POTUS and the Beam

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President Barack Obama greets Alice Wong, Disability Visibility Project Founder and Project Coordinator via BeamPro during the Americans with Disabilities Act 25th Anniversary reception in the Blue Room of the White House, July 20, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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From Storify: #ADA25 at the @WhiteHouse
“On July 20, 2015, President Obama spoke in the East Room of the White House about the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Many members of the disability community attended the event including Alice Wong, Founder and Project Coordinator of the Disability Visibility Project. Alice attended the event remotely using BeamPro, a telepresence robot that allows a person to stream live with a webcam and move around simply by clicking the arrows on a laptop’s keyboard. Apparently, Alice was the first person to use this type of device in the White House.” – Alice Wong

VIDEO: President Obama Celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the ADA

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More stories about how Beam helps people with accessibility:

Ph.D Student attends College & Conferences with Smart Presence

Henry Evans “walks again” using Smart Presence

Suitable Technologies Launches Museum Partnership Program

After a year of successful pilot programs utilizing the Beam® Smart Presence System (SPS) at several US museums and cultural sites, including the de Young Museum and Detroit Institute of Arts, Suitable Technologies is pleased to announce the launch of the Museum Partnership Program. Participating museums and cultural sites will receive a BeamPro™ SPS to grant visitor access to people who are physically unable to travel. From anywhere in the world, a user may “beam” into participating museums to view galleries and experience museums firsthand from the comfort of his or her home computer.

Museums who participate in the partnership program will receive BeamPro SPS with assisted driving, charging dock, unlimited software licenses, and an annual service package that includes ongoing maintenance and program support for remote visitors who are physically unable to visit the site. A Beam user, the person who utilizes the BeamPro SPS to visit the museum remotely, downloads the Beam application onto his or her webcam-enabled personal computer at no additional cost.

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“With the Beam, I gain freedom and physical motion that provides me real-time interactivity in the world” shared Beam user Kavita Krishnaswamy. “Although I am unable to visit many museums in-person due to my severe physical disability, the opportunity to attend and interact remotely is an incredible experience.”

As highlighted in the July/August 2015 issue of Museum Magazine, the BeamPro SPS is one of the exciting new technologies being implemented by museums and cultural sites to provide better access to visitors with physical disabilities. 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, in any ADA compliant environment, through use of a valid WiFi connection.

To find out more about this new outreach program and schedule a BeamPro test drive, please contact:

Christa Cliver
Director of Education & Museum
+1.206.369.7786
ccliver@suitabletech.com

About Suitable Technologies™
Suitable Technologies grants shared experiences between friends, students, teams and guests by transporting a person’s presence to any place of interest. The Beam™ SPS (Smart Presence System), which includes products BeamPro and Beam+, is a telepresence 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, like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, or elevate your communication at https://www.suitabletech.com.

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

SUITABLE TECHNOLOGIES CONTACT
Erin Rapacki                                                             Brianna Lempesis
Director of Marketing                                              Media Manager
+1.650.687.7193                                                      +1.925.336.4826
erin@suitabletech.com                                            blempesis@suitabletech.com

How Beam Protects your Privacy

Greetings

Have a quick video call over your smartphone about work related matters, and you may feel secure; you may think that there are so many free video calls that certainly nobody is listening to yours. However, as people begin bringing their own device (BYOD) to work, IT professionals are increasingly sensitive to the security measures offered over video.  At Suitable Technologies, the makers of the Beam® Smart Presence System (SPS) including BeamPro™ and Beam+™, we take security seriously for the new video collaboration option called “remote presence.”

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Learn how Beam extends video conferencing outside the meeting room.

The video conferencing software used for the Beam SPS is developed internally by the team at Suitable Technologies in order to control all aspects of security, quality, and experience for communication and motion throughout a building. The System seamlessly integrates low latency audio/video with real-time driving controls enabling ‘presence’ rather than simply conversation.  With a minimum bandwidth of ~1Mbps, high-quality video is prioritized so users always see where they are going, enabling safe movement in even the most crowded environment; by matching latencies for both driving and video, the pilot has easy, intuitive control.  Extensive user permission tools work with all Beam models and encompass the entire user network.  Suitable Technologies employees rely on Beam every day for their own needs: remote work, home and family, events, and meetings with Fortune 500 customers.

Employees of Suitable enjoy the freedom to live anywhere while being a full-time, team contributor in Palo Alto.

In addition to robust, integrated video conferencing and mobility software, the hardware and Beam management tools embody security and privacy protocols that enforce secure face-to-face collaboration, for example:

  • The Beam App. does NOT have built-in video/audio recording or photo-taking.
  • Beam video must be on at all times so locals know who is piloting the SPS.
  • When in use, the Beam ‘neck’ is illuminated so people know a remote pilot is present even if the local cannot see the screen.
  • Similar to providing key card access to a building, Beam site administrators can grant permission to a Beam temporarily – on specific days, for specific hours.
  • Administrators can require that a SPS must be answered with a physical tap by the local person when a remote pilot seeks to beam in.

A secure video collaboration solution is required to enable sensitive face-to-face interactions when travel is not an option. With assurance that Beams provide secure, safe, and reliable remote presence with colleagues; users have access to more jobs, are able to manage teams across oceans, and can transact business with a sense physical presence that is otherwise unachievable.

Synopsis from the Network Administration Guide on SPS security specs and operability:

Beam communications is protected using industry standard TLS (Transport Layer Security). Beam session data (audio/video) is encrypted using AES256 and authenticated using HMACSHA1. Encryption and decryption happen at the endpoints.

The Beam Service allows a pilot using a Beam App to connect to a Smart Presence System (SPS). The Service facilitates the following communication processes for Suitable Technologies:

  • System Configuration
  • System Diagnostic data (e.g., performance data, errors and logs relating to the software’s behavior, etc)
  • Software Updates
  • Session establishment signaling (e.g., exchange of IP/Port information between the Beam App and Beam SPS)

A session between the Beam SPS and the Beam App occurs via a direct peer-to-peer UDP (User Datagram Protocol) connection. A Beam session can flow either via:

  • a direct connection, where no Beam session data (audio/video) flows through the Beam Service, or
  • when it is not possible to establish a direct connection, a relay server is selected and used to forward the encrypted session traffic between the SPS and App.
  • If connection between either the Beam App to the relay or the Beam SPS to the relay is not possible, a session is not established.
  • Additional protection can be provided by employing a VPN (Virtual Private Network).

Suitable Technologies’ employees are not allowed to connect to customer SPSs without written permission from the site administrator. Employees will never connect to SPSs in a manner that could provide unknown or unseen audio/video access to customer’s facilities. All access to SPSs, whether routine or for troubleshooting, is auditable.

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Suitable Technologies can provide a packaged version of the relay software for the customer to run on their own network. If a Beam is configured to use an internal relay, session data (audio/video) never passes through Suitable Technologies’ Beam Service.

For more information, please contact info@suitabletech.com.

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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:

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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!