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Conferencing Week in Review: Forrester Research, Blackberry and More

November 22, 2014

There was a lot of movement throughout the conferencing industry this past week, and we have some of the highlights for you.

In Ohio, the Wood County Veteran’s Assistance Center in Bowling Green has become the first of its kind to integrate video conferencing technology into its system. This location is known for its progressive nature, as demonstrated by when Executive Director Mary Hanna became the first woman to hold such a position in the state of Ohio in 1988, or when it became the first office in the state to issue a special veterans photo ID card in 2006. The office plans to launch its long-distance video conferencing and assistance services during the first quarter of 2015. Telemental health conferencing, to be held in a new conference room resulting from a recent building expansion, will allow health services to screen veterans for issues such as PTSD without requiring them to come in to the Veteran’s Affairs office in Toledo. Many have complained of the 35-mile drive, so this solution is quite receptive to their needs.

Elsewhere, a new study from Forrester shows 70 percent of companies with 500 or more employees were using VoIP technologies. One thing that makes VoIP and UC more attractive to smaller businesses is the availability of hosted solutions. Small businesses tend to have smaller IT budgets and lack expertise on installing and maintaining complex VoIP systems. These hosted solutions make enterprise-style communications accessible to these businesses. Once a business has a VoIP system in place, integrating voice with other communications methods becomes easy. It only makes sense, since both the phone and Internet service are coming from the same connection.

In other news, while Blackberry had been talking about adding VoIP services to its BBM solution as early as last May, the company announced it was actually going to go one better. The Canadian Smartphone maker announced BBM Meetings, an audio and video conferencing service. The service has already gone live for BBM users on Android and Blackberry 10 phones, as well as Windows PCs and Mac users on the desktop. The company said that the service will be available on iOS “soon.” Among the key features of BBM Meetings is the ability to schedule or start a conference call from BBM chat. The service will allow almost anything done through BBM, including a phone call to be transformed into a video or audio conference without having to go through a number of confusing and frustrating steps. Sharing and annotating screens and documents with others as well as full-screen and high resolution video and voice quality for as many as 25 people is offered as well

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