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.

PublicRelay

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.

Contributor: Erin Rapacki
Director of Marketing, Suitable Technologies, Inc.

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School Attendance via Beam

After a climbing accident that caused Simon to stay in bed rest, he thought he would be missing his classes for a while. As luck would have it, the management team of the Ecole Centrale de Lyon brought a Beam to his school. Not only was he able to attend all his business school classes, he was also able to interact and collaborate with his peers on various project from the comfort of his hospital room. One of the project he was working on was to build a race car that would participate in an international challenge between universities. 

As stated by the Director of Digital Strategy, Jean -Pierre Berthet, “The most important aspect is for us is the human side . [This device] allow[s] an absent student to continue his schooling, to have a social life with other students is fundamental for us.”

This is the first time that a student in Europe has been able to attend classes remotely via smart presence device. Special shout-out to Awabot for making this happen!

 

Beams @ MuseumExpo

Two weeks ago, we were in the Emerald City at the Washington State Convention Center. This was a fantastic experience for Beam and The American Alliance of Museums (AAM). The attention we’re getting has been positively received by the museum goers looking to expand their services via Beam. Not only can Beam be used for the guests to view galleries, but also for tour guides to showcase art in museums across the globe.

While touring the convention booths, two of our Beam pilots had the opportunity to meet Your Music Memory, a company that has dedicated the last 10 years to combining both music and art into their products. They have a collection of rare guitars that have been painted by the original album artists such as Storm Thorgerson, Roger Dean, Stanley Mouse and Mike McInnerney to bring their inspired album covers to life on these very rare and special custom guitars. Not only were our pilots impressed, but the company has also opted to collaborate with Beam to better represent their vision through our smart presence device. We are honored to have received such a positive response as we hope to expand and bring together the art world for those who appreciate it as much as we do.

Two of our beams are currently in use at the De Young Museum here in San Francisco, just across the street from the Academy of Sciences. Beam presents great opportunities for any users to easily experience the museum firsthand all from the comfort of their desktop computer or laptop.

VISA DBP Conference

Earlier today, Jennifer Olayon beamed into Diversity Best Practices Conference in Foster City, CA, all the way from New York City. Erin from Suitable and Jenn from Working Mother (via Beam) took the stage to explain the benefits of remote working. With Beam, a company can keep remote workers engaged and allow them to have a presence in the team. Although Jenn works in New York, she was able to attend the conference in California and be a part of the event and interact with her colleagues.

It was a great conference; key note speakers discussed ideas on how to recognize, retain, and promote diversity in the work field. Beam was one of the solutions to grow diversity, create innovation and advancement. We had a fun time hanging out with the attendees and speakers there, thanks for having us Working Mother Magazine!

Special shoutout to Jenn from Working Mother for Beaming into the event! 🙂

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Joint Collaboration with Philips and HyperActive Multimedia at RSNA 2013

Last week, Philips and HyperActive Multimedia brought 4 Beams to McCormick Place in Chicago, for the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). More than 30 health professionals from all around the world “Beamed” into the conference.

One group in Poland turned their Beaming session into a real party!

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“As we can see on the pictures, BEAM session was prepared fantastic and all the clients were enjoyed to had such an opportunity to see on live our Philips booth.” – Karolina Banaszkiewicz

All 25 participants in Poland were super excited about this opportunity and Dr. Vikas Shah even blogged about his experience with Beam!

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A few of the Beams are now en route to Arab Health in Dubai and ESC in Vienna. Instead of traveling to your next health conference, try Beaming in!