The Pillars of Video Collaboration

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Companies have expanded globally and wish to work with the best of the best: have the best teammates, use the best vendors, and hire the best consultants. However, business operations take place in many different, often unique, facilities and keeping those locations connected is a constant challenge. Nearly every company has a team member who is vital to the success of the organization that is not co-located at headquarters or a central hub of activity. In fact, Forrester predicts that 43% of the US the workforce will be working remotely by 2016. To resolve this challenge, companies have invested heavily in promoting healthy communication between their remote and local teams with various technologies: the telephone, file sharing and project management software, and video communication when travel is not an option.

When purchasing a video communication tool people must consider its purpose: do they want it to be used in all collaboration spaces? Is video needed for colleagues who work from home? Will conferencing be used for formal meetings between multiple facilities? Companies have many options to select from, but they must consider how it benefits their unique organizational challenges. As a guide, here are the technologies we recommend for various methods of remote collaboration:

1. Video Calling (e.g. Google Hangouts and Skype) offers an informal ubiquitous video service over a low bandwidth connection. These services are best used for casual desk-to-desk calling or for distributed teams who work without a central office.

2. Video Conferencing (e.g. high–definition room systems) offers groups an ability to be face-to-face for a formal meeting. The technology is optimized for scheduled, multi-point, and room-to-room conferencing.

3. Remote Presence (e.g. a self contained, remote controlled, video conferencing device on wheels) is a new tool for natural collaboration in all workspaces outside the meeting room or office: labs, white board areas, factory floors, shops, cafeterias, manufacturing plants, showcases, tech centers, and more. Remote presence devices implement their video conferencing software differently in order to optimize for low latency, over a relatively low bandwidth internet connection, for proactive driving control. They come complete with cameras, a microphone array, speakers, a battery, and digital display.

Workplace interactions range from the very formal to the informal, from quick chats between colleagues to large presentations. Remote presence it is a distinct “third pillar” that adds to a company’s strategy where experts may be invited to join in team collaboration anywhere the action is happening. Removing geography as a barrier to recruiting helps teams hire the right people; especially small companies like startups who require the best. Notably, as referenced in a 2014 study from CB Insights 46% of the startups listed failed due to not having the right management team. In addition, remote presence is capable of connecting users to their teams throughout multiple operating locations a day, so those who find it most valuable are remote employees, consultants, clients, vendors, operations managers, and business travelers who wish to connect back to their headquarters while away.

When successful team dynamics require spontaneity, collaboration, or attendance at an event – only remote presence enables people to come together without boundaries. Video collaboration is required among global teams everywhere, including meetings between desks and conference rooms, but now this “third pillar” makes it easier for a person’s presence to be made available in all workspaces; thereby creating a healthy, transparent, and positive collaboration environment that mobilizes the workforce and provides a way for teams to have equal access to everyone.

96% of Users Agree Beam is Easy to Use

Suitable Technologies Announces BeamPro User Survey Results
The Beam® Smart Presence System receives positive feedback from customers for ease of use and overall quality of experience

ORLANDO, Fla. (INFOCOMM 2015) – June 16, 2015 – Suitable Technologies (http://www.suitabletech.com), the company that brings people together with the BeamPro™ Smart Presence System, today announced survey results compiled from 650 active BeamPro users. More than 96 percent of respondents stated BeamPro was easy to use, 90 percent were satisfied with their experience, and 86 percent would recommend BeamPro to a friend. Additionally, Suitable Technologies has achieved over 150 percent year-on-year (YoY) new user acquisition, fueled by the rapid adoption of its BeamPro device among universities and Fortune 100 companies in the Internet, Manufacturing, Medical, and Pharmaceutical sectors.

“We purchased BeamPro over two years ago in order to better manage software development projects with overseas teams in Russia, India, and China. Communication was always the biggest challenge, so I wanted something that would help us continue work beyond the conference room scenario,” said Jay Beavers, Software Engineering Manager, Microsoft Research.

BeamPro’s competitive advantage lies in the system’s usability for people of any technical ability including students and people who work-from-home. IT providers choose BeamPro for their company’s needs because the Beam solution delivers what is commonly expected from video conferencing technology. The Beam collaboration solution:

– Enables face-to-face participation in every work environment.
– Utilizes pre-existing communications infrastructure (4G and WiFi);
– Leverages a fully supported, cloud-based video service;
– Includes a complement of user management administrative tools;
– Deploys security features and encryption expected of professional video collaboration;
– Delivers a high-quality, highly reliable connection for important visits or encounters, and
– Is comfortable and easy to use with a personal computer (OSX 10.7+ and Windows 7 and 8).

“The strength of the BeamPro lies in its ability to enable face-to-face meetings where and when video conferencing is either unavailable or ineffective,” said Ira Weinstein, Sr. Analyst, Consultant, and Partner at Wainhouse Research.

Please visit Suitable Technologies, Inc. during InfoComm 2015 at Booth #5243.

About Suitable Technologies™
Suitable Technologies solves collaboration challenges by aiding teams with effective presence everywhere the action is happening. The Beam™ SPS (Smart Presence System), which includes products BeamPro and Beam+, is a collaboration solution that combines mobility and video conferencing for an immersive communication experience everywhere conversations take place. Beam enables people to be there, and to interact naturally by seeing and being seen, hearing and being heard, and the freedom to move about, from anywhere in the world. Founded in 2011, Suitable Technologies products are designed and manufactured at its headquarters in Palo Alto, CA. Follow @suitabletech on Twitter, like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, plus us on Google+, or elevate your communication at https://www.suitabletech.com.

All trademarks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.

How to Look Perfect on Beam

Want to look your best while connecting to a Beam at your workplace, on stage, or while visiting family with your new Beam+?

Before you start, make sure your computer is hard-wired into an ethernet port to assure you have excellent connectivity. Read more about Beam network requirements.

Step 1: Allocate a 6ft x 8ft area for your computer setup.

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Step 2: Mind your background, select a solid-colored wall (with a single piece of wall art). If using a backdrop, place the desk and easel 4ft apart, so the backdrop fills the entire video frame on the Beam application. DO NOT sit in front of a window (have lighting on your face instead of behind you).

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Step 3: Place the monitor at the rear edge of the table, and place the keyboard at the front edge of the table, so your eyes appear as if you are looking straight into the webcam (although you are actually looking at Beam application).

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Step 4: Position a LED light so it parallels the top of the monitor and the light points at your face.

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Step 5: Place the microphone toward the front edge of the table and keep it as close to your chin as possible while keeping it out of view of your webcam.

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Step 6: Position the Beam application window center shrunk to its smallest size underneath the webcam, at the top of the screen, and use the screen real-estate in the bottom half for other browser windows.

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Links to purchase the items in this post:

Table
Monitor
Easel
Computer
Webcam
Light
Speakers
Keyboard
Chair
Microphone Stand
Microphone

Humans of SXSW 2015

Humans of SXSW 2015

The Beam Team decided to check out SXSW in true form this year: we rolled from bar to bar, fist-bumped many wonderful people, and kept up with all of the other creatures on 6th St.

First, we were registered as a new student at Greendale Community College.

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However, the white alien mustache men were difficult to understand, so we decided to seek out a career as a fire fighter.

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Some folks perceived the Beam as a good omen.

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Next, we met somebody who re-interpreted what it meant to “light your face.”

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Wrong holiday?

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The tech folks were working into the night.

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To conclude our evening’s adventures; we invented new dance moves with the locals.

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Our visit to SXSW ended in the best of ways: two people who are bedridden with disabilities connected to Beam in order to give their SXSW talk “People with Disabilities can ‘Be There’ Too”

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Thank you SXSW!

Museums Adopt Technology to Give Guests with Physical Disabilities the Opportunity to Tour Art Exhibits with BeamPro

In the first program of its kind, Suitable Technologies has partnered with various museums to bring self-guided tours to individuals who are physically unable to travel to various museum across the country. From anywhere in the world, users can “beam in” to participating museums thanks to Suitable Technologies’ BeamPro: a technology that combines mobility and video conferencing to enable users to move about, speak, see and interact with friends and family – regardless of their location. Visitors will be immersed in a self-guided exploration of the exhibits, allowing them to view galleries and experience the museums firsthand from the comfort of their desktop or laptop.

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Watch CBS Sunday Morning “Robots open up the world of art”

Self-guided, remote access museum experiences open a world of possibilities. Individuals with physical disabilities and seniors who are limited in their ability to explore can now visit their favorite works of art, artists and museum collections. This is not the first time Suitable Technologies has been recognized helping the disabled community. Click here to see Henry Evans, a mute quadriplegic, use the Beam to visit the de Young Museum in San Francisco and here to see Kavita Krishnaswamy present her thesis on robotic aids using BeamPro.

Museums in the Beam accessibility pilot project include the Fine Arts of San Francisco, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Computer History Museum and the Seattle Art Museum and the National Music Museum.

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (http://www.famsf.org/) is comprised of the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park and theLegion of Honor in Lincoln Park; it is the largest public arts institution in the City of San Francisco and one of the largest art museums in the United States. Request Beam access and sign up online.

The Detroit Institute of Arts (http://www.dia.org/), beam in to experience Diego Rivera’s fresco style mural titled Detroit Industry, considered the finest example of Mexican mural art in the United States, and the artist thought it the best work of his career.

The Computer History Museum (http://www.computerhistory.org/), beam in to explore the history of computing and its ongoing impact on society. The Computer History Museum is dedicated to the preservation and celebration of computer history and is home to the largest international collection of computing artifacts in the world.

The Seattle Art Museum (http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/) has been the center for world-class visual arts in the Pacific Northwest since 1933. Beam into the Northwest Coast Gallery to view paintings, sculpture and works on paper from artists of the Pacific Northwest.

The National Music Museum (http://orgs.usd.edu/nmm/) is one of the great institutions of its kind in the world. Its renowned collections, which include more than 15,000 American, European, and non-Western instruments from virtually all cultures and historical periods.

“Suitable Technologies is delighted to offer people with disabilities the opportunity to experience museums and cultural sites that were previously inaccessible,” said Scott Hassan, CEO of Suitable Technologies. “Not only does this program allow us to support our mission to give people all over the world broader access to technology, it also solidifies our commitment to furthering tele-tourism both locally and globally.”

The program received short-term testing at CES 2015 this January, where attendees were invited to beam into the museums from the conference show floor.
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BeamPro embodies the user with an authentic presence and immerses the user with reliable low-latency audio and video for natural communication and control. BeamPro can be used by anyone, anywhere, so long as there is a Wi-Fi connection. Inquiries for BeamPro can be made by contacting Suitable Technologies.

If you would like to schedule a time to visit the Museum or participate in a Beam guided tour, please contact one of the following contacts:

MEDIA CONTACTS//
Amanda Taggart Hughes
Mercury Global Partners for Suitable Technologies
amanda@mercuryglobalpartners.com
+1-310.980.9587

SUITABLE TECHNOLOGY CONTACT//
Christa Cliver
Director of Museum Business Development
ccliver@suitabletech.com
+1-206-369-7786

SXSW Session: With Beam, People with Disabilities Can “Be There” Too

You voted and we made the cut. On March 16th, we’ll be presenting at SXSW and we’d love for you to join us.

Join Erin Rapacki (of Suitable Technologies), Henry Evans and Kavita Krishnaswamy as they answer the question “How can the digital world help people with disabilities lead more fulfilling lives?” Henry and Kavita will beam in from their respective homes in California and Maryland to present their case for assistive technologies. Read on to find out more.

Who is Henry Evans?
Henry Evans, a home-bound and mute quadriplegic, uses the company’s BeamPro to “walk again.” Henry is a huge proponent of #assistivetechnologies and was recently featured on CBS Sunday Morning News using the #BeamPro to tour museums around the US. Watch it here.

Who is Kavita Krishnaswamy?
Kavita uses BeamPro to reduce the physical limits of her spinal muscular atrophy. Kavita has been beaming into conferences and events – most recently having used the technology to beam in at Mobile World Congress and the CES Lifelong Tech Summit. Watch here as she defends her thesis at the University of Maryland via Beam.


What are the details?

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Session: People with Disabilities Can “Be There” Too
Monday, March 16
11:00AM – 12:00PM
Austin Convention Center
Room 12AB

BeamPro at Universities

Universities, more specifically; university professors, administrators, and students are boldly going where they haven’t gone before. Beam Smart Presence Systems are arriving on campus, and universities are discovering how Beam connects students and professors in new ways for sharing knowledge, attending class, and creating a great customer experience for students.

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(Photo: M State)

Beam fulfills the need for shared awareness between people, places, and things by combining mobility and video conferencing to for an immersive communication experience anywhere and everywhere conversations take place. Beam enables people to be there, and interact naturally by seeing and being seen, hearing and being heard, with the freedom to move about from anywhere in the world.

At Cornell Tech, Professor (and self proclaimed Beam evangelist) Serge Belongie uses the Beam at least six times per week while guest lecturers, teaching assistants and professors have beamed in from California, Ithaca, Israel and more. In addition, a Professor Deborah Estrin was able to watch presentations, congratulate graduating students and mingle in the crowd of guests – all while being 5,000+ miles away in Israel.

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Beam works well teaching in classrooms because it embodies the remote individual, or pilot, with his or her authentic presence, and immerses the individual using reliable low-latency audio and video for natural communication, interaction, and control. The viewing monitor is placed at eye-level, and low-latency video broadcasts in 480p in order to promote natural response times for gestures, driving, and other conversational cues. Application-specific audio makes use of six microphones, ideal for conversations up to 20 feet away, and cancels background noise; thereby making BeamPro and excellent A/V option for classrooms, events, or other noisy environments.

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Universities are using it outside the classroom as well. Dr. Peter Wielinski, chief student services officer at M State, said the college invested in the new technology primarily as a way to help meet the needs of students. With four campus locations and its online eCampus, Wielinski said, the college often faces the challenge of scheduling assistance for students at times of high demand, such as the start of a new semester.

“With a distance of 50 to 100 miles between our four campuses, the use of our Beams ensure that the most appropriate person can provide face-to-face support services anywhere on campus without delay,” Wielinski said. M State estimates the use of Beam could save the college up to $45,000 annually in travel costs for student services staff. They could also cut down on travel time and costs for administrators and others who will be able to use the technology to avoid driving for meetings and allow the college to invite guest lecturers and experts to interact with students – without any travel time or expense.

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Stanford Football Coach David Shaw beams in for a team meeting. (ESPN blog)

Often, students cannot attend a classroom in-the-flesh due to disability, sickness, or injury. University of Maryland Ph.D student Kavita Krishnaswamy has a disability and is unable to leave her home easily, she beams into academic conferences around the country and defended her PhD thesis using the device. In addition, a student involved with the LearningLab at the EMLYON Business School in Lyon, France experienced an accident while rock climbing, and managed to beam into the classroom from his hospital bed.

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More beam photos from the LearningLab at the Lyon EMLYON Business School.

Academic researcher, Mary-Anne Williams of the University of Technology, Sydney uses Beam to enhance education and communication between students for real-world applications such as research collaboration, accessibility and interaction, and conference participation. She uses Beam to connect three research labs in California, Korea, and Australia; in addition to having Steve Wozniak beam in for guest lectures.

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School beams in new teachers for their initial interviews. (See VIDEO)

The use cases are endless: beam in alumni to mentor students or attend special events, recruit high school students and athletes by beaming them onto campus, beam in guest lecturers, beam in professors who are away at a conference, beam in students who are sick or injured, share operations between multiple campuses, link academic researchers who are working on similar projects, and overall – connect people anywhere and everywhere conversations take place.

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An alumnus beams into the Stanford vs. Notre Dame football game pep rally. (Photo: Steve Toepp)

Please contact the Beam Team to learn more: info@suitabletech.com
Or, sign up for a BeamPro Test Drive right away! suitabletech.com/testdrive