time collaboration, logistics and quality management. Agents and construction superintendents will, themselves, be able to better predict the future of their own real estate empire.

Smart businesses and smart buildings will continue to make their presence known through the adoption of IoT and cloud technologies, allowing employees to be more mobile and embracing the alternative workplace. BIM-culture will become a norm, as teams will be impacted by better communications and interactive visuals in which promote efficiency.

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Bell Labs Study Delivers Connectivity and Support Intel for Service Providers

Next Generation Communications, IP Transformation, Advanced Broadband Networks, Digital Lifestyles, Eco-Sustainable Telco Solutions, Dynamic Enterprise, Service Delivery Environment, Advanced Broadband Networks, End to End Transformation, Advanced Business Models, Business Transformation, Services Transformation, Service Delivery Platform, Killer Telco Environment and Managed Telco Services

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED TO TMCNET’S NEXTGEN VOICE

Faced with issues in connectivity, families are competing for signal strength in powering their personal and shared devices through Wi-Fi signals. Bell Labs (NewsAlert) recently released a study, informing consumers that simplifying digital home networks will lead to easier connectivity and reduce the need for technical assistance or home service repairs. Now, all fingers are pointing to the service provider, who currently holds all the cards to innovation.

In fact, skyrocketing service costs and rising monthly service fees are directly associated with complexity on consumer gateways. Instead, Bell Labs proposes that service providers can reduce operating costs by simply creating virtual gateways within a cloud and reduce operating costs by 40 percent.

While residential gateways are critical to home networks and connecting consumers to the Internet, they are somewhat old-fashioned and can be streamlined into a simpler format. This format will alleviate network congestion and allow consumers to connect multiple devices at higher speeds than they have ever experienced in a home-based network.

According to Alcatel-Lucent (NewsAlert), “A virtualized residential gateway (vRGW) addresses this issue by moving functions like IP routing and Network Address Translation (NAT) into the cloud, along with centralized management and control.”

Through “always-on” technology, our devices are said to demand more than 100 mbps of speed in just synching our data. Meanwhile, there are many households that are lucky enough to get 1 mbps out of their Wi-Fi connection through some of the Nation’s most popular service providers. Congestion leads to failure and has increased the cost of in-home tech support, impacting the overall pricing of service.

Leveraging network function virtualization has a great adventure ahead of itself, as service providers will first need to adopt this concept and then work to quickly integrate this technology into the cloud and connect directly to individual systems. The solution is already available on the market with new capabilities due in early 2016.

“This is critical to operationalize the rapid introduction of new features and automate the delivery of new value added services for the home network, without having the necessity to upgrade the customer premises equipment,” states Enrique Hernandez-Valencia, Consulting Director at Bell Labs.

This move is said to lower costs tremendously and allow end-users to better understand the signal flow and process of their connection, as it relates to their in-home gadgets and devices. Service fulfillment, alone, will drop by anywhere between 7 and 12 percent. It is also said to speed up process for set up, activation and install.

This means no more waiting three days in a row for a technician to show up between 1 and 4 P.M.

Because over 40 percent of users are reporting connection issues related to something within the network, itself, techs will now be able to make repairs service-side, easily detecting exactly where in the system these errors are occurring.

Presently, the system is too complex to identify root cause without actually visiting the customer’s location and inspecting the connection directly. This will save the service provider upwards of 67 percent on average.

While we might not see a price drop in servicing, we most likely won’t see increases in cost any time soon. We will also see more durable connections and – actual “lightening speed” connections.

It’s funny how long it takes some technologies to catch the attention of the world it has been spawned from. In 2013, Huawei (NewsAlert) actually released to first software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization through a virtual residential gateway  (vRGW), the solution for the family, as revenues started to decline for service providers and customers were beginning to lose satisfaction with their at-home connectivity.

In fact, it was in 2013 that Christian Chua, Director of the R&D Department of Huawei’s Fixed Business Department, said, “In the coming ten years, the telecom industry will experience a new round of IT-based transformations. As this happens, ICT convergence and innovation will expand into various fields of the telecom industry.”

Almost three years later, we are finally seeing movement into this direction. Three years have passed and businesses chose to lose revenue by not keeping up with simple solutions.

Now that cloud-based technologies are everywhere, perhaps it is now we can relax to a nice movie on our smart TV without lag, glitch or loss in connectivity. Perhaps now, our last minute papers will actually be handed in on time. Here’s to the future!

Follow the link to learn how “Virtualized Residential Gateway is The Path to the Future.

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BrightPoint Security Enhances Community-Based Threat Intelligence Capabilities

Cloud Contact Center | TMC Net

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED TO TMCNET’S CLOUD SECURITY

It’s no secret that criminals will always search for ways around even the most advanced security, whether with the mission to takeover, destroy or steal. Cyber attacks are imminent for all businesses that find themselves doing well – or at least appearing to be. Early warning signs aren’t always there to shield businesses from threat; but when they are, BrightPoint Security can provide solutions, intelligence and protections amongst their IT infrastructures and partner ecosystems.

 BrightPoint Security’s Threat Intelligence Platform provides “automation, curation and the sharing of threat intelligence” amongst enterprises, helping them to shield against cyber attacks based on trends and vulnerability. In the latest Sentinel release BrightPoint Security has added enhancements to give IT security professionals better insight, almost immediately, for predicting when potential threats could strike, as well as the risk level that comes with it, enabling IT to enforce security controls.

Of interest here is the use of community-based threat intelligence which allows businesses to share experiences, providing insight to one another and awareness of current and emerging threats across enterprises, their digital ecosystems and infrastructures.  In this way community member will be able to at first assessment to remediate potential risk, while calculating velocity, time and frequency of future attacks.

An evolved technology from the already widely received Security Command Platform (SCP), Sentinel adds modules and deeper insight to how to avoid these attacks through Sentinel’s Trusted Circles. As BrightPoint Security notes, the solution is unlike other threat intelligence platforms that focus only on the tracking of popular, volume-based threats.  Utilizing early prediction forecasts, Sentinel is characterized as a weather map of trending threats to the digital ecosystem.

“An industry first, this predictive insight and threat trending dashboard gives organizations the solution to determine the urgency of response needed to protect themselves,” states Rich Reybok, BrightPoint CTO. Reybok continues, “Today’s offering helps customers drive security strategy and get the most out of their security investments and resources by now having the ability to respond to the most immediate and relevant impending threats and to mitigate exposure fast.”

The latest release of Sentinel allows integration with Carbon Black, scanning the environment for any and all internal threats to provide real-time insights within set perimeters. “Working with BrightPoint’s evidence-based solution enhances our support across customers’ ecosystems and infrastructures with predictive insights into risk-prioritized actions for remediation,” said Brian Hazzard, Bit9 (News – Alert) + Carbon Black VP of Technical Alliances. “Adding the endpoint into the mix of threat vectors deepens organizations’ overall view of the threat landscape of their organization and those with whom they share information in their ecosystems.” 

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