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Yearly Archives: 2012

Two UC Technologies You Should Be Using Now

Written on December 27, 2012 at 4:13 pm, by

There are many unified communications (UC) technologies available in the market, at a variety of price ranges and levels of complexity. Through our experience, we see two good ones that you can use now, quickly and easily, which have the potential to provide immense benefit to your organization and you.

 

1. Skype™

 

You may be familiar with Skype™ for personal use, but did you know that businesses are using it for conferencing and collaboration, too? Millions of individuals and businesses use Skype™ to make free video and voice calls, send instant messages and share files with other Skype™ users. Every day, people everywhere also use Skype™ to make low-cost calls to landlines and mobiles.

 

Skype™ delivers innovative, real-time communications and collaboration solutions to businesses of all sizes. It enables businesses to lower costs and expand how employees, customers, partners and suppliers communicate and collaborate with greater convenience and efficiency.

 

Greater numbers of companies are adding Skype™ calling to IP-based enterprise communications systems, providing a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) communications channel. By adding Skype™ Connect to your existing SIP-enabled PBX, your business can save on communication costs with little or no additional upgrades required.

 

More about Skype™ Connect can be found online at http://www.skype.com/intl/en/business/skype-connect.

 

2. Microsoft

 

Microsoft® Lync® is an enterprise-ready unified communications platform. With Lync®, users can keep track of their contacts’ availability; send an IM; start or join an audio, video, or web conference; or make a phone call—all through a consistent, familiar interface. Lync® is built to fully integrate with Microsoft Office.

 

Microsoft® Lync® 2010 gives users real-time presence information—including photos, availability, and location—and enhanced instant messaging (IM) to help them connect more efficiently and effectively.

 

With integrated conferencing capability, Lync makes it easy for users to create, moderate, and join pre-planned and on-the-fly audio, video, and web meetings with people inside and outside the organization.

 

Case studies illustrating how companies are currently using Lync® can be found online at http://lync.microsoft.com/en-us/why-choose-lync/Pages/case-studies.aspx.

 

As always, you can contact us at ClearOne for more specific suggestions and recommendations related to your company.

 

Visit us on the web at www.clearone.com or contact us by phone at 1-800-945-7730

Skype™ is a trade mark of Skype™ and is used with the permission of Skype™ Limited

Microsoft® and Lync® are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies in the United States and/or other countries.

ClearOne’s Tech Wish List 2012

Written on December 14, 2012 at 4:01 pm, by

‘Tis the season for awesome consumer electronic gifts. With the sometimes overwhelming amount of technology available, picking just the perfect gift can be difficult.  The ClearOne team has put together the wish list of gizmos and gadgets that every tech savvy person on your list is sure to enjoy.

 

Lacie Rugged Thunderbolt
$229 to $349.99

A storage device may not be the most exciting sounding gift, but for techies, having portable storage space for photos, movies and music, as well as for backing up systems, this is a must.  LaCie has released the Rugged Thunderbolt, the first bus-powered portable drive.  It offers fast performance, USB 3.0 support, is very durable and is competitively priced.  The LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt is one of the best high-end and reliable portable drives available today.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Apple iPAD Mini
$329 to $549.99

 

 

If you are in the market for a tablet this year, and can afford the Apple iPad Mini, it’s a great choice.  It is a thinner, lighter and cheaper version of the iPad, with a smaller screen and more portable than its larger sibling. With the 4:3 aspect ratio, you actually have more surface area on the screen compared to other 7 inch tablets with a wide ratio.  There are also significantly more apps available than on other tables such as the Google Nexus 7.  After you unwrap this great gift, click on the APP store icon and download ClearOne’s iMusica APP for free multi-room control for any AV gear with the popular Musica system.
 
 
 
 

ClearOne iPod Dock for DigiLinX
$360

 

The ClearOne iPod dock for DigiLinX allows complete remote control, streaming and charging for your protable music collection.  Once an iPod is placed in the IPD100, the music library on the iPod can quickly and easily be searched by genre, playlist, album, artist or individual song title from any location in your home with a DigilinX controller, including in-wall touch screens or wireless remotes.

 
 
 
 

ClearOne Collaborate Desktop
Free 30 Day Trial Download

 
 
 

 
COLLABORATE Desktop offers high definition audio and video up to 720p and 1080p*, and includes features and functionality that extend far beyond the capabilities of a desktop videoconferencing application This cutting edge software offers multiple media transmitting capabilities for video, audio and data.

It is available in three different models: Basic, Professional and Executive, to suit varying corporate requirements. A special TV Broadcaster model is also available.   * 1080P Incoming only is available in Executive mode.

 
 
 
 
 

Slingbox 500 – $300
 

When traveling for work or for vacation, you can now watch what’s showing or recorded on your cable or satellite box at home. It’s that simple. The new Slingbox connects through paid apps sold on Google Android, Apple iOS, Amazon.com’s Kindle Fire and Microsoft’s Windows phone stores, and deliver full high-definition viewing of your home content. Just make sure the streaming video doesn’t eat away at your data plan. An exciting new feature allows you to stream photos and other content off your device to the big-screen TV.  Perfect for sending photos of the company booth at the trade show back to the corporate office for review, or video clips of vacation to loved ones back home.
 
 
 

Brookstone HDMI Pocket Projector
$299.99

 

This projector is super light, portable, and rechargeable, and can run for up to two hours off a single charge. Since it’s USB, you can also use it as an emergency battery for your phone. It’s high resolution HDMI and has 85 lumens, and it looks good even when it’s not completely dark. Great for giving presentations in a conference room or just watching episodes of TV in a hotel room.

 
 
 
 
 

mMini Combo Duo travel charging kit (Innergie)
$50

 

 

With all the gadgets we find ourselves increasingly carrying around, the mMini Combo Duo Charger eliminates the need to carry multiple charging cables, which is a must for a work force always on the go. There is a combo Apple and micro USB tip that will connect to iPads, iPhones, and Android devices.  A second port will accommodate a second USB charge and you also get a dual USB car-charging outlet as well.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Glider Gloves
$24.99

 

 

If you own a smart phone and live in a colder temperature, you know what a hassle it is to take off your gloves to activate and use your phone.  The GliderGloves feature anti-slip silicon grips, so you won’t worry about dropping it like you do with traditional thick fingered gloves.  The entire outer surface of the glove allows you interact with your phone, and are available in multiple sizes and colors.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Chat USB Headsets
$28.00 – $110.00

 

 

Pick up one of ClearOne’s CHAT USB headsets, for comfort, durability and amazing audio quality.  With their advanced, microphone noise-cancelling technology, it keeps conversations crystal-clear.  Their adjustable headbands create a truly customized fit, and the microphone windscreens reduce wind, breathing and popping noises.  Audio compatibility with in-line control for UC applications and softphones like Avaya, Cisco, IBM, Microsoft® Lync™, Skype™ and more!  Perfect for use in a busy office, or at home when your next epic game of “Call of Duty.”

 
 
 
 

Mophie Juice Pack
$100.00

 
 

From pitch meetings to networking events, don’t let your friend embarrass themselves by having a dead phone when they need it most. The Mophie Juice Pack will add additional battery power inside a stylish case so iPhones and Androids get an extra boost of life for all networking, social media, and photo snapping purposes. The $100 version for the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S3 can add eight additional hours of Web browsing time.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Chat Personal Speaker
$150.00

 

The Skype Certified™ CHAT 60-U speakerphone is created expressly for Skype™ PCs and can also be used for phone conversations or audio playback. Rugged and portable, the CHAT 60- U is designed for ease of use and unsurpassed voice quality in the home office or on the move with laptop USB power. Perfect for personal use, traveling professionals, college students or small office desktops, the CHAT 60-U allows you to conference any time, any place. Your new iPad Mini has high definition picture, shouldn’t you also enjoy high definition sound?

 

 

 
 
 

Doxie Go Portable Document Scanner
$199.00

 

 

Ever need something scanned and aren’t at the office?  The Doxie Go is a small, portable document scanner that doesn’t even need to be connected to a computer. Simply turn this battery-powered scanner on, feed a few documents in it, and turn it off. The scans will be saved to either its internal memory or a connected SD card or USB stick, ready to be copied to your computer the next time you’re at your desk.  Great for recording lunch receipts, business cards or important business items.
 
Skype™ is a trade mark of Skype™ and is used with the permission of Skype™ Limited
 
Microsoft® and Lync® are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies in the United States and/or other countries.

ClearOne Releases New Wireless Microphone System for Installed Audio Products

Written on December 11, 2012 at 1:05 pm, by

Company now offers a complete suite of microphones to meet all Pro AV applications

 

 

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (December 11, 2012) – ClearOne (NASDAQ: CLRO) today announced the release of its new WS800 Digital Wireless Microphone System to complement its professionally installed audio conferencing product lines. The microphone system uses radio-frequency digital wireless signal transmission technology with highly secure encryption and is optimized to work with CONVERGE® Pro and INTERACT® Pro products.

 

The WS800 system includes four new models of wireless microphones/transmitters and a base-station receiver with either 4 or 8 channels, which connects to professional audio mixers. With the introduction of the WS800, ClearOne now offers a complete range of microphones for its industry-leading audio DSP products. The popular Ceiling Microphone Array, tabletop microphones, and the newest Beamforming Microphone Array (to be shipped next quarter) are now joined by a suite of wireless microphones including tabletop, gooseneck, hand-held and belt-pack lavalier.

 

The WS800 system boasts important features including:

 

+        Multiple RF bands (902 to 928 MHz, 710 to 740 MHz, 603 to 630 MHz) for any application

 

+        ClearOne’s 24-bit digital signal processing for unmatched, crystal-clear audio

 

+        256-bit encryption (conforming to US Govt. AES specifications) for robust security

 

+        Ability to daisy-chain up to a 32-channel system to support large venues

 

+        Rechargeable and field-replaceable standard AA batteries for flexible power options

 

+        Docking station to provide convenient recharging and storage

 

+        Extension antenna kits to add wider wireless coverage

 

“Our new wireless microphone system is configured to work with our professional conferencing products, using the optimized microphone gain settings in CONVERGE® Console software. This synergetic ClearOne system ensures hassle-free deployment; adding convenience and value for the installers,” said Durai Ramachandiran, Director of Product Line Management. “While the new ClearOne wireless microphone system can be used with any industry audio DSP product, the integrator now has full, one-stop ClearOne sourcing, support and guaranteed performance for the heart of an installed professional audio system.”

 

The new WS800 Digital Wireless Microphone System will be available for shipping in January 2013.

 

Contact ClearOne Sales at 1-800-707-6994 or sales@clearone.com to schedule a demonstration.

 

About ClearOne

 

ClearOne is a global company that designs, develops, and sells conferencing, collaboration, streaming, and digital signage solutions for audio, video, and data multimedia communication. The performance and simplicity of its advanced comprehensive solutions enhance the quality of life. ClearOne products offer unprecedented levels of functionality, reliability, and scalability.  More information about the company can be found at www.clearone.com

 

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www.clearone.com/pressroom

 

 

Digital Signage Hosting: It’s All About Location, Location, Location

Written on December 11, 2012 at 10:39 am, by

 

When it comes to digital signage, did you know that there is a difference between a web-based SaaS Solution, an on-premise server, and a desktop application?

 

This article will show the basic differences of each method, as well as discuss the benefits and limitations of each platform.

 

SaaS

 

SaaS stands for “Software as a Service.” Content such as images, text, and video are located on servers in another location known as the cloud. Users will login to the website that hosts the software for digital signage content creation, the user administration, and the media player management.

 

The SaaS model usually has a monthly or annual fee, which will cover the hosting and bandwidth costs, development, support, and maintenance costs.

 

One of the major benefits of a SaaS solution is the support — basically an outsourced IT department. You have no need to maintain a digital signage server, and are instead renting space on a server that is hosted and supported by a 3rd party. The SaaS can be seen as an operating expense and not a capital expense. This allows you to immediately recognize the cost of the SaaS, instead of capitalizing the cost and writing it off over a period of years.

 

On-Premise Server

 

The On-Premise Server is a web-based solution, much like the Saas. One major difference is that you log into – and matinain – a local servier instead of logging into a web portal. The benefit of this system is that you know your total cost up-front, as you are doing the hosting. The up-front fees are more expensive than the SaaS model, but there are no ongoing fees on the back end. The downside of this system is that you are still responsible for maintaining and managing the server.

 

Desktop Applications

 

A Desktop Application model is a very user-friendly platform, as it works much like another familiar program, Microsoft Word. The application is placed onto a PC and then launched from the desktop. You create and edit the content locally on your PC, and then upload it to the player. There are several benefits to this model, since you are aware of the total cost up-front, and you have a familiar environment in which to work. Desktop applications are solid, dependable and have been around for quite some time. One of the drawbacks, however, is that desktop platforms are not as flexible as web-based solutions. As a result, it’s not as easy for multiple people to collaborate on the same project from several different locations.

 

 

Unified Communications: A Competitive Advantage

Written on December 5, 2012 at 9:37 am, by

Trio of Headsets from ClearOne

The Chat 150 from ClearOneThe Chat Attach 150 from ClearOne

 

Successful companies are achieving greater impact by using unified communications (UC) technologies to transform inefficient business processes. By using the right technologies, UC is powerful, natural, and simple to implement.

 

What Is UC?

 

Unified communications (UC) is the integration of real-time communication services such as instant messaging (chat), presence information, telephony (including IP telephony), video conferencing, data sharing (including interactive white boards), call control, and speech recognition with non-real-time communication services such as unified messaging (integrated voice mail, e-mail, SMS, and fax). UC is not necessarily a single product, but a set of products that provides a consistent unified user interface and user experience across multiple devices and media types.

 

Trends and Benefits

 

In its broadest sense, UC can encompass all forms of communications that are exchanged via the medium of the TCP/IP network to include other forms of communications such as Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) and Digital Signage Communications. As they become an integrated part of the network communications deployment, they may be easily be directed from one-to-one communications to broadcast / conferencing communications. The technology allows up to 9 separate locations to connect with each other, without needing to add any hardware infrastructure. With the proper hardware, users may add over 36 locations to their broadcast.

 

Unified communications technology allows users to seamlessly collaborate with other people on a project, even if the two users are in separate locations across the globe. For example, a user can quickly locate another person by accessing an interactive directory, engage in a text messaging session, and then escalate the session to a voice call, or even a video call.

 

In another example, an employee receives a call from a customer who wants answers to a question that the representative is unable to answer. Unified communications enables that employee to call an expert colleague from a real-time list and respond to the customer faster by eliminating rounds of back-and-forth e-mails and phone-tag.

 

These are just a few samples of the many ways your company can benefit from the technologies powering unified communications. But the possibilities are endless, limited only by your creativity and the ingenuity of your service provider.

 

 

INteract AT Skype

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As always, you can contact us for more specific suggestions and recommendations related to your company on the web at www.ClearOne.com or by phone at 1-800-945-7730

 

 

 

SaaS vs On Premise vs Desktop Applications

Written on December 4, 2012 at 4:27 pm, by

Saas vs. On Premise Server vs. Desktop Application

 

Do you know the different between a Web Based SaaS Solution vs. an On Premise Server vs. a Desktop Application for Digital Signage?

 

This post will outline the basic differences of each platform as well as address some of the benefits and limitations of each method.

 

Let’s define what SaaS is.

 

It stands for Software as a Service. It means that a user typically logs into a website that houses the software for digital signage content creation, user administration, and media player management.

 

The content such as images and videos are all located in the cloud which is a fancy way of saying they are on someone else’s servers.

 

The SaaS model is usually priced as a monthly or annual fee which covers hosting/ bandwidth costs, maintenance, support, and development.

 

The upside to a SaaS Solution is that the customer is essentially outsourcing their IT Department.  The customer has no need to maintain a Digital Signage Server.  Instead they are essentially renting space on a server hosted by a 3rd party.   For some customers this is also valuable in that SaaS is an operating expense as opposed to a capital expense.  This allows the custom to immediately expense that cost instead of capitalizing the cost and writing it off over a period of years.

 

An On Premise Server is a Web Based Solution like SaaS however instead of the customer logging into a web portal, the custom logs into a local server that they maintain.  The upside here is that a customer knows up front what their total cost will be as they are doing their own hosting.   It is more expensive up front, however there is no ongoing fees. They are responsible however for maintaining and managing that server.

 

A Desktop Application works like any other program that you are familiar with such as MS Word or PowerPoint.  The application is loaded onto a PC and launched from the desktop.  The user creates their content locally on their PC before sending it to the player.  The upside here is that the customer knows their total cost up front.  It is also a familiar environment to work in.  Desktop Applications are solid and have been around for a long time.  They are not however as flexible as a Web Based Solution which by design make it much easier for multiple people to collaborate on the same project from multiple locations.

Rights in the Digital Age

Written on November 29, 2012 at 12:07 am, by

 

Rights in the Digital Age

 

As I write this post, the US House Judiciary Committee on Intellectual Property is conducting a hearing on the Internet Radio Fairness Act (IRFA). You may have read some of the very high-profile artists who have come out publicly in opposition. This new policy does not set or change any royalty rates for Internet radio; instead it modernizes the structure for rate-setting in a more viable way, allowing Internet protocol digital music distribution models to continue in the future.

 

The IRFA will simply move streaming services such as the popular ClearOne ANTHOLOGYTM  Pandora to the more-traditional “801(b)” rate-setting standard, which provides a balance of the interests of the copyright owners, the copyright users and the general public. The 801(b) standard has been used successfully for several decades, covering other forms of digital radio such as satellite radio, cable radio, and even many record labels.

 

The US Congress typically instructs the copyright office to use a standard set of four criteria to determine a fair royalty rate for digital radio:

 

  1. Maximize the availability of creative works to the public.
  2. Insure a fair return for copyright owners and a fair income for copyright users.
  3. Reflect relative roles of capital investment, cost, and risk.
  4. Minimize the disruptive impact on the industries involved.

 

The current royalty-rate setting standards for digital radio are confusing and directly related to piecemeal legislation enacted with each newly invented technology. This ad-hoc approach has resulted in costing models that are completely out-of-sync with today’s digital market realities.

 

ClearOne firmly believes in digital rights and that all copyright owners should be fairly compensated, as this expands the streaming industry and provides a variety of choices in content provided to our customers. We believe that passage of the IRFA would foster innovation in the streaming industry and should be supported. The growth of Internet radio will benefit ANTHOLOGY consumers, the musicians and copyright holders and will pay many dividends for distribution technologies such as StreamNetTM.

 

With ANTHOLOGY you can enjoy setting up your own Internet radio services with our Pandora service or enjoy over 130 channels of music, sports, news and talk with over 100 commercial-free music options from our Sirius XM radio service. And with the built-in, one-Terabyte storage you can also stream all your iTunes content over your standard Internet Protocol local area network.

 

For more information about ANTHOLOGY click this link;
http://www.clearone.com/commercial_anthology

 

Have three minutes? Can you spot the MAX Wireless?

Written on November 21, 2012 at 4:22 pm, by

ClearOne Wireless Conferencing

Get your ClearOne MAX® Wireless and MAXAttach® expandable wireless conferencing phones, and rest assured you’re getting the best audio quality, service and expertise available. Winner of Frost & Sullivan’s 2012 Global Tabletop Audio Conferencing Endpoints Product Line Strategy Award, ClearOne provides the flexibility and ease of use you need with tabletop conferencing. Large and small businesses alike rely on the breadth of audio and video conferencing solutions and the legacy audio you will only find at ClearOne.

 

MAX Wireless: Freedom to take your conference with you from room to room with secure, encrypted transmissions. Simply plug in the base unit and use the speakerphone in any room within signal range.

 

Highlights:

 

  • Superior audio clarity brought by ClearOne’s HDConference® audio technology.
  • Proprietary echo and noise cancellation
  • Full-duplex audio
  • Automatic gain and level controls adjust mic and speaker levels automatically
  • Adaptive modeling continuously sample room acoustics for changes
  • 64-bit encrypted communication, 15-foot signal range, and 12 hours battery life
  • Easy to use with true plug-and-play capability

 

We’re Bringing Fresh Content – No Peeking Until Then

Written on November 18, 2012 at 11:21 pm, by

The Value of Software-Based Codecs -Part I

Written on November 18, 2012 at 8:00 pm, by

THE VALUE OF SOFTWARE-BASED VIDEO CODECS

 

S. Ann Earon, Ph.D.
President, Telemanagement Resources International Inc.

 

Introduction


With the advent of new video conferencing and collaborative technology products, a discussion has begun to revolve around the value of a software-based architecture versus a hardware based system.
For years, many video conferencing vendors convinced customers that the hardware-based system was the right tool for conferencing and that software-based systems had too many limitations. However, with the:

 

      • proliferation of bandwidth,
      • the flexibility of the Internet protocol,
      • increased processing capability of general-purpose processors & standard operating systems,
      • the introduction of tablets,
      • the capability for general-purpose processors to handle video related tasks, and
      • an awareness of contemporary conferencing

 

requirements, vendors have now changed their tune and introduced an open and flexible collaboration platform based on software-based codecs instead of dedicated hardware- based codecs for video conferencing.
The purpose of this paper is to understand the value of software-based codecs as part of today’s collaborative tools.

Meeting Customer Needs


The strongest message received from long-term video conferencing users is that the video conferencing ‘talkingheads’ experience is not a sufficiently compelling reason to justify installation of video conferencing equipment in substantially more than a few select conference rooms. Users state that the value in meetings has as much, or more, to do with the information handled in the meetings as it has to do with seeing people. That information might be in the form of PowerPoint presentations, paper handouts, information from a tablet, video clips and photos, or notes on a whiteboard. While vendors have offered peripheral equipment to meet these applications, users feel these needs are not peripheral to their business, but an integral part of their business. As a result, new video conferencing systems have been developed embracing the sharing of meeting content as an equal partner with the transmission of audio and video. But why develop these new systems on software-based codecs?

 

The Software-Based Solution


Software-based solutions can be resident on many types of general-purpose devices including PCs, appliances, servers and hand-held devices etc. Software-based video codecs can be used for conference room, desktop and mobile applications.

 

Historically, general-purpose devices have been quite lame with respect to handling motion video. It is only in the last few years that graphics and CPU processing power has approached the level of sophistication and power to do justice to quality TV images, an evolution that has recently been driven by the emergence of DVD playback on the PC, video gaming devices, handheld communication devices, and a variety of social media offerings.

 

The PC is not new to video conferencing. In 1989, VTEL offered the first PC-based video conferencing system. In 1993, PictureTel introduced the System 1000, based on personal computer architecture. In 1997, VCON  invented the first IP-only desktop videoconferencing system for videoconferencing over large organizational networks. However, historically video vendors have been very reserved about exposing the PC inside to the video conferencing user, in part out of concern to protect customers from some of the pitfalls of having a personal computer in a group environment, and in part because until recently the PC leant itself poorly to the seamless integration of motion video and PC-generated content.

 

In parallel with the general-purpose devices maturing as a standards-based motion-video platform, the Web has grown to become an indispensable source of information for business. By merging general-purpose processing functionality with video conferencing functionality, and opening the general-purpose device to the conferenceroom use, the resources on a company’s local area network are as accessible in the conference room as when sitting at one’s desk. The result is a much better integrated solution than simply attaching a PC as an afterthought to a ‘talking heads’ video conferencing system.

 

Web access, access to networked files and databases, and the use of attached devices, such as whiteboards connected with a local or networked printer, provide end users with value from the collaboration system, even for single-room, non-video meetings.

 

It’s economics that led to the development of Telestream’s original multi-thousand dollar FlipFactory box. Today, they offer video transcoding workflow solutions as software downloads. And, that is precisely what they are, transcoding solutions, which do not perform as well as using the matching codec employed at the origination site.

 

Incompatibility between codecs is not going to fade away as technology evolves. Instead, codecs will become more prolific and complex to the point  where it comes economically impossible to build chip sets that keep up with software development.

 

When a system is designed with all these aspects in mind, use of these valuable meeting tools in video calls is a seamless and natural extension of their everyday use in a regular meeting room. Apart from the sheer value of getting more use out of the equipment, this has the added benefit of acclimatizing users to the equipment in conditions other than during a video call, since for some novice or occasional users a video call may be a ‘special event’ viewed with some trepidation.

 

STAY TUNED FOR PART II….