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.

Weekly-Re-cap-Banner-NEW-BLUE

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.

From healthcare and education to small business and the enterprise, organizations across the globe are beginning to embrace new technologies that are designed to help them reduce their carbon footprint. Not only are these socially responsible decisions good for our environment, they are also good for your financial bottom line.

Video conferencing is often an ideal solution for businesses of all sizes looking to enhance collaboration within their organization. How can your business reduce their carbon footprint and benefit from implementing video conferencing? The infographic below explores some of those ways and how video conferencing can assist with “going green”.

Reducing-Carbon-Footprint-Infographic---320x1000

4 Cool Uses for Video Recording and Streaming

Content continues to be king and as we discuss collaboration and communications, visual content plays a huge role. Real-time interaction on video is the norm and major meetings and announcements are made through the technology. Additionally, users continue to expect to find video content when researching topics, new products, etc.

As real-time video has made major advancements, so has the area of recording & streaming. Any video interaction that occurs now can be recorded and made available for immediate playback. This content can be as a simple as a meeting between a few colleagues that a team member was unable to attend or a massive training session that is available for thousands to view on-demand. With that in mind, here are some great uses for recording and streaming platforms:

Executive Road Show

The days of C level executives travelling around the world to all of their office locations to make announcements and presentations to teams are numbered. Video streaming makes it possible for an executive team to sit at their desk and broadcast a live video stream out to the entire organization. This can occur in real-time and Q&A sessions can be available during the event. Streaming technology makes it possible for thousands of viewers to participate simultaneously. After the live event ends, the session can be archived and made available for immediate review for those who could not attend live. These types of events make it easy for executives to get their message out to the masses and maintain consistency in that message.

Investor Relationships/Earnings Calls

More and more organizations are forgoing the traditional earnings conference call and are opting to stream live video to investors and analysts. This added visual component can add some personality to the call and can take the interaction between those reporting the financial results and those receiving it to a new level.

Human Resources

Human Resources are responsible for a myriad of items including recruiting, new employee orientation, benefits and more. Many times HR must disseminate new information regarding a change in employee health benefits or conduct training to fulfill compliance requirements. With recording and streaming, HR teams can produce high quality content once and be confident that it can be shared with the entire organization with the same consistent message. For organizations with tens of thousands of employees it is impossible to lock everyone down for one or two sessions. Additionally, these recordings can be tracked and serve as proof of compliance with regulatory and employee regulations.

Marketing

There is no better way to market a product or service than by SHOWING potential customers rather than just telling them about it. Marketing teams can create interactive sessions that feature streaming video content along with slides and other content. These events can happen in real-time and an opportunity for customers to really engage with an organization’s offering. And this content can be made available as an on-demand recording, providing another avenue for lead generation for the marketing team. An example of this type of content is a recent IVCi session covering Telehealth and some of the available solutions. We utilized a video stream along with slides and interactive Q&A. You can review the session HERE.

Clearly video streaming and recording provides a great way to share key messages and make it available for review, on-demand. As the technology as improved, more and more departments within an organization can utilize this technology without the new for IT resources and dedicated staff.

Video conferencing is a great tool…when it works. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions for software video clients along with advice on how to fix the issues.

Q. What should I do when users I call cannot see me but I can see them?

A. The following actions can be taken to try to resolve one‐way video issues:

  1. Check to make sure that you have a camera connected to your computer and that it is recognized by the video application.
    • Navigate to Settings in the video application then check the video or video input section. Make sure that the correct video device is selected.
    • If the video device is not listed, you may need to install drivers. Check with your IT department for the latest drivers that are appropriate for your platform, or contact your camera vendor for further assistance.
  2. If your camera has a privacy shutter, (for example, Cisco TelePresence Precision HD USB camera), make sure that it is not in the closed position.

Q. What should I do when users I call cannot hear me or my volume is low?

A. The following actions can be taken to try to resolve one‐way audio issues:

  1. Check to make sure that you have a microphone on your computer or webcam. Most laptops, along with most USB webcams, include built‐in microphones.
  2. Check that the microphone is not muted in the video application.
  3. Make sure that the microphone is not muted in your operating system or your microphone volume is set too low.
    • On Macintosh systems, navigate to System Preferences > Sound > Input.
    • On Windows systems, you can check this setting by navigating to Control Panel > Sound and Audio Devices > Audio > Sound Recording Volume. Check the sound level of the microphone and adjust to a comfortable level in the operating system and in the video application.If you have multiple microphones connected (i.e. built-in microphone in your laptop and USB webcam), check to make sure the correct microphone is selected. Navigate to settings in the video application then check the audio or audio input section and select the correct audio device.
  4. If you have multiple microphones connected (i.e. built-in microphone in your laptop and USB webcam), check to make sure the correct microphone is selected. Navigate to settings in the video application then check the audio or audio input section and select the correct audio device.

Q. What can I do if my computer slows down or locks up during a call?

A. These symptoms may indicate insufficient system resources that affect RAM or CPU capabilities on your computer. The following actions can be taken to try to resolve this issue:

  1. Check to make sure that your computer system meets the recommended settings for the video application listed in the HW and SW requirements.
  2. If your system meets the recommendations and you continue to observe this issue, adjust the Network Settings in video application to a level that reduces system slowdown. Move the Maximum Incoming Bandwidth and Maximum Outgoing Bandwidth sliders down until you find the setting that reduces choppy audio, video and high system resource utilization.

Q. What should I do when my video call is choppy, distorted or the audio is out of sync with video?

A. This is typically a sign of low or insufficient bandwidth to support the video call. The following actions can be taken:

  1. If you are on a smartphone or tablet with a 3G or a 4G connection, check the signal strength. If signal strength is low move to a different area or join the call over a Wi-Fi connection.
  2. If you are joined over a Wi-Fi connection at a public location (i.e. hotel, Starbucks, etc.) you may need to purchase premium high-speed internet access or move to a different location.
  3. If this is a reoccurring issue at your office or home, you may need to upgrade your bandwidth levels. Talk to your IT department or cable provider for different options.

Q. What should I do when my video application cannot detect my camera?

A. Some applications (Webex, Yahoo Messenger, etc) take possession of any camera they detect in the system, leaving your video application without a camera to use. To prevent this issue and ensure that the video application retains the camera for video calling, take the following actions:

  1. Shut down any applications that are running that would take control of your camera.
  2. Start your video application and begin your call, making sure that the camera is connected and turned on
  3. After your video application is in the call, start your other applications.

Q. What should I do when my video application continues to display the last frame of the shared presentation?

A. Unfortunately, there is no fix for this known issue. As a workaround, the system sending the content must stop and restart presentation sharing to properly display the presentation. This should ONLY happen if a system places a video client on hold to take another call.