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As video conferencing becomes increasingly popular and widely used,  the unique use cases continue to grow. Video has now expanded far past face-to-face conferencing for meetings.  One particularly interesting use case we have noticed recently is using video conferencing to host virtual concerts.

Picture this; you are an up and coming singer or musician trying to build a fan base or an established artist wanting to connect with your fans. Where are these fans? In the age of social media, the answer is often everywhere. Most artists would love the ability to perform for these fans all over the country or world, however, touring is expensive and often requires many resources. This is where video conferencing comes in.

In the world of music, online concerts can be a great opportunity for musicians and singers to perform for their fans all at once, connecting to them in a unique and creative way. This also opens up the performance to people who would not otherwise be able to attend the concert. Some artists are performing these concerts for large groups, while others are auctioning off private concerts and meet and greets. Similarly, some artists will perform these concerts in combination with an event they are doing at a local venue. This has been found to be a great way to expand audiences, promote their work, and connect with their fans on a truly personal level.

Along with the benefits of using video to host a concert, there are also challenges. Internet connection and bandwidth issues tend to be the largest hurdle. Not only does the artist need to have enough bandwidth to support the video, but the participants need to have a strong enough connection to enjoy the show. Also, if using a free service like Google Hangouts or Skype to host the show, attendees will need a log-in for the respective service. If they do not already have an account this can create extra steps which could result in fewer attendees.

As with most new trends there is going to be a learning and adoption curve. However, if people continue to use video conferencing more in their day to day life, we have no doubt that events like this will continue to rise in popularity along with other unique use cases.

Heartbleed and Video Conferencing

On April 7th the Heartbleed (CVE: 2014-0160) security vulnerability was made public along with a fix. Heartbleed represents a vunerability in the OpenSSL software that provides security for millions of web servers and services across the internet. Many governing bodies and media outlets called the vulnerability one of, if not, the worst security vulnerabilities discovered since the beginning of the internet. As a provider of visual collaboration services, many of which are driven by web services, we wanted to provide a round-up of some of the key announcements and fixes provided by our partners:

Cisco
Cisco’s security team posted the following article to their blog (OpenSSL Heartbeat Extension Vulnerability in Multiple Cisco Products) which lists all of the affected Cisco products and current plans for fixes. Of particular interest to our collaboration customers, WebEx Meetings Service, TelePresence Video Communication Service (VCS) and Expressway are already fixed. Details about the specific updates are also in the post. Also, additional investments are currently under way and the Cisco post will continue to be updated.

Polycom
Polycom posted its security bulletin (Security Advisory Relating to OpenSSL Vulnerability “Heartbleed” on Various Polycom Products) this week and it contains a list of affected Polycom products and their versions. Additionally dates of fixes or estimated fixes are also listed. Check back on Polycom’s site for additional updates.

Blue Jeans
Blue Jeans issued a statement on April 9th that their services are not affected by the vulnerability and that there is no evidence of any data compromise.

Acano
On April 10th an interview was posted with Acano Chief Security Officer Steven Johnstone covering Heartbleed and other security related concerns. In that post Acano announced it had issued a fix the day before and their solution was secure. Of particular interest are the comments about the open source nature of OpenSSL and its importance to the industry.

Pexip
Pexip provided a statement on Heartbleed as well as a fix that is included in their new Pexip Infinity V4 software that was released earlier this week.

Crestron
Crestron revealed that with the exception of 2 mobile apps, no Crestron services, products or websites have been affected. The notice discloses the details of the mobile apps here.

IVCi’s Cloud Services
IVCi’s Cloud Video Experience has been tested and none of its services are affected by the Heartbleed Vulnerability.

If you have any question about your solutions and their potential vulnerabilities continue to check the advisories posted by the respective manufacturers.

On March 11th, IVCi and Avizia hosted a webinar on the expanding world of telehealth that featured a live demonstration on how different technologies can come together in a real clinical setting. The webinar featured great content on best practices for the adoption of telemedicine along with the expansion of telemedicine into new service lines.

SLIDES PRESENTED:

WEBINAR RECORDING:

Click to View Webinar Recording

Efficiency. Effectiveness. Productivity. These are staples in any business professional’s life along with any corporation or organization and increasing any of these allows people to accomplish more goals in less time. The benefits are enormous for organizations; from lowering costs to increasing sales, customer service and employee satisfaction.

There are always tips and tricks for increasing productivity; in fact a recent article from the Huffington Post discussed 12 habits of productive people which included breaking the chain to email and having a system for getting everything done. But how can organizations as a whole become for efficient? Well, here are our top four habits of highly productive organizations:

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Welcome to our bi-weekly recap of the week’s best articles surrounding collaboration. 

Benefits of video conferencing include less travel, but it’s not No. 1
For decades, enterprises have turned to video conferencing in large part as a means of reducing business travel expenses. However, a recent survey by Wainhouse Research of 4,700 end users of video conferencing found that the incentives for using video are shifting: 94% noted that the biggest benefit was increased efficiency and productivity; 88% cited increased impact of discussions; and 87% said video expedited decision-making — the same percentage who said it reduced travel.

Telework Week Saved Feds 14 Million Miles, $13 Million
This year’s Telework Week, which ran March 3-7, drew 163,973 pledges, more than four times the 2011 number. The average Telework Week participant teleworked two days during the week, avoided a 45-mile round-trip commute into the office and saved 4.5 hours and $90 in commuting costs for the week. Nearly all (94 percent) pledges came from the federal government, enabling federal employees to save a collective $13 million in commuting costs, avoid 14 million miles of travel and gain back more than 716,000 hours.

Concierge healthcare services via video – a concept on the rise
Although not a new concept, concierge healthcare services used to be a luxury that only a certain percentage of Americans could possibly afford. Changes in the healthcare system and economic drivers may be changing that. Under this model, doctors essentially work under retainer, being paid monthly fees to offer healthcare services to a patient or family. Healthcare practices operating in a concierge healthcare model could utilize telemedicine solutions to conduct many of their house calls and appointments. This diminishes the travel element and enables medical professionals to see just as many, if not more, patients each day. Telemedicine can also allow doctors to cast a much wider net for their patients.

Mobility Tops the List of Digital Priorities
If you thought either big data analytics or cloud computing initiatives rank at the top of today’s digital agenda, guess again. Mobility strategies hold a clear edge, according to a recent survey from Accenture. The resulting report, “Mobility: Fueling the Digital Surge,” demonstrates how much further ahead “mobility leader” organizations are on their progress toward these goals, compared to the rest of the field. And while the required commitment here is clearly evident at the very highest levels of organizational leadership, there are still many obstacles that CIOs must overcome.

Get ready for new ATM’s
Recently, more and more banks are starting to equip their ATM’s with technological upgrades, one of those being video conferencing. Banks are working on technology tools to give customers new, faster ways to interact with their branches. ATMs with touch screens will soon work with our smartphones. New apps will help zip cash to you as quickly as you can snap a picture. Videoconferencing with representatives in call centers lets banks extend hours for basic services and screen tellers can handle about 95 percent of typical bank transactions. This allows both customers and banks to increase productivity and efficiency when handling transactions and consultations.