Archive for 2015

Polycom’s impressive new videoconferencing solution brings yet another Star Trek technology to life.

If you’ve read my blog over the years, it should be easy to surmise that I’m a big fan of the TV show Star Trek. Given that the show was filmed in the 60s, the amount of technology it portrayed that has become a reality is remarkable. The show had voice-activated computers, and now we have Siri. It had immersive video, we have telepresence. It had communicators, we have push-to-talk phones. The list goes on and on. While I’m still waiting for warp drive, today at an event in New York, Polycom unveiled a new video solution called Centro that was designed to improve the effectiveness of meeting rooms.

New products aimed at supporting natural collaboration styles could help businesses get more value from meeting spaces.

In August I wrote this No Jitter post discussing the challenges associated with physical meeting spaces and then followed that up with another article in which I debated this topic with Rob Portwood, managing director and owner of Videocall, a U.K.-based systems integrator and service provider. The theme of these blogs was that although the industry has done a nice job with the evolution of virtual collaboration tools, physical space evolution has lagged way behind. For all intents and purposes, the dynamics of huddle rooms, meeting rooms and other meeting spaces are the same as they were decades ago.

This week Polycom held an event in New York to celebrate its 25-year anniversary. At the shindig, the company unveiled a number of innovative new solutions to help evolve physical meeting spaces. While the products were each quite different, they were designed to help organizations maximize the effectiveness of a meeting space — from small huddle rooms up to large conference rooms. Here’s a closer look at the products that I felt were the most meaningful:

Arista Networks announced Macro-Segmentation Services (MSS), a new capability for its CloudVision product.

Five years ago, almost all of the traffic in a data center moved in a North-South direction. Traffic moved from one server through the different tiers of a network, passed through the core, and then up to another server. Enabling security and application optimization services with this model was fairly simple. Put a big, honking firewall or ADC in the core of the network and all traffic would pass through these devices.

I moderated a workshop on the topic of software defined WANs (SD-WAN) last month and I’m continually baffled that the focus of software-defined networking remains on the hardware for so many individuals. This is clearly a hangover from the early days of SDN when many of the start ups were hammering home the point that hardware is expensive and businesses should move to a software-defined model and cut capital costs.

A look at an extensive mental health organization in Massachusetts and how it is incorporating video to improve treatment.

The topic of the evolution of collaboration tools to improve virtual collaboration has been red hot of late. There’s been a flurry of startup activity in the area of team messaging, and the concept of the virtual meeting room has become the latest buzzword among unified communications vendors.

By calculating the fastest path possible for internet traffic, Teridion aims to boost internet speeds.

Earlier this week, I wrote a post discussing how network optimization hasn’t evolved fast enough to improve the performance of the cloud. More and more organizations are leveraging cloud-based applications and services, making Internet performance business-critical.

Intranets certainly aren’t new, but building one in a way to make it an interactive hub for employees to collaborate is a refreshing take on it.

A technical definition of “intranet” would be something along the lines of a network that works in the same way as the Internet, yet only certain people can use. But if you ask an employee of a company with an intranet how to define it, he or she would likely say it’s more of a boring webpage that they never go to. Why? Because it’s not really like the Internet at all.

Sure, intranets may work like the Internet, but the Internet is real time, constantly in motion, and always has fresh information. Most intranets are anything but that. Content is updated very infrequently, and the information that’s on the page is often useless to the average employee.

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