Skype for Business or Lync with a Facelift? And how does IE WebRTC fit in?

lync as skype

Two days ago, Microsoft announced that “Skype for Business” will roll out in 2015. In addition to having retired Messenger, Skype will be doing the same to Lync, Microsoft Office’s longstanding answer to business videoconferencing and collaboration.  However, within the announcement were the following three sentences:

“…we’re adopting the familiar Skype icons for calling, adding video and ending a call. We’ve added the call monitor from Skype, which keeps an active call visible in a small window even when a user moves focus to another application.

“At the same time, Skype for Business keeps and improves on all of the capabilities of Lync, including content sharing and telephony.”

It appears that Lync isn’t being retired so much as being overlaid with Skype’s GUI and being rebranded. I was tempted to argue whether or not this really counted as being “Skype”, but then realized that a large part of what makes Skype Skype actually IS that interface.

Something like this was expected, of course, ever since Microsoft acquired Skype.  It’s a smart move:  Skype, despite its immense popularity in the private world, was unable to transfer that popularity into the business world due to security concerns and Read more

swyMe – Expanding Telehealth, Mobile, Cloud

reprinted with permission by Mobile Cloud Era


Photo: By Tim Evanson, [CC BY-SA 2.0], at Flickr

In a merger of telehealth, mobile and cloud, Massachusetts-based swyMe is pass4sure exams offering video conferencing in ambulances. The basic system includes three cameras in the vehicle: a standard “fish eye” 360º camera mounted high on the ambulance wall; a webcam attached to a touch screen monitor; and a handheld HDTV 720p IP camera.

The combination of the three affords a remote physician a view of the overall situation in the ambulance, the ability to communicate face-to-face with attending EMS workers and capability to zero in to close-up views of the patient. The system is HIPAA compliant and uses AES256 security.

swyMe COO Jeff Urdan explained that the system provides high quality video using public Internet with low bandwidth mobile, about 384 kbs for a quality video signal. It can accommodate p4soutlet multiple carriers. The software comes standard with a handheld examination camera, otoscope and stethoscope, but can include any USB or Bluetooth medical diagnostic device including ultrasound or EKG. The system is interactive.

Among the benefits of their system is the obvious fact that many emergency patients may be in locations that require long rides to hospitals and may need doctor’s care immediately. Urdan points out that EMS workers are regulated and have limited authority to treat. This also enables additional levels of care in the ambulance with a doctor in contact. It also does lead to additional stocking of supplies in the ambulance and added training. Of course, a doctor could be in telephone contact with an ambulance during its journey, however, the video adds greatly to the physician’s ability to diagnose and treat the patient.

The system was released in early May. Urdan states that the first client is conducting a technical evaluation until August. The test is not using an actual ambulance in the field. It is done with a suitcase with the system parts.

swyMe has partnered with Michigan-based MaxLife to produce the system. swyMe’s expertise is in software for video and communications. They sought out a supplier of video surveillance cameras for this app, which brought them to MaxLife , a Verizon M2M partner.

Pricing is $25,000 to outfit an ambulance, including software and Verizon service for the first two years.  Then annual renewals for software and Verizon are $3,000/year after that. swyMe is a Delaware C Corp, and a wholly-owned subsidiary of VeaMea BV, (Netherlands-based).  HitCast (Italy-based) has an ownership stake in VeaMea BV. The company deals primarily with healthcare clients, but also offers video and related solutions to financial services companies.

VeaMea and HitCast have extensive, software-centric solutions for unified conferencing, via the internet TCP/IP protocols and a wide range of standards: H.323, SIP, LAPD, as examples. This provides a magic sauce for swyMe to implement across a host of existing legacy systems. These solutions also are remote video signal processing oriented and specifically adapted for 3G/4G UMTS systems, thereby providing an unusual level of quality transmission. The collaboration brought by this joint venture is directed toward mobile telemedicine applications. One other interesting aspect of VeaMea’s products is the integration of a “cloud Console” for client administration of the service.

swyMe is apparently going to be the branding trademark of VeaMea in the US. The Ambulance product offering is apparently only the beginning of a broader marketing front in video conferencing via the mobile cloud.

There are about 15,000 ambulance companies in the U.S., with approximately 50,000 vehicles. The company is also looking to the European market for expansion.

Mobilecloudera.com is produced by two leading information industry experts, Al Boschulte and Victor Schnee, who have published four studies about the ‘Future of the Mobile Cloud.’

3 Takeaways from ATA 2014

ATA takeaways

Yes, we’re perhaps a little late with this posting.  However, we think the key takeaways (for us) from this year’s ATA  (American Telemedicine Association) conference are important enough to immortalize anyway.

#1 We’re past the tipping point.

This was such a key point that the ATA itself made sure to quote a speaker mentioning it before the conference even started:

Speaker Joe Peterson, CEO of Specialists on Call, said: “In 2013 telemedicine started passing many ‘tipping points,’ in multiple industry segments, making it a true moment in time to found, scale …read more…

VeaMea named “Best Practice” by SAMHSA

River Edge resized 600  SAMHSA resized 600

River Edge Behavioral Health has been praised by SAMHSA for its forward-thinking, efficient and effective use of technology.

One critical component of their strategy is using VeaMea as a telehealth platform to:

  • Increase access
  • Reduce physician turnover
  • Improve productivity
River Edge transformed their delivery of service.  You can too.
Learn more about River Edge.
Contact Us to find out how you can join them in the ranks of innovators.

UC, Unified Communications & the Brooklyn Bridge

UC-Unified-Communications

[Photo Credit: Joel Greenberg, click photo to access his website]

What is Unified Communications ?

Ask ten friends to define Unified Comunications or look at five UC vendors’ websites and try to reconcile their depictions into one coherent definition.

Hyoun Park, Telecom and Unified Communications Research Analyst at Aberdeen Group, has a fun animation about Unified Communications.

If you don’t want to watch, I’ll give you my takeaways.

People say UC is: …read more…

Top 5 Ways to Stop Echo on Your Video Conference

With multiple sound sources and recording devices in a video call / video conference / video collaboration session, one of the big issues that can detract from the “like you are there” experience is the presence of audio echo echo echo echo echo.

Stop-Echo-On-Video-Calls

As big a fan as you might be of Martha and the Muffins, the last thing you want in your video call is echo.  But what can you do ?  First you have to know who is CAUSING the echo.  It is actually sort of easy.  If you hear yourself echo, you are not the problem.  The one person on the call who says “What echo are you all talking about?” is the source.

Now you can get to work fixing it with the top five ways to quash echo on your next video call:

1) Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC) Software – The Windows operating system has echo cancellation technology built in and …read more…