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Skype for Business vs Google for Business

Skype for Business vs Google for Business

 

Skype for Business

Skype for Business formerly known as Lync is a widely used software for internal and external communication. Microsoft bought the already developed platform and made it even better with its expertise. Millions of users use Skype every day to talk to their loved ones, friends, family and colleagues. Not long ago, businesses started using Skype to connect with out of city or overseas employees and even conduct cross border interviews for jobs.

Cisco is already leading the market but Microsoft saw the opportunity to utilize its resources and already developed platform to enter the competition. Microsoft Lync was part of Office 2010 but now it has been integrated with Skype to create one unified platform for businesses. Skype for Business includes all the features that the consumer version has with some extras.

Skype for Business adds extra security to protect corporations’ interests and data. The biggest advantage for users is integration with Microsoft Office. Since both softwares are owned and developed by Microsoft, Skype for Business offers easy integration with Office. Users can connect to any coworker from within the Office application with just one click.

It allows up to 250 users depending on the package. Large corporations usually purchase Server 2015 through certified partners while new startups or medium enterprises opt for the other two pricing plans available. Skype for Business delivers a more natural, intuitive and intelligent communication experience for professionals. It not only simplifies the user experience but also increases engagement and saves costs for the organization.

Since Skype for Business is one of the most cost effective solution for small and medium enterprises, Google is also stepping in to the competition. Google has a vast range of services and all it needs to do is bring everything together and make one suite for businesses.

Google for Business

Google for Business is geared towards getting your business online. Since Google is the most popular search engine, every business wants to appear on it. Previously it was not so straight forward but now the company has made a specific area for companies to register as businesses enjoy free coverage worldwide.

Google for Business Features

Show up on the web

Get on the map

Stand out on Google+

Share the right info about your business

Be found across devices

Bring your Google+ page to life

Respond to customer feedback

Connect face-to-face with Hangouts

All connected in one place

Check-in on the go with the Google My Business app

Insights on your customers

 

As you can see in the list above, all of these features are web based and gives your business an opportunity to make an online presence. But at the same time Google is developing its business suite to counter Skype for Business. Google Hangouts is a very popular video conferencing client as well and it is being used by millions of users.

Skype for Business has strategic partners that make video conferencing hardware compatible with the software. Although there are no on paper system requirements and anyone with a camera and a microphone can use Skype for Business but in meeting spaces a dedicated VTC hardware is required. Skype for Business is also being used in live television broadcast which requires specialized broadcast equipment and Skype for Business suite.

On the other hand, Google recently launched Chromebox for Meetings. It is a direct competitor to Skype for Business systems but with ChromeOS and Google Business suite. Chromebox for meetings start at a reasonable price of $999 and includes Google Business software. Skype for Business systems cost as low as $2000 and go all the way to $20,000 and Skype for Business Server 2015 costs much more compared to other two plans.

Google also has its own productivity suite which includes Google Docs, Google Sheets, Drive, YouTube for Live Streaming, Google+ and so on. Users can create or edit any document in Google Docs just like MS Word. Microsoft Office does have advanced features but on the web both of them are more or less the same. Microsoft has OneDrive and Google has Drive, Skype for Business and Google Hangouts etc. Both companies are neck to neck when it comes to features.

Skype for Business does have an edge over Google for Business when it comes VoIP calling, more control for the admin, Microsoft Azure platform, Surface Hub etc. Google for Business is much more cost effective and delivers the same VTC quality as Skype for Business.

Skype for Business

Google for Business

Office Integration

Google Doc Integration

File Sharing

File Sharing

Cloud Storage OneDrive

Cloud Storage Google Drive

Skype Room Systems

Chromebox for Meetings

VoIP Calls (Requires Server 2015)

No VoIP Calls

Expensive for Large business

Standard cost of $999 – No monthly costs

Skype for broadcast

Does not support live broadcasting

Little or no online presence

Google My Business – complete online presence

 

Above is a small comparison between both business suites and each of them has an advantage over the other. Both are protected by advanced encryptions and authentications so security wise they are on par. Skype for Business is specifically designed for office meeting space and it can be integrated to the whole the network while Google for Business is mostly web-based and does not support VoIP calls yet. It comes down to user preference and affordability. Chromebox are very cost effective but still require some improvements before they can take over Skype Room systems. 

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UVC Camera Control and why it is the future?

UVC Camera Control and why it is the future?

 

Over the years, most conference cameras utilized SDI ports to connect to a receiver and output video. There have been numerous communication ports embedded into devices such as RS-232 and RS-485 serial ports but the most popular has been RJ-45 Ethernet port which is used for IP Streaming. Latest cameras feature Ethernet, SDI, HDMI and Serial ports (RS-232 & RS-485).

Similar to all the innovations, they become obsolete after a certain period of time. We saw SDI taken over by HDMI ports but only RJ-45 is irreplaceable because it has a lot of other purposes. The world is moving towards wireless technology so it won’t be long before RJ-45 is also replaced by Gigabit level wireless technology such as wireless AC 5 GHz network.

Some conference cameras also come with USB 2.0 port but it was unable to transmit video due to low transfer speeds thus manufacturers only used it to update firmwares. Now with USB 3.0 everything has changed and conference cameras can now output Full HD video with the help of 20 times more transfer speed than USB 2.0.

In order to control several features of the camera such as pan, tilt, zoom and rotate; users used RS-232 or RS-485 serial ports and connect it with the controller. This configuration resulted in tangling of wires and confusion amongst the operators. Manufacturers made the process easy by including an IR remote control to operate the camera but it wasn’t enough.

Now there are thee video outputs available in a single conference cam – RJ-45 (IP Streaming), HDMI and USB 3.0. RS-232 or RS-485 ports are included for camera control equipment which requires an external device adding to the cost. With USB 3.0, manufacturers are now able to create a UVC device also known as USB Video Class device. A lot of people have used webcams and these were the first UVC devices which were capable of transmitting compressed video streams in MPEG-2 TS, H.264, MPEG-4 SL, SMPTE VC1 and MJPEG formats.

When using HDMI and IP Streaming output modes, users made use of third-party softwares to control camera movements but UVC eliminates this issue. Now with one simple connection, users can stream video as well as control camera movements with ease.

UVC conference cameras are a must for web-based video conferencing especially for organizations. Managers do not possess the technically knowledge to operate extra camera control units and they want a convenient solution. Below is a comparison between USB 3.0 and RS-232/485 specifications:

 

USB 3.0

RS-232

RS-485

Mode of Operation

Differential

Single-Ended

Differential

 Maximum Cable Length

Not Specified

50 feet

4000 feet

Maximum Data Rate

5 Gbit/s

160 Kbits/s

10 Mbit/s

Number of drivers and receivers

1 Driver

Not Specified

1 Driver

1 Receiver

32 Drivers

32 Receivers

 

As you can see in the table above, USB 3.0 has a lot more speed compared to RS-485 giving it the ability to transmit video. You can also extend the USB 3.0 cable as much as you like and get a custom cable made which can stretch far beyond 50 feet. In terms of maximum receivers, it is not specified either because there are plenty of USB 3.0 hubs available which can allow you to stream video on more than two displays simultaneously.

Below is the list of UVC cameras by some manufacturers:

UVC Conference Cameras

·        PTZOptics 12X-USB

·        PTZOptics 20X

·        HuddleCamHD 20X-G2

·        HuddleCamHD 12X

·        HuddleCamHD 3X Wide-G2

·        HuddleCamHD 3X-G2

·        Logitech ConferenceCam CC3000e

 

All major manufacturers are now developing UVC cameras for convenient use during conference calls. Organizations are increasing video conference meetings and require the best hardware available today. These UVC devices are future proof and will dictate the future for a long period of time.

Operators can say goodbye to external camera control equipment and welcome the latest USB 3.0 powered conference cameras. Most of the camera models mentioned above come equipped with a remote to control camera movements. This makes it extremely convenient for anyone to operate the camera without any extra knowledge.

UVC devices now enable the optimal experience every video conference call demanded. UVC cameras are plug and play devices so the setup takes less than 10 minutes. All of these devices are certified to use with popular video conferencing tools such as Unified Conferencing Systems, Cisco, Skype for Business, GoToMeeting, Zoom and so on. Users do not have to spend extra time configuring their cameras with each software they use.

We use USB devices more than once every day and they have been part of our tech life for as long as we can remember. USB flash drives replaced CDs and DVDs and now UVC cameras are ready to replace RS-232, RS-485 and IP Streaming cameras. Users still get the option of these communication ports in the latest cameras if they want to enjoy advanced controls of the external camera control device but they are only useful during live broadcasting of large events not conference calls.

 

 

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Video Conferencing & Carbon Emissions

Video Conferencing & Carbon Emissions

Today we wanted to acknowledge a really cool web app that helps organizations determine their carbon footprint and the amount of carbon they can offset with video conferencing. CRS teamed up with USB Pros to show off just exactly how easy it is to calculate an organizations carbon footprint. This website,www.PledgeVideo.Org,provides great information on calculating the carbon emissions reduction you can expect from video conferencing. Without going to far into this blog post the below quotation is from PledgeVideo.Org

"We make calculating your CO2 reduction from video conferencing super easy! Join the club and hold your companies commitment to the environment in the light!"

CalculateCarbon
Step 1: Calculate Carbon Footprint
Calculate your Cabon Usage
 

Let's first calculate your organizations estimated Carbon Footprint.

Carbon Footprint.jpg
Step 2: Measure Your Offset
How much can we reduce?
 

Then we calculate your carbon offset through reduced business travel and productivity. Feel free to add other source of reductions in (Tons of CO2)

badge.jpg
Step 3: Calculate Carbon Neutrality
Take a step toward Carbon Neutrality
 

Carbon Neutrality is the amount % of carbon you offset versus what you consume. This shows the overall health of an organization and their environmental impact.

 

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Part 7- Summary

Part 7- Summary

 Summary: Any new camera purchased for a meeting room should provide native 1080p-30 resolution. 720p looks fine on the desktop but in meeting rooms, it simply doesn’t meet expectations. Select a camera with true optical zoom and with an optical zoom range that best meets your specific application. Take room measurements and check them against the graphics above to be sure. Digital zoom is not a useful feature for most applications. Presets are great for all cameras but after about Qty 6 you will likely see no additional benefit for most applications. USB 3.0 is the new standard for USB HD cameras. You must maintain USB 3.0 compliance throughout the connection including any extensions from camera port to and including PC port. Serial control is only necessary for certain applications. When you do need it, a miniDin8 connector or DB9 connector and VISCA protocol compliance is all you typically need to confirm for the camera and controller.

 

If you would like to see the industries latest USB cameras in action we host a Webinar Every Friday at 9AM PST and 12PM EST. Sign up here.

USB Camera Shootout

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Part 6 - Serial Control (e.g. RS232, RS485, VISCA):

Part 6 - Serial Control (e.g. RS232, RS485, VISCA):

 Serial Control (e.g. RS232, RS485, VISCA): Serial control allows remote PTZ, preset calling/setting and other control from 3rd party devices (e.g. joystick, Crestron) or software (e.g. RocoSoft) over a wired connection to the camera. Most meeting room users will be perfectly content with their infrared hand-held remote control, especially when all PTZ command are executed via preset calls.

However, some operators will require a better control interface for their application (e.g. Produced events with camera operator(s); Rooms with centralized touch-panel control systems, like Crestron/AMX/Extron, where all hand-held remotes have been removed from the room, etc…). Cameras with serial control capability will often conform to the industry standard mini-Din8 connector and Sony VISCA protocol. This makes using this feature fairly straightforward, as long as you have the right control cabling and set both the camera and controller to a matching baud rate, etc…

Serial Control for USB Cameras

Part 7- Summary

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