Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Elizabeth Burton, VCI-Group Director, assisting national organization plan upcoming summit.

On February 16 in Atlanta, national educators and technology experts will convene to plan a national summit on the use of technology, digital tools, and the impact on teacher educators.  The summit entitled “Mobilizing the Nation's Teacher Educators for Transformation and Accountability in the Digital Age”, is being led by the Association of Teacher Educators.

Confirmed participants currently include: American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, American Educational Research Association, Association of Teacher Educators, Council of Chief State School Officers, Massachusetts Commission on Higher Education, National Association of State Boards of Education, National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Credentialing, National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education/Council for Accreditation of Education Programs, New Hampshire IHE Network, State Education Technology Directors Association, and the World Federation of Associations of Teacher Educators.

In addition, the following technology companies will provide technical expertise as part of the Association of Teacher Educators' Technology Advisory Group:  Tom Burnett (Apple), Elizabeth Burton (Polycom), Philip Puthumana (Verizon Foundation) and Lisa Trisciani (GovConnection).

Questions regarding this national summit may be directed to Elizabeth Burton at

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

VCI-Group Alliance Members Participating at Team Polycom


What to expect from this Upcoming Event for the Vendors & Providers?
From February 4-7 2013, at the Vancouver, BC Convention Center, Polycom will organize their annual vendor show to provide their partners, coming from all over the world, with a deeper presentation of their upcoming innovations. Many VCI-Group Alliance Members will join the show as participants and 4 Alliance Member will be Sponsors & will exhibit during the Show:
VCI-Group Alliance Members exhibiting at the Team Polycom 2013

What to expect from the Show?
Since the NASDAQ presentation October 9th 2012, Polycom has insisted constantly on the fact they are changing the future of video collaboration with a stronger offering of UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) including the Polycom RealPresence CloudAXIS suite, which allows customers to make a high-quality video call with someone on Skype, Facebook or FaceTime with a click of a button on their iPad tablet or Android phone. That’s certainly the solution that every vendor will be expecting impatiently during the 3-day Show. During this presentation, Andrew Miller, CEO of Polycom, stressed the fact that the video conferencing industry has been struggling with interoperability, collaboration and cloud adoption. Polycom is looking to eliminate this by creating ubiquitous collaboration by being a platform that connects all "disparate video islands". CloudAXIS is supposed to be designed with this in mind.
Seriously… Why attend?
Innovation, Innovation, Innovation! Polycom are changing the future of video collaboration, so let’s see for ourselves.
Mobile and Cloud Strategy! Everybody is now talking about Cloud & BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)… let’s see what Polycom has for us.
Industry, Vertical, and Channel Enablement!
Will the Vendors & Providers take benefit of the Polycom Innovation & UCaaS Strategy… I am sure they will… Polycom loves its partners!
Partner, Alliance, and Polycom Executive Networking
Always a great opportunity to exchange ideas with our peers within the Polycom Partner Network as well as key representatives from Polycom.
EXPO Experience
Key technology partners, alliances and developers join forces within the EXPO to demonstrate how their next generation products seamlessly integrate into Polycom solutions to solve pressing customer business problems and be the first to get a ‘sneak peek’ into the upcoming solutions and technology.
If you are not convinced with the above 5 reasons… Vancouver is a fantastic Canadian city with multicultural food and beautiful Mountains at only 1 hour from the City Center. Even if you’ll be in Canada, the weather is not as cold as it is in Toronto & Montreal… so no excuse!

So let’s congratulate again our VCI-Group Alliance Members exhibiting at the Team Polycom 2013 and if you plan to attend, pay them a visit to see what they have to offer!

By Geoffrey Vande Weerdt

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

It's that time of year to Renew, or Join, Visual Communication Group

This is an exciting time within our industry, so what better way to prepare yourself than to renew, or become a member of Visual Communication Group. 

In everything we read about our industry, 2013 will continue to provide us with new technology, services and companies who will make an impact on how we deliver conferencing and collaboration solutions. To ensure that our respective organizations remain competitive in today's economy, we must stay abreast of leading edge offerings, developments and best practices. VCI-Group can help you do that.

Ensure that you don't miss out on any of the following useful benefits enjoyed by VCI-Group Members - renew today!
  • Electronic Mailing List: This email-based discussion group is used by members to exchange information, solutions and recommendations covering common issues that they face every day!
  • VCIG LIVE!: These interactive webinars cover a variety of topics and give members the opportunity to discuss conferencing and collaboration issues.
  • Special Interest Groups (SIGs): These groups meet periodically to address specific issues of importance to conferencing professionals and promote peer networking, enhanced relations with Alliance companies, and professional development.
  • Contact with Alliance Companies: Direct input to product development and hot-off-the-press product notifications from Alliance member companies.
  • VCI-Group News: This periodic email service provides members with the latest product releases and updates as well as surveys and event information.
  • On-Line Membership Directory: This directory allows members to access contact information for all User and Alliance members.
  • Industry Relevant Event, Subscriptions, & Training Discounts
Joining or Renewing is easy! Online at the VCI-Group Website.

VCI-Group's ability to grow is in your hands - your membership dues and active participation will empower VCI-Group to deliver information, awareness and education to conferencing professionals. In other words, through your active participation we will thrive!

If you have any questions, contact the VCI-Group office at 800-784-7636 or +1-952-928-4665 (if calling from outside North America) or by email to

Friday, January 4, 2013

VCI-Group Presidents Message

It is the start of a New Year and with it comes the promise of new beginnings–that is what we, the Visual Communications Industry Group (VCI-Group), is looking at this New Year.
We are working hard to transform the organization to ensure that we bring value to YOU, the End Users and to our Alliance Members, Manufacturers and Vendors. Right now, we are in the midst of an explosion of visual communications within every industry by virtue of being able to connect and communicate on any device, any time and any place. As strategists, implementers and supporters of this technology and service we must stay in the forefront of what is being developed and provided. Too often it is difficult to do that. How do we move our organizations forward in this space if our budgets for training & education are constricted; if we aren’t exposed to the industry leaders that will be around for a period of time? We need access to vendors who have done this before, have sustainable products and services, along with the insight they can provide regarding the benefits and risks of pursuing a particular direction in technology. These are the questions that YOU face.
We want YOU to come to us as the organization who can get those answers for you, who can point you to the Manufacturer or Provider who is one of the best in the industry; and, more importantly to an industry peer who has done it already and can guide you through the pitfalls and assist you in a successful implementation or deployment.
Each month you will hear from me about what the organization’s focus will be and why you should attend a webinar or read an article. You can expect to see at least 30 to 40 new companies enter this industry in the next 18 months—YOU need to know who is sustainable and has a product which will create a “tipping point” in the way we conference and collaborate.
Our first VCIG LIVE! in January will focus on WebRTC—this appears to be the “hottest” topic in our industry today and I am ignorant as to what this is all about and if it is a game changer for my company as everyone is hinting at. I am guessing that many of you feel the same way. Join us for this webinar in January and then look for more program details in the coming weeks via email!
We also have a new program for our Vendors known as the “Circle of Leadership.” This is comprised of companies that are each either giants in the industry or new comers who are having a tremendous influence on how we deliver visual services.
Always remember, this is YOUR organization and we on the Board are here to serve YOU and to provide YOU with the information that you require to be successful. We would like to hear from you on what programs YOU would be interested in attending. Each of our email addresses are displayed on the VCI-Group web page—please reach out to us, we will respond.
In 2013 our focus will be in providing each of YOU, end user, Alliance member, manufacturer and vendor with an organization that will provide timely, relevant industry information, a forum to access this information and a way to communicate with each other.
May we all be successful in 2013.

Thank You,

Toni Alonso
VCI-Group President

VCI-Group Readies for 2013.

The VCI-Group, the largest independent group of videoconferencing and visual communications users is conducting an online election of members to be added to the Board of Directors for the 2013-2014 two-year term. The Board is also recommending a change to the Visual Communications Industry Group (VCI-Group) Bylaws. 
As we all say goodbye to 2012, VCI-Group says goodbye to the current Leadership team who has been serving the organization for the last two years. Leaving us this year is Stephen Demmings President, Indika McCambell Vice President, and Craig Ernst Secretary. “These three individuals have been leaders in our industry, and VCI-Group leaders for many years. We all wish them well and thank them for their many years of service to this important non-profit group.” says Toni Alonso, VCI-Group Director. A slate has now been sent out to the membership to elect the new board, and a new Leadership Team to guide the group for the next two years. Along with the board election, two changes to the current Bylaws have been put forth to the membership.  Members have until 5:00PM Pacific Time December 10th to cast their vote. Results will be announced later that month.

With 2013 on the horizon, VCI-Group will continue moving forward and adapting to its constituents needs.  Toni Alonso, VCI-Group Director stated “The industry has stated that there is a need for an End User organization and the Visual Communications Industry Group (VCI-Group) will be positioning themselves in the New Year to be that organization for both End Users, Manufacturers, CSPs and Vendors. She goes on to say, “In 2013 you will see a transformation and a revitalization of the organization through a few programs which we have begun to implement.  The first is the development of the “Circle of Leadership” this program is offered to Alliance/Vendor Members and will provide you with in-depth information as to what these vendors are doing and how it will be relevant in your environment.  We will be offering more VCIG LIVE!; Educational sessions that you will not want to miss. More than ever our industry is transforming and you need to be educated and involved so that you can continue to offer your clients the best collaboration and conferencing technology and services available.” The election process, along with the Bylaw changes, will be the beginning of a two-year cycle that will start on January 1st 2013.

The VCI-Group is the knowledge-sharing community that influences the Visual Communications Industry and is a community comprised of 500+ end-users and vendors focused on videoconferencing, telepresence, Unified Communications and/or collaboration technology. Membership consists of individuals from organizations that make visual communications purchasing decisions or recommendations and create implementation strategies, and/or support the technology.
VCI-Group focuses on facilitating educational and peer networking in the conferencing and collaboration industry. In addition to providing access to education, training, learning programs and “hot-off-the-press” news and information, VCI-Group’s driving force is to keep the membership very well informed and connected to their network of member professionals.
The Visual Communications Industry Group (VCI-Group) is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to 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.  For more information on becoming a member, or the Bylaw changes please visit: