July 24, 2016

Content Sharing in a Video Conference

Here are some things to watch out for when sharing content in your next video conference. These are ALL completely obvious, but still people forget what they are doing.

Email/Chat pop ups
For everyone's sake, please close any chat or email programs that pop up when a new message is received. In a professional meeting, we don't want to see messages from your mother in law or emails from inappropriate senders pop up.

Browser tabs
If you're sharing your web browser, make sure you don't have tabs open to awkward websites where everyone can see your current browsing habits. Same goes if you're typing something in the address bar. You never know what will self populate as you're typing.

Don't be this guy

Wallpaper
Make sure your computer's wallpaper is appropriate for the audience.

Having 800 programs open at once and ALT-TABbing through them
No, having every program that's on your laptop open at once is not productive. Especially so when you're sharing your screen and have to go back to that one program that's there somewhere while passing by every inappropriate program you have open.

July 10, 2016

Review of the 2015 Macbook Air 13 on the fly

Last week I purchased my first Mac. Since I've had several iPads over the past few years and recently switched to an iPhone, getting a Mac made sense. Essentially, the plan is to use this in place of the Chromebook. While I like the Chromebook, the real reason I switched is small time video editing. Right now, I am recording and editing my wife's veterinary videos with my iPhone and iMovie. Now I want to do that on a bigger screen. The Mac's version of iMovie apparently has more tools than the iOs app. Plus, I also have an insanely difficult time uploading videos to her YouTube account on my iPhone. I hope to AirDrop raw video to the Mac, edit them, then upload them from it. I hope it goes smoother.

July 03, 2016

About

Hi! I'm Bryan. Here's more than you'll ever want to know about me

Role
Currently I serve as the Director of Engineering for Array Telepresence. I am also the owner of Hellard Design, where I design stuff.

Designer/Drafter
I started drafting at age 13 when I took my first Industrial Arts class. I drew and then built my own wood box in that class teaching me two important life facts that still hold true today: I can design anything but I can't build shit. Since that class, all I've ever wanted to do is draw things for a living. Not artsy stuff, but stuff with a T-square and a triangle. In 1990 I made the transition to CAD drafting and left the pencil behind. Please, never ask me to build anything.

Tester
I enjoy testing products relating to video conferencing. It's part hobby and part work but all fun. Feel free to send me stuff to test or reach out if you have something like a software codec you want an opinion on. I have opinions.

Pundit
Being opinionated has led me to become a so called pundit in the field of video conferencing. It's easy to call oneself an expert and act like one in a field with so many lackluster offerings. While I come across as being overly critical at times, all I want is for everyone to use video conferencing. So therefore, I hate shitty products that drive users away from the technology. If that alienates me from some people, I'm cool with that.

Blogger
Finally comes the blogger portion of what I do. This is strictly for fun, but my goal if there is one is to educate the reader on video products and offerings. It's also a venue for me to pontificate about what I do and do not like. Although one would never know it based on my grammar but it actually takes me a very long time to write each blog, so bear with the frequency! Every now and again I'll write a paid article for some internet "magazine". Typically those are a pain in the ass as I must adhere to someone else's standards and write what amounts to fluff, but it pays well and allows me to buy stuff to test. I refuse to write vendor based puff pieces. Occasionally, I will write blogs regarding Array. Those are typically technical in nature and aren't marketing fluff.

General
I'm in to camping, hiking and wine. I usually combine all three with my wife Amy and dog Kaylee on any given weekend. It's quite a departure from my work related and high tech activities. I also routinely post things on Twitter. Please follow me @bryanhellard

My resume can be found here.

Thanks!

Software as a Service

Evernote, the popular note taking app, recently announced a broad change of service and pricing. Read more about it here and here. This, among other reasons is why I've become leery of the Software as a Service (SaaS) model in general for a lot of cloud based solutions. At a whim, the company can change pricing, features or even completely shut down leaving the user in their wake. This article will be random thoughts on the matter.

June 22, 2016

What is Equal-i Technology

On the surface the Equal-i technology can seem confusing since it's a new way to solve an old problem. Let this article serve to minimize any confusion regarding the exciting products from Array Telepresence, where we create a better on-screen experience in your conference rooms.

June 14, 2016

InfoComm 2016 Wrap Up

Well I ended up not doing a day two or day three recap, so I'll just finish my InfoComm articles with an overall wrap up of the events of the week. Read my day one recap here and for the rest of it, read on!

June 09, 2016

InfoComm Day One Wrap Up

Day two is here but before I hit the IMCCA Huddle breakfast, I thought I would throw out my impressions of day one.

Since we're exhibiting I was able to get on the show floor around 7:30 to get things set up. Things finally started working around 9:30 then I was off to check things out. The first thing I noticed was the Registration LINE! I've never seen that, but then again I've never had to get my badge the morning of the show. The line was incredibly long.

Pretty much my day revolved around the UC area. Of the products that stuck out to me, one was a small USB3 camera from Marshall Electronics. With a $500 price point and a fall release, this should go far. It's 1080p/30 as well and since it's USB3 it will work with any soft codec. The best thing, however, was the form factor. In an age of HUGE PTZ cameras, this comes across even smaller.

Other things I checked out - but may write about separately later - was the Panacast camera and Cisco's PresenterTrack. Both have their good points and I should probably get a Panacast in to check it out.

The innovation pavillion was cool with a couple of products to check out - chatlight and the products from silexpro.com. The former is a $30 USB light for laptop video chats and the latter looks like a miniature version of Polycom's Centro - only they also make a 3 screen version. When the Centro came out I wondered why they chose 4 screens over 3, so I was pleased that someone else thought of this.

Lunch time brought about the annual State of the Industry lunch and learn. While not wanting to leave anyone out which I understand, there were simply too many people on stage. If the number was cut in half to 5 or 6 it would have been better but I get it. Simply giving each person a minute to introduce themselves and a minute at the end so each can wrap up used 30 minutes of the time.

After lunch it was more show walking trying to check out every camera I could find. It dawned on me last night that the world needs a camera JUST for huddle spaces. The industry is all over themselves with talk of huddle rooms, yet present the old PTZ as an imaging solution. So last night I came up with a concept for one and I'll see where that can lead.

Got to run, day 2 is about to begin!

Note that my iPad and safari in conjunction with blogger has no spell check capability so please forgive the typos.

June 08, 2016

How Google could eat our industry

Late in today's lunch and learn about the current state of the industry, it occurred to me that Google could simply come in and take the entire industry right over without so much as a whimper from current product vendors. Let's look at it.

June 07, 2016

Noticed at InfoComm

As far as the Unified Communications world goes, "huddle" is the word of the show. After walking through the show floor, the one thing that sticks out like a sore thumb is the usage of typical vc equipment for huddle spaces.. Now I'm not sure if it's just because of space limitations in booths, but I saw way too many 4 person tables slammed right up against either one monitor or two with a PTZ camera sitting above the displays. This is absolutely usless if you have four people as the camera can't capture everyone with its typical FOV. Now again, I'll state that maybe this is because of booth space limitations, but this type of setup is plainly bad. I've not seen a huddle solution that incorporates a PTZ that has an acceptable outcome.

If you do in fact have a huddle room and plan to use a PTZ camera, at the very least place the camera at eye level and keep people as far away from the displays as possible.

June 06, 2016

What NOT to do at InfoComm

So we've read, watched and heard about what to do at InfoComm, but what we haven't heard yet is what not to do.

Get drunk
If memory serves I wrote about this after Enterprise Connect a couple of years ago, but watch the over indulging and be mindful of those who may have had too much. InfoComm isn't the booze-fest that I found EC to be, but there is plenty enough to go around. Over doing it at a vendor's after party looks bad on you and your company.

Over doing the social media
Not everyone needs to know every detail of your trip. Plus, don't get so consumed with social media that you miss the entire point of you being there. We've seen it too many times at restaurants, sporting events and social gatherings where people have their faces buried in their phones, completely oblivious to everything going on around them.

Try to see and do everything
We're not super men and women. It's going to be real hard to slow down and take some time looking at what you should be looking at versus seeing the stuff that probably doesn't matter. I'm accused of this completely, but this year I'm trying to keep myself focused mainly on the Unified Communication area.

Go on SWAG hunts
It's a peeve of mine, where people hit up booths unrelated to their field solely to take free stuff. Sure, it's put out there for people to take, but that doesn't mean you have to. It's marketing materials for that company. My thought is that if I wouldn't take a business card from someone, I shouldn't take a pen with their company branding on it. Remember, you have to take that stuff home with you.

That's about all I can think of now - See you there!