Another Day, Another Conferencing App

It seems like just about every day someone is releasing a new conferencing app.

Today it's Phrase, who have come out with a browser based free (for now) conferencing service. It works fairly easily and reminds me a lot of GetARoom from client Temasys, pioneers in the Embedded Real Time Communications space who produced the proof of concept over two years ago using WebRTC entirely.

Phrase_io_–_Free_video_conferencing_and_screen_sharing

To use Phrase you simply do this...

  1. Go to Phrase's web site.
  2. Create a name for your call.
  3. Click start a conference
  4. Share the link
  5. Have up to 100 people on the voice or video call
  6. Use the side features pull out to chat or raise your hand.
  7. Use the top toggles to mute or toggle on the video camera
  8. Monitor performance right on screen in the lower right hand corner.

You can do other things too with Phrase. You can go full screen and of course even, hang up, all from within the browser..

Phrase is another example of Embedded Real Time Communications, built upon WebRTC. As WebRTC proliferates, we can expect to see more services like this come along. Give it a spin and let me know what you think...

 


The Comunicano for Friday February 17 2017

 
Last night I dined out using Feastly for the first time. It was the way to book seats at a “pop up” dinners across the USA. The dinner was the debut of former Herringbone LA chef Jason Witzl, who is in the process of opening up his own Cal-Ital place, Ellie’s, in DTLA. Not only was Feastly a cool app/service experience end to end, but the communal dining experience made it easy to make new friends, hang with old friends, eat very well and of course BYOB. 

Alexa-can you come with me? So many times i wanted to take Alexa with me, so while Telzio had voice enabled access to my Amazon Echo first via their mobile app, almost a full year or so ago, there wasn’t a lot of use. Well the game just changed as Rain Labs has launched Reverb with apps for the Mac, iOS and Android. It’s all made possible by Amazon Voice Service.  As I wrote on the Xceptional Blog a few days ago, Amazon keeps looking more and more like a telco/information services competitor to AT&T, Verizon, H-P and more….
So with that, let’s dive into the news in today’s extended edition of Comunicano.

Facebook just changed its mission, because the old one was broken
Here are the details of Uber's disastrous public Q&A session with drivers on Facebook
App Watch
Messaging Tech Expert: The Year Messaging (Actually) Matches its Hype
White House Staff Are Using A "Secure" App That’s Really Not So Secure
23 Must-Have Alexa Skills for Your Small Business
Money Watch
Uber Gives Restless Employees a Way to Cash Out
Airbnb buys Montreal-based Luxury Retreats to bolster high-end vacation offerings
Verizon acquires Portland startup Skyward, a maker of drone management software
Daimler’s MyTaxi acquires Greek rival Taxibeat for undisclosed amount
Soundtrack Your Brand has raised $22 million for B2B music streaming
Apple Watch
Apple Vowed to Revolutionize Television. An Inside Look at Why It Hasn’t - Bloomberg
Apple may cut the (charging) cord completely with the iPhone 8
Cool Things
The Piaggio Gita Is a Futuristic Helper Bot From the Makers of the Vespa
A breakthrough in Alphabet’s balloon-based internet project means it might actually work
Private Astronaut Taxis by SpaceX, Boeing May Not Be Ready by 2019
Where is Zealandia? Geologists say they have discovered eighth continent
Odds & Ends
AT&T’s new, new unlimited data plan eliminates an annoying requirement
Jack Dorsey: Twitter Lacked 'Focus And Discipline' For Growth

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The Comunicano for Wednesday February 15 2017

 
 
FEBRUARY 15 - ISSUE #23
Andy Abramson
HUMPDAY…….and there’s tons of NEW and that makes NEWSsurrounding new services releases that are making the rounds today from the likes of Facebook, Signal, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft. They all have decided to unleash new “stuff” that changes the way we consume, communicate, create and deliver information today, and after a wave of non-news of late, it’s nice to see NEW back in the NEWS..

Let’s start with Facebook,
which is going to become a bit more “annoying” as they start with sound on within their video news content. Their claim is more people prefer that, but thankfully there are ways to turn the audio offMicrosoft makes its biggest move to take on Gmail with a more complete Outlook Premium offer…In some cases I’ve included the official announcement as well as a news item about what’s new, in an effort to provide deeper transparency and insight. 
After all that, there’s a few perspectives on the new data plan wars happening in the USA that’s waging between the mobile operators that will help you decide what plan and what changes are right for YOU….That and more are all in today’s COMUNICANO.

New Release Watch
New Ways to Watch Facebook Video from the Facebook Newsroom
Facebook is launching an app for Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV
Outlook.com Premium Comes Out of Preview
Introducing Cloud Spanner: a global database service for mission-critical applications
Signal Adds Video Calls, Better Quality---And a New Privacy Tradeoff
Video calls for Signal now in public beta
Yahoo Mail now syncs photos across devices and IDs who's calling on the phone
Yahoo Mail Update: Never Guess Who’s Calling or...
Dataplan Watch
Expect T-Mobile to Continue Inflicting Pain on Verizon and AT&T
Experts warn businesses not to over-buy on unlimited data plans
Your complete guide to choosing an unlimited data plan
Unlimited plans comparison: Verizon vs. AT&T vs. Sprint vs. T-Mobile
Odds & Ends
This sick Valentine's day ad shows people getting naughty with their phones
How To Create A Killer Logo-Two Experts Weigh In

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Amazon Chimes Into Conference Calling

In a world full of conference and video conferencing apps largely dominated by Zoom, Go To Meeting, WebEx and UberConference, Amazon has entered the fray with Chime, an AWS powered service. While you can page through the features and pricing that ranges from free to $15.00 a month for the most part Amazon has copied all the features you would expect from the leaders, with the underlying promise that the reliability will be rock solid as it runs entirely on AWS.

For now the service has many of the features of the competition, including room device access much like Zoom and BlueJeans feels much like a "Me Too, Me Also" service, with the only differentiators being a feature that lets anyone mute anyone on a call, and the Amazon name. Now, if they find a way to connect to Fire devices, blend in a really nice PTZ camera and connect to the Amazon Echo, that would be something that makes the service "me different.

PC Magazine and others contend this is also a play against Skype For Business calling chime a "powerful swing." I'm not so sure as currently there's no PSTN in or out like Skype, but there is the ability to call into a conference call.  

The WSJ reminded me that Chime is largely "built on technology Amazon acquired when it bought the San Francisco startup Biba Systems Inc."

The bigger question to me surrounds Amazon going into competition against companies that run their apps business on AWS, as this the second move by Amazon to actually become an apps supplying company. Previously they rolled out an email, contacts and calendar platform called WorkMail that has not exactly set the world on Fire (um no pun intended) and are likely working on some type of Slack competitor.

 


The Comunicano for Monday February 6 2017

 

 
 
FEBRUARY 6 - ISSUE #16
Andy Abramson
A massive :Thank You All" to the team at Revue for your kind words this past week.

Before we jump into the news we have to smile! High praise indeed!
The Super Bowl was one of the best games ever, and for the advertisers who took options on overtime commercials, a big win that way for them on price versus audience delivery. The ads and the halftime show with drones certainly were big hits in Houston and around the world.  What’s more, it was the first ever to be seen in VR (virtual reality). Now that’s COOL!!

We’ll lead off with some non-game coverage and then jump into more news as the commercials are certainly stirring up a lot of online commentary. Then we’ll follow with a bunch of news nuggets on Apple, and more on Artificial Intelligence, the FCC, VC’s, insight on Microsoft Edge and WebRTC, plus a bunch of other news you need to know including a nice peek into the new in flight Wi-Fi speeds for those who fly.

That’s all in today’s overtime sized COMUNICANO!
Bowl Watch
2017 Super Bowl becomes first VR UHD-enabled Big Game
Super Bowl 2017 ads navigate fraught political landscape
All the ads that ran during the Super Bowl, in order
Netflix's 'Stranger Things' generated the most Super Bowl ad tweets, according to Amobee
Verizon is trolling their competitors on Twitter and T-Mobile is standing up for themselves
Airbnb follows Super Bowl ad with call to house 100K in need
Google Home's Super Bowl Ad Exposes a Big Flaw
Intel powered the drones during Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl halftime show
Amazon Echo spot ‘primes’ Super Bowl audience for drone delivery in the US
Apple Watch
Apple's Trump Card Inside Your New MacBook Pro
AI Watch
5 everyday products and services ripe for AI domination
Why You Need to Use AI in Email Marketing Now
When Trump Tweets, This Bot Makes Money
Friends & Enemies
Microsoft and the WebRTC Edge Case
Here’s Exactly How the Internet Is Now Under Threat
VC’s are not your friends, they’re frenemies
The Univision blackout isn't about Latinos' access to news — it's about money
Agreement on roaming wholesale caps: impact on competition and European end-users
Odds & Ends
Uber's getting serious about its flying car business
Hiring tip: don’t interview like the NFL
Gogo 2Ku connectivity impresses on Delta east coast flight
This 17-hour flight is now the longest in the world

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The Arrival of Smarter Video Conference-Acrossio

My agency, Comunicano and I have been involved in a few successes in the conferencing field, starting with SightSpeed (now a part of Logitech), HiDefConferencing (now part of GoToMeeting but originally acquired by Citrix), WebDialogs (acquired by IBM and at the core of SameTime), plus we've kicked around WebRTC since it's earliest of days, working with leader Temasys, pioneer of ORTC, Hookflash, and others. That's why when it comes to being impressed by something new in video conferencing, or conferencing, I usually hit pause, as not much motivates me, as I've pretty much settled on Zoom and UberConference, while canning paid subscriptions to GoToMeeting and Cisco's WebEx last year.

So when I saw Acrossio on pal Tsahi's WebRTC Index I figured it was at least worth a look, as here's a company openly admitting they're WebRTC based, as the collision of VoIP and WebRTC was one of my predictions for 2017.

Acrossio instantly got my attention with Living Meeting on their home page. But, as I began to play with Acrossio I realized their core value isn't Living Meetings, it's smarter meetings. They do this by real time tagging as part of the note taking (I wish I could integrate their Tasks with Basecamp or Trello, send notifications via Slack-especially if you assign a task to someone not in the meeting.  Right now they integrate with LinkedIn, and do a better job of it than Hookflash's original attempt by avoiding being the calling company for LinkedIn but leveraging LinkedIn's sign in for sign up.

What's more there's lots of power in the way they've approached video conferencing. For starters Acrossio offers four different modes of conferencing: Online, Local, Self Recording and From External Content such as YouTube or Vimeo.

Acrossio1
While you can share files, Acrossio lacks on screen sharing of files in the session. So while you can share the video, you can't share a Google Slides document in the session the way you can with UberConference. A minor drawback and one I expect them to solve overtime.

My feeling is Acrossio is really just starting out, so while they are listed as five years old, it feels like their approach with WebRTC is taking video conferencing in a different and more robust direction, as the note taking and tagging, assigning tasks, and making those actions a part of the actual conversation is almost novel, and really is long needed functionality in video conferencing.  The self recording mode, which  for the work team sharing and tasking.  They have a Windows Desktop app, that appears to be a messaging app. There's various ways to invite people to join, maybe too, including Slack integration so I get the sense there's more to come. Lots more.

There's something here, and I hope to learn more about Acrossio as time goes on.


The Comunicano for Friday February 3 2017

 

 
 
FEBRUARY 3 - ISSUE #15
Andy Abramson
The big news, especially here in the Southland, is SNAP and their 3 billion dollar IPO. There’s lots of coverage on it, with some deep insight from the Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern and the Business Insider as well as the L.A. Times. The stories around the story is also interesting so there’s six for your reading pleasure. 
Beyond SNAP, we have news about Google, Amazon, Facebook, Uber, the Sharing Economy, Microsoft and a bit more. 

Lastly, next week is IT Expo Week in Fort Lauderdale. I’ll be there so find me in the media room, or up on stage on any of my three panels.
That’s all in today’s COMUNICANO!!!

Snapchat company's IPO filing might be L.A.'s biggest ever
What’s So Great About Snapchat Anyway?
Upcoming Snapchat Lenses will be Able to "Interact" with Objects
Snapchat paid third cofounder Reggie Brown $158 million to disappear
Snapchat IPO: Inside Snap Inc.'s company culture
Snap S-1 Filing
Uber Watch
Uber C.E.O. to Leave Trump Advisory Council After Criticism
Sharing Economy Goes Mainstream in Business Travel — Skift Corporate Travel Innovation Report
Odds & Ends
The Best Drone Photography of 2016
Amazon's advertising business is growing fast -
Facebook’s AI unlocks the ability to search photos by what’s in them
How Twitter took on Trump's bot army—and won
Why augmented reality will be big in business first
With Chrome 57, Progressive Web Apps will appear in Android’s app drawer, settings, more
Microsoft Outlook for iOS now supports add-ins like Giphy and Trello
Business Ops is the New Sales and Marketing Ops. Why Consolidation is Crucial to Your Bottom Line.
We’re probably underestimating how quickly electric vehicles will disrupt the oil market
Catapulting Europe’s brightest FinTech startups from Singapore to Asia with The FinLab
Verizon Restructures Small Business Segment, Launches Verizon Business Markets

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Next Week It's IT Expo in Fort Lauderdale

One of the few events I look forward to every year is IT Expo, staged so well by the team at TMCnet. While the show is now only an annual show, which is a smart decision, what Rich Tehrani and Dave Rodriguez have done so well, is built the show up to be more than the VoIP show.  

That move a few years ago, done in consort with ex VON minds Carl Ford and Scott Kargman has elevated the show to include MSP, IOT, Wi-Fi and more over the past few years. By making this move, the show has a much broader audience and ends up being a far larger event, which in turn helps keep costs to exhibitors down.

The move from Miami up the coast also has helped, as the venue in Fort Lauderdale is a bit larger, and far more conducive to what TMC has set out to do.

As for this year, I'm excited about the three panels I'll moderate in the All About The API section, while also seeing friends, new and old, as well as being very intrigued by the expanded IoT content that is part of IoT Evolution. That section kicks off with the Telit IoT Innovation and the IoT Certification Series on Tuesday, February 7. It continues with a five track conference program on Wednesday. Their well thought out tracks include; IoT Enterprise Operations, Connected Building and Cities, Connected Transport/Connected Industry, IoT IT: Business Intelligence and Machine Learning and IoT Developers. Keynoters are coming from the Industrial Internet Consortium, Intel, GoGo Air, Ingenu, Eurotech, Numerex, Telit, Cisco, Kore and Verizon.

At IT Expo there's also:

  • Telecom Reseller Week
    A forum for channel executives to learn about cutting edge new solutions you can represent, to meet with many new potential partners, and to study proven sales techniques to help improve your team's performance.

  • MSP Expo Conference Sessions
    The Premier Conference and Networking Summit for MSPs - where business owners and technology specialists in the channel come together to accomplish key goals in growing your managed services business.

  • ChannelVision Expo Sessions on Expo Floor
    Gain perspective on how to adapt, what to sell and how to sell it within this ever-evolving communications ecosystem through the educational sessions and vendors showcasing their products and services at ChannelVision (CVx) Expo.

Most of all the ITEXPO enables you to meet with 100's of vendors while enjoying a beverage and networking with colleagues. PLUS, the ITEXPO badge grants access to 75 more exhibitors at IoT Evolution Expo next door.

And a whole lot more....


The Comunicano for Wednesday February 1 2017

 

 
 
FEBRUARY 1 - ISSUE #13
Andy Abramson
Wednesdays are always interesting news days. Waking up and seeing how the EU is really ending roaming charges across Europe in June of this year, after all the years we worked with Truphone, has me wondering about the company’s fate.

Of course the elimination of roaming doesn’t help US based roamers when they visit Europe, but given how Google Fi has a deal with UK based Three, it sure gives them a big kick forward. That is, at least until the UK exits the EU. After that Fi will need a deal on the continent, so expect them to do something bigger with either DT, the parent of USA based T-Mobile or Vodafone for continental wide roaming.
In other news, AT&T and Google continue their speed wars; Facebook looks to become a TV network; the FCC is changing the rules, again; Slack is expanding fast into the Enterprise; and Uber gets a big partner in the self driving car market. All that and MORE, in today’s COMUNICANO.

Use of Ad-Blocking Software Rises by 30% Worldwide
Speed Watch
AT&T plans to deliver fast Internet over power poles
Google Fiber Now Pushing Gigabit Fixed Wireless
How to choose the best Wi-Fi replacement for your Apple AirPort routers
FaceBook Watch
Facebook Developing Video App for Apple TV, Other Set-Tops (Report)
WhatsApp to let users edit and recall sent messages
Fed Watch
New FCC chair vows to shrink industry regulations
New FCC chief gets to work cutting back regs
The FCC won’t force cable companies to unlock their set-top boxes after all
Slack Watch
Slack is expanding its team chat app to work with the largest companies
Uber Watch
Uber and Daimler Join Forces on Self-Driving Cars
Odds & Ends
Google Upgrades Security Controls for G Suite Business Customers
How to Find and Get Hired for a Remote Job
Map Plots the Fastest Route to America’s Michelin-Starred Restaurants
EU announces deal to end all wireless roaming charges starting June 2017
The Internet Is Mostly Bots

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