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Biba Gets Roomy With Video

Startup Biba yesterday announced Version 3.0 of its collaboration tool, including H.323/SIP connectivity for room video conference systems and a host of other features.

If you're not familiar with Biba, you can think of it in comparison to next-generation collaboration tools such as Cisco Spark and Unify Circuit. Like those tools, Biba is aimed at changing the way people -- particularly those who are highly mobile -- work.

I'm still not sure what to call products of this ilk, but No Jitter blogger Dave Michels, a TalkingPointz analyst, has used the term "any-time communications" to indicate their synchronous and asynchronous capabilities. At last week's Cisco Partner Summit, Rowan Trollope, SVP of Cisco's Collaboration Technology Group, called Spark the right collaboration tool for the agile worker. No matter what the name, these products take a bit of getting used to -- but once do, you'll see how much easier work gets with them and how different they are from traditional UC.

While always video-centric, earlier versions of the Biba tool limited video to mobile devices. Now with Biba 3.0, mobile workers can connect to H.323/SIP-based room systems through a new feature called Biba Video Rooms. Given the momentum around mobile video, Biba's decision to align itself with the trend certainly makes sense.

Over the years, companies of all sizes have invested billions of dollars in in-room video hardware. But endpoint utilization is abysmally low. A number of technical issues are to blame, most notable of which is that these systems can be intimidating and difficult to use.

The Biba in-room video UI

This is just the latest in a long line of video improvements Biba has had over the last year. In addition to the room connectivity, the company has added features like the ability to stream 16 simultaneous video sessions and HD video with dynamic bandwidth manipulation.

In addition to the room connectivity, other 3.0 enhancements include:

With all the activity in this new industry segment, it's clear the UC market is changing. I'm glad to see startups like Biba pushing the incumbents to get more innovative. Biba 3.0 video ties together the new world with legacy communications so businesses can try out Biba while still being able to use the technology that's currently deployed in the organization.

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