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What�s Hot? Conferencing & Collaboration

By Greg Galitzine


We�ve all heard Rich Tehrani talk about Just in Time Communications referring to the tremendous productivity gains we will see because of the latest communications technology. Two of the areas of most rapid growth will be conferencing and collaboration, and we�re hearing hot news from companies in this space almost daily.

Skype is getting in on the action, by virtue of its recently announced relationship with Logitech. Logitech and Skype worked in concert to certify Logitech�s QuickCam Web cams and PC headsets for use with the newly announced Skype Video feature. The companies worked closely together on usability and performance, to ensure a fully synchronized, high-quality video and audio communications experience over the Internet. Skype Video, which includes a full-screen video mode, is an integrated part of Skype 2.0.

According to Frost and Sullivan research analyst Har Yen Yen, �With the ongoing transition from ISDN to IP, video conferencing is set to witness a greater convergence of applications as varied as instant messaging, streaming, and Web collaboration.

Factor in the proliferation of conferencing applications designed for 3G networks and what you get is a rapidly expanding market for conferencing and collaboration services.

It seems like conferencing and Web collaboration are on everybody�s �hot list� these days. In fact, Inter-Tel is releasing a brand new Audio and Web Conferencing solution this month; I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of their latest offering.

Essentially, this is a premise-based conferencing solution that allows users to schedule and attend remote meetings while mitigating the high costs usually associated with ASP-based conferencing solutions.

Here are just some of the features they told me about:

   ï¿½ Scales to 96 parties per session

   ï¿½ Two software licenses � audio only and audio and Web conferencing

   ï¿½ Software solution runs on a standard Linux server, using a SIP audio conference stream

   ï¿½ Integrates with Outlook e-mail, calendaring, and address book

   ï¿½ Provides robust conference session recording capabilities

   ï¿½ Integrated reporting tools capture all call activity for efficient management

   ï¿½ Has an outbound dialing feature, which eliminates the need for participants to remember dial-in information

   ï¿½ Users can schedule one-time, recurring, and reservation-less conferences.

Of course if you�re interested in learning more about the future of conferencing and collaboration, you can choose to shed your winter doldrums and head down to sunny Ft. Lauderdale for the first major VoIP event of the year: Internet Telephony Conference & EXPO. The conference is taking place from January 24�27 and will feature a wealth of educational opportunities that you simply cannot find anywhere else. Included among the educational offerings is a Conferencing and Collaboration Summit, which will take place on Tuesday January 24. The Summit will feature sessions on the following topics:

   ï¿½ Introduction to Collaboration and Conferencing

   ï¿½ Adding Video to Enhance the Collaboration Experience

   ï¿½ Adding VoIP to Web Conferencing and Collaboration

   ï¿½ IP-based Collaboration for Teleworking

   ï¿½ Presence & Unified Communications, and more.

For more information or to register, please visit

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