Tuesday, November 26, 2013

December 2013 VCI-Group President’s Message

December 2013 VCI-Group President’s Message

As we enter the last month of 2013 it is a time to reflect on what we have accomplished and to consider what the New Year holds for us. 

Nearly every month this past year, my messages have focused on the changes that we have been making to the VCI-Group and what those changes mean for you.   We have completed many of our goals for 2013; but we know that we still have much to do and that is why there is a New Year.

We are bringing in 2014 with a “BANG” as we conduct our first VC-DireXions Summit http://vci-group.org/events/direxions.aspx.
.  For the first time, End Users like you will have the opportunity to present your business requirements related to interoperability to manufacturers, vendors and the Open Visual Communications Consortium (OVCC),   and to explain what you need these companies to do for your organization to be more productive and successful.    Our lives, both personal and professional will continue to become more dependent on visual collaborative technology.  Through this technology, we will conduct business, be educated, receive our health care and interact for such things as shopping, cooking, etc.

The time is NOW for us to request that the technology we use for our organizations be as simple and intuitive as the iPad or the Surface.  If our children and grandchildren can use these technologies then why can’t our colleagues or Executives use our visual collaboration technology?

Each year brings new technology and changes to the industry – let 2014 be the year that YOU as a strategist, implementer, and supporter of visual technology help shape the changes in the industry.  We need your support and attendance at the VC DireXions Summit (January 28th – 31st in Miami Florida) to make this change happen.
On behalf of the Board of Directors and me, we wish you and your families a Happy Holiday Season and a Happy New Year.
Toni Alonso
VCI-Group President

Friday, November 1, 2013

November 2013 VCI-Group President’s Message

November 2013 VCI-Group President’s Message

Living in the 21st century we have seen great strides made in technology.  Our ability to implement new technology within months is amazing – look at how Apple provides new iPads, iPhones every six months.

Having said that, why is it that those of us in video collaboration still “harp” on interoperability issues?  I recently had my Vice President say to me that video conferencing does not work – have you heard that lately?  We know that isn’t true; but, the perception persists that, if I cannot dial into a video meeting like I can dial from New York to China on my phone – then the technology does not work.

Someone recently likened this to the movie, Network, “I am mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore”.  Well, it is OUR time – we can ensure that we no longer have to listen to our Executive Management state that visual collaboration does not work.  The VCI-Group is excited to provide you with a unique opportunity to bring your interoperability business case to the manufacturers, vendors and the Open Visual Communications Consortium (OVCC) and have your case selected to be resolved.

Does your organization: 
  • Use more than one vendor for visual collaboration and communications?
  • Wish more of your conferencing systems would work together in a seamless manner?
  • Need features to work across multiple platforms?
  • Want better integration of visual collaboration with other applications?
  • Expect every video system or smart device to be able to call any other video system the way telephones can? 
If you answered YES to any of these questions, WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! 
VCI-Group invites all members to respond with their TOP TWO interoperability-related requests of VC vendors.  You will be contacted to review your submission and provided with a template to document additional details about your requests and expected benefits.   The most impactful requests will be selected for presentation at the VC DireXions Summit, voted on and prioritized for inclusion in vendors’ offerings.

Stand up and be counted, raise your voice and scream, “I am mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore”.  Realize that we are many and in numbers we can impact decisions being made and we have the ability to change the industry to ensure that products and services being developed work seamlessly.

Never before has there been an opportunity of this kind – YOU have the ability to make history!  Join us in this history record breaking adventure.

Toni Alonso
VCI-Group President

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Video Endpoint Lifecycle Strategies: Upgrade or Replace?

Date: Thursday, October 17th, 2013 - 1:00 PM ET
Topic: Video Endpoint Lifecycle Strategies: Upgrade or Replace?
Register: Click Here To Register

Register: Click Here To Register


Howard Lichtman
Human Productivity Lab, Founder & President

JD Vaughn
Host - 
Co Founder and Chief Catalyst Sage Research Consulting and Recruiting
Description: We all face the recurring question of what to do next with our video systems when they approach that end-of-life mark in their life cycle. Your current supplier has no doubt provided the ‘next generation’ pitch, but is it time to make a big change or go with the flow? Join our panelists as they discuss the options and relevant considerations as the industry shifts to more software-based endpoints. What does this mean for conference room systems? Is it time to outsource the infrastructure? Is their more risk in moving to a new provider than staying with the current one? What criterion do you apply for the next generation of endpoints?
This VCIG Live! event is
sponsored and hosted by:
Cisco Webex

Monday, September 30, 2013

VC DireXions Summit-October 2013 VCI-Group President’s Message

October 2013 VCI-Group President’s Message

I have been telling you that this year we are transforming the VCI-Group organization to provide more relevant, thought provoking webinars, introducing you to Manufacturers and Service Providers and their new products/services, alerting you to all the events being held in our industry and a more robust website and forum.  I am pleased to announce that not only have we done that; but, we have developed a new opportunity for YOU our members to “influence” the industry!!

I would like to officially introduce the “VC DireXions Summit”, an exciting new program to be held in conjunction with ITEXPO on January 28th – 31st, 2014 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.  What is the VC DireXions Summit?  Your opportunity to help fulfill our charter: “working to influence the development of Industry-based standards for multimedia collaboration technologies and applications, to improve industry products and services, and to facilitate the exchange of information among its members”.

We will be asking YOU; our members, to provide direct feedback to industry hardware, software and service providers on improvements you want made in their products and services related to interoperability.  Your feedback will then be ranked by your peers along with others’ feedback.  The top-ranked requests will be taken forward with support from the Open Visual Communications Consortium (OVCC) to work with the manufacturers and vendors to resolve any interoperability issues and implement the features and functionality you need to be successful in your organization.

Tell us what applications or business solutions you are trying to implement; but, are having issues/concerns because you cannot get your equipment to talk to each other.  We are developing a special presentation template available shortly which you can use to make your case.   Our goal is to receive over 100 requests.  You will be able to vote on what you would like the industry to focus on. The top 10 requests will be our first priority.  Upon notice from the vendors of successful resolution of each interoperability request, we will be turning it back over to you, our members, for final testing and approval.  Finally we have an opportunity as End Users to influence the industry on those issues which personally affect the ability to deliver a service to our clients and company.

Also, at the VC DireXions Summit during IT Expo we will be providing a new type of certified training on multi-vendor interoperability by our strategic partner Compass Business Solutions. Keep watching our Newsletter and emails as we will be sending more information on this event.

Lastly, as we approach the end of 2013 we are looking for Members who would like to be a part of the Visual Communications Industry Group Board of Directors.  This is a great opportunity to join a group of individuals who are passionate about the collaboration/conferencing/unified communications industry and are looking to take it from “good to great”.

Please reach out to any current Board Member or the VCI-Group office if you are interested in becoming a 2014 Board Member.
Toni Alonso
VCI-Group President

Monday, September 23, 2013

VCI-Group September SIG.

Date: Thursday, September 26th, 2013 - 1:00-2:00PM ET 
Title: Grant Writing Tips and Tricks
Register: Click here to register for this event
Julie Best
Julie Best
Communications Director for the Idaho Education Network, a statewide network that provides broadband and video teleconference systems in Idaho
Guest Speaker(s):
Elizabeth Burton
Elizabeth Burton
Director of Business Development and Public Relations – Center for Rural Development
Description: Please join the next Distance Learning Sig webinar on September 26th featuring guest speaker Elizabeth Burton. Elizabeth will be discussing how to find, prepare, and writing grants to fund technology initiatives for education. She has led large-scale program change efforts and process improvement initiatives for public, private and nonprofit organizations. Most recently, Elizabeth led a national team of grant experts for a multi-national telecommunications manufacturing and sales corporation, where she re-engineered the grant assistance program, and enabled public and private sector organizations to secure millions of dollars in grant funding for technology. She is a nationally recognized speaker and trainer on organizational change, leadership and grants, and has served as a peer reviewer for federal, state and local government grant programs

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Alliance Spotlight Video Conferencing Architecture: Why a Sea Change is Happening

Date: Thursday, October 3rd, 2013 - 1:00 PM ET
Organization: Vidyo
Session Title: Video Conferencing Architecture: Why a Sea Change is Happening
Register: Click Here To Register

Marty Hollander
Evangelist and former SVP, Market Development of Vidyo

Description: The age of global, large-scale HD video collaboration has arrived but how did we get here and where is the industry going?
Get the inside story of how Vidyo technology powers one of the largest video collaboration deployments in the world today, connecting over 20,000 scientists at 600 institutes and universities across 113 countries for physics research. We’ll explore how video conferencing architecture has evolved to support massive deployments and the exploding number and variety of personal endpoints.
Join Vidyo's Marty Hollander to:
  • Learn about the video architectures and deployment models proven to deliver high-quality, multipoint collaboration at mass scale.
  • Discuss the adoption of scalable video coding technology and its critical role in place in the H.264, H.265 and WebRTC VP9 codecs.
  • Explore Vidyo’s ongoing work with Google to enhance the video quality of WebRTC and the future of browser-to-browser communications.
  • See what’s new with VidyoDesktop 3.0 and VidyoWeb.
Speaker's Bio: Marty Hollander is a consultant and evangelist for Vidyo and formerly served as the company’s SVP of Market Development. With more than 20 years of high-tech marketing experience, Marty specializes in developing lasting strategic assets through creative market development. Previously, Marty served as Vice President of Marketing at Cemaphore Systems, Latitude Communications (later acquired by Cisco) and ProactiveNet (later acquired by BMC). He also founded CollectiveSpace and IntelliCorp, where he played a variety of executive roles. Marty has also held senior level positions at Silicon Graphics and Storm Technology. Marty earned an MBA from Stanford University as well as an MS from Carnegie-Mellon University.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

September 2013 VCI-Group President’s Message

September 2013 VCI-Group President’s Message
If you have been reading the industry news lately you are aware that there is more turmoil amongst some of the leading players.  What does that mean to us?  I am not sure yet. Let’s give it another quarter and let it play out.  But, I will say this – our industry is no longer about BOXES.  We have moved from a hardware industry to a software and cloud-based industry.
How does that affect us – the strategists, implementers and supporters of visual collaboration?  It means that we need to keep our ear to the ground, our eyes open and to be adaptable and flexible.  We will need to become knowledgeable of the new technologies/services and companies who offer them.  We will need to become certified in WebRTC, the cloud and Unified Communication.
How can you do this?  It is through education!  Education does not necessarily mean “brick and mortar” – for many of us we learn “on the job”; but, you don’t want to do that as you implement a new technology or service for with that comes some risks, perhaps too many.  
You want to be the individual who can understand the benefits/risks regarding the new technology, to be able to describe, discuss and provide a strategy to transition from legacy to new technology.  You need to continue to be viable in the marketplace as the technology delivery evolves.
To do that – we, VCI-Group are developing the programs to ensure that you can continue to be valuable to your organization or to be able to move into a different role. 
Our monthly webinars are a glimpse into the current issues we are encountering; BYOD, cloud services, Web RTC, etc.  These webinars will give you an understanding of the services, technology and the concerns/issues the industry has.  Through our  Alliance Member Spotlights, you will have an opportunity to hear the new technology and services that these vendors have developed, are selling which are transforming  visual communications. 
Let’s not forget that we learn best from our peers and we offer Special Interest Groups (SIGs) that touch on verticals; e.g., Distance Learning, Healthcare and technology, Technical & Engineering.  Listen and join your peers and vendors in discussions on the current challenges.  These webinars and spotlights are  a mechanism for you to begin to explore the technology, services and challenges.
We understand that advancement and job viability is linked to education and we are developing training programs that will provide you with certifications.  We should have more information for you in the coming month on the programs, delivery and costs.
So as summer comes to a close, we prepare for continued changes within our industry and the opportunity to provide you with the knowledge and education to adapt and master the technology and services.
Remember, knowledge is a powerful thing.
Toni Alonso
VCI-Group President