All Eyes on Video Meetings

With the promise of click-to efficiency and broad reach, integration and partnership are core strategic propositions of today's communications platform providers gunning for a place in the modern enterprise. The evidence is plentiful this week among video conferencing and collaboration providers, many of whom are sharing news out of the InfoComm 2018 A/V conference taking place in Las Vegas.

Here are several examples of the latest integrations and partnerships related to video communications and collaboration.

Lifesize, Voicera Team on AI

If Lifesize has its way, meetings will no longer require participants to take notes madly while simultaneously trying to absorb the gist of the discussion. To solve that problem, it's teamed with Voicera, maker of Eva, an in-meeting artificial intelligence (AI) assistant that will take notes and create a searchable, actionable transcript for participants, Lifesize said.

Being able to invite Eva to a Lifesize video -- or audio -- meeting for notetaking is just the beginning, said Craig Malloy, the company's CEO, in a prepared statement. As AI matures, all Lifesize solutions will capitalize on the capabilities it enables to "make video conferencing more immersive and collaborative."

The Voicera integration follows on two product announcements Lifesize shared last week: Lifesize Dash and Lifesize Share.

With the software-based Dash, Lifesize aims to provide companies with a way to turn their huddle rooms and other mini spaces into full-fledged video meeting rooms, as Michael Helmbrecht, chief product and operations officer at Lifesize, shared in a No Jitter briefing. Leveraging WebRTC, Dash runs on a Chromebox and is optimized for presentation not on a laptop but for a larger room screen, he said. Dash works with approved USB cameras and audio devices from vendors such as Aver, Huddly, and Yamaha Unified Communications, and users can control the meeting via mobile app. It will be available in the third quarter.

Lifesize Dash

With Share, as the name implies, Lifesize is targeting the cumbersome content sharing processes that taint many meeting experiences, Helmbrecht said. Share allows meeting participants to present content, queue files, and change presenters from their laptop, tablets, or smartphones over a wireless connection. Once a presenter selects a Lifesize meeting, Share uses ultrasonic sound waves to detect the device and enable presentation on the room's monitor, he explained.

In addition, Share can serve as a secure wireless access point through which guests present content -- rather than doing so by connecting to the corporate network. Share is available now, starting at $499.

Highfive Greets Ingram Micro, Best Buy

Following on the February news that Dimension Data would be distributing Highfive products globally (as well as leading the company's third funding round), Highfive further expanded its partner ranks to include Ingram Micro and Best Buy for Business.

Via the deal, all Highfive products become available through Ingram Micro's worldwide network, comprising 155 distribution centers and 200 resellers. Among those resellers is Best Buy for Business, which will lead with Highfive as its recommended video conferencing system for customers, said CEO Shan Sinha, in a No Jitter briefing.

Highfive is particularly enthusiastic about the opportunity afforded it through the relationship with Best Buy for Business, which is a leading seller of TV sets into businesses in North America, Sinha said. "What's exciting about that," he added, "is there's natural demand that we're seeing to bring conferencing into all those rooms that have TV sets -- projectors are going the way of the dinosaur, and as rooms put up flat panels, there's great opportunity for us through this partnership."

Continued to next page: Zoom, Polycom, Google