Conferencing News – August 2015

Google updated Classroom, a suite of free productivity services for classroom collaboration. The company provided a share button for Classroom. Teachers or students can click the share button to post links, videos, or images to Classroom. Other features include 1) support for whitelisted domains in Google Apps for Education to allow those in different domains to collaborate using Google Drive and Classroom, and 2) mobile notifications in the iOS and Android apps so students can receive assignment, grade, or other notifications. Finally: teachers now can reuse assignments and posts from past classes in Classroom.

After Suri, Amazon’s Echo, iRobot and VGo comes Jibo, “the world’s first social robot for the home”. Jibo appears to be a combination of the Amazon Echo with even more intelligence for interacting with people and delivering communications. In comparison to Echo, Jibo has screens, cameras and can move. No word on how the video conferencing will work, but the unit includes two HD cameras that recognize and track faces, capture photos, and enable immersive video calling. The units include an ARM-based mobile processor and Linux, providing artificial intelligence that learns over time.

MindLink launched an enterprise chat trial for organizations using Microsoft Lync and Skype for Business. The 30-day trial is available for desktop, mobile and SharePoint. Besides, there is a pre-existing 30-day hosted service trial for those who prefer the cloud approach.

SMART Technologies added ACCO Brands Corporation, which sells branded school, office, and consumer products, as marketer of a co-branded version of the SMART kapp digital capture board in North America. The co-branded solution, Quartet SMART kapp, will be sold through ACCO Brands’ distribution networks.

TouchPoint Conferencing Technologies is now shipping a low-cost wireless camera control system for the video conferencing industry that requires no programming. The patent pending system works in conjunction with Sony PTZ video conferencing cameras as well as the VTEL HD3000PTZ video conferencing camera to allow a participant in a video call to tap a wireless button in order for the PTZ camera to precisely pan, tilt, and zoom to their precise location. Locator Buttons cost $95 each, and the system also consists of a single TouchPoint Command Module that costs $995.

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