FaceToFace Communications® is proud to release the first version of the HuddleBar™ which is the first of our products developed to enhance the user experience in the meeting room, or Huddleroom™ , space.
Good quality audio and great asthetics are essential for a great meeting room experience. Good quality audio and video take up space but they do not need to be on show, they should blend into the room. But they must also be easily serviceable as unified communications and collaboration become mission critical in most businesses.
The HuddleBar™ contans high quallty Italian speakers, amplifier, videoconferenconferencing codec and other options such as Intel Nuc, content sharing devices etc.
The enclosure comes in polished stainless steel, or steel coated with the customer's colour of choice and the accoustic fabric front cover can also be customised with the customer's prefered colour.
And it has been designed to be easily installed - "If you can install a TV wall mount you can install a HuddleBar™"
Video Collaboration Takes to the Cloud
Today’s employee is more connected than ever before and professional mobility has increased with mobile devices. It’s common to find many businesses encouraging, if not stipulating off-site work among their staff and some corporations actually run 100% remotely.
Virtual employees no longer need work from 9-to-5 or physically be in the office to be able to collaborate as a team. The cloud has enabled collaboration that could not have existed in the past, and cloud video collaboration and the personal connectedness it provides is a huge part of what’s allowing the above business trends to continue to evolve and grow.
Here are some benefits and advantages of video collaboration you should consider exploring, if you haven’t already:
Small and medium sized companies that do not have large IT budgets can now access video conferencing in the cloud, in a safe, easy, and affordable way. Off-site employees are now able to use video collaboration—as it becomes an increasingly integrated part of business life—from anywhere at any time, even on mobile. In fact, many of today’s video teleconferencing solutions are available as mobile apps capable of running on devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Cloud conferencing does not mean that you sacrifice the quality and human touch of a face-to-face meeting. You’re still going to be getting the real time video sharing, the seamless collaboration of traditional video conferencing (minus the costs), and HD quality audio and video. One great feature of cloud conferencing is the ability to organize and schedule your conferences in one place with sleek, user friendly invitations.
The Power of Face-to-Face
Face-to-face contact gives businesses an advantage that traditional email, web, and phone interactions cannot provide. This is critical when growing and handling your business. But it’s not always possible to be physically in front of the customer or employee needed to get the job done, or to set up a meeting to help satisfy a client’s questions and assess their needs.
Imagine this B2B scenario: An executive is out of state and meets a possible new manufacturer for a product your company is launching next year. In keeping with the BYOD trend (Bring Your Own Device), he whips out his tablet and can speak with collaborators on the spot, in the process negotiating a better price point. Even just a few years ago, this type of “hybrid meeting” couldn’t have occurred (or, it might have happened over the less personal telephone). But with video, you are able to meet and greet on the spot, and potentially sign that deal, saving your company millions.
When using cloud-based video service you can scale the services that you need to the size of your business, and scale as you grow (or perhaps even downsize). You can also focus on the features that your company is most likely to use, saving on the cost of buying intricate hardware systems that might not be fully utilized.
Aside from lowering costs, this customization helps grow your business relationships as you have the right systems in place to deal with any issues. It also helps you to grow your teams, as they will only be working with, and spending time learning, systems they may never use.
Show me the raw data. Show me the numbers. Show me you are a real person capable of taking care of my needs. “Show me” is the key term here. With the face-to-face component added via video, your company can show your collaborators that your employees are current, ready to work, and there to build upon the information they are getting from more traditional media.
Collaboration requires partners that have the tools to work at any time and cloud video helps you achieve this. You can also, on some systems, share content and collaborate on documents during your video conference.
Cloud providers really have thought of everything. Encryption and other security measures will keep your conferences secure, with limited interruptions.
The smaller business obtains leverage when using video in the cloud because they can scale to their size and still show their up-to-date capabilities and top-notch customer service. Video-ready conference rooms no longer have to depend solely on their onsite IT support because cloud providers are familiar with the equipment and the software so can provide the assistance needed to allow your business’ focus to remain on taking advantage of all of the benefits video conferencing has to offer.
StarLeaf provides cloud video conferencing and calling services and, unlike other service providers, also offers everything you need for the meeting room, desktop and mobile worker. Just come and check us out, you’ll be surprised at just how easy and affordable we’ve made professional video conferencing.
What’s so different about StarLeaf video conferencing and calling and why should you care?
1. It just works
Imagine buying a mobile phone and then having to have the IT guy come and make it work for you. Then every time you want to make a call, it’s so complicated that you have to ask the IT guy back! It sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? But this is the pain that many go through when installing and using video conferencing equipment. Whereas, a StarLeaf system is just like your mobile phone: you take it out of the box, plug it into the network and watch it sync as our Cloud takes care of everything else. And once you’ve done this, you don’t need to be given any instruction on how to use it, because it works just like your smartphone–it really is as simple as that.
2. See anyone on video – no costly network infrastructure
Aren’t all video conferencing systems designed to allow you to meet anyone else on video? Well yes, and no. The industry bangs on about interoperability, but the way that they make this happen carries a huge cost for the end user. To connect to people that use different manufacturers’ systems requires either a number of complex and costly network infrastructure products, such as gateways, call managers, and MCUs, or some sort of bridging VMR (virtual meeting room) service or both! Either way, you and your associates will all dial-in to a destination. What you don’t get is an easy way to just call out to someone, on or off your network, without scheduling or worrying about what you are calling rather than whom.
As we are 100% Cloud, there is no need for costly infrastructure, instead you get everything you need delivered as a comprehensive service. For scheduled and meet-me video conferencing, we ensure that anyone can join you in your VMR, using any equipment such as Microsoft Lync, Cisco, Polycom etc. Plus, you can make point-to-point calls, again to anyone on any system, and, while you’re on a call, you can immediately bring other people in to join your conversation.
And finally on the subject of interoperability, with StarLeaf you can extend the reach of video conferencing and calling to business partners through our Guest Invite feature, which offers free use of StarLeaf Breeze software and clear dial-in instructions for users of other equipment and software.
3. Cloud plus video endpoints – the best of both worlds
There is an increasing number of cloud video conferencing services out there, but there are many variables that need to be taken into account. Top of mind has to be security and resiliency, alongside a rich feature set for both video conferencing and calling.
As an owner and operator of a global network, which has been built from the ground up, we are unique because we do not rely upon any other third party equipment. This is really important since, unlike other cloud providers, we are in total control of our own destiny. We have the ability to respond to market needs and to introduce technological advancements, all without waiting for or depending upon a third party. We also stand apart from other video conferencing and calling service providers because we have a full range of video conferencing hardware systems for rooms and desktops and a software client for Windows, Mac and tablets. These endpoints all offer a common user interface and a mind-blowing set of features that make collaboration with anyone a seamless experience.
4. Price performance with unrestricted use and scale
Specifying a video conferencing deployment and budgeting for one is a dark art, especially if you are looking to go beyond meeting rooms and want to give everyone the ability to collaborate, make video calls, and hold their own conferences from their desktop, home or while travelling. Clearly, scaling a deployment into the hands of the workforce means a software client. So how many licenses should you buy and how much use will there be? It is daunting, particularly when there are so many variables that may include per user licensing and per minute charges.
A StarLeaf customer is not subjected to this minefield. Price performance is another area that we have addressed by allowing all of our customers to distribute StarLeaf Breeze software to everyone in their organization, without incurring any additional costs. Each Breeze user can make unlimited point-to-point calls, hold ad hoc multiparty meetings and even schedule conferences – without restriction. In addition, all users have the capability to use the Guest Invite feature, which means that they can reach anyone without worrying about additional costs.
5. Management that requires no specialist skills
Unfortunately, most video deployments require specialist skills to keep them running effectively. Not only are these skills in short supply, but they are also very expensive to acquire. However, there is simply no need for any dedicated specialist skills with StarLeaf, we handle things in a much more efficient and cost-effective way!
At the heart of the StarLeaf Cloud is a management portal that provides administrators with complete control over their organization’s video conferencing deployment. From this one dashboard, there is the ability to provision and manage all video endpoints, rooms and users, including all adds, moves and changes. It is the one place that allows admins to control the distribution of the StarLeaf Breeze software client to any or all users. There is also the facility for the management and registration of existing third-party video endpoints, alongside any StarLeaf hardware endpoints. It also offers a wealth of monitoring and reporting capabilities.
6. Ongoing investment protection
We all know that as soon as you buy any technology, like a laptop, or indeed a smartphone, it isn’t long before it is superseded by the next generation. Well, it’s no surprise that this also happens in the world of hardware video conferencing systems. Yes, you receive upgrades to compensate, but in the traditional world these upgrades come at a cost. They are only delivered as part of an ongoing maintenance contract and they require internal IT teams to manually install new upgrades as they become available.
All StarLeaf video endpoints that are connected to our Cloud will be automatically upgraded when new features and functionality become available. There is no manual intervention or huge maintenance costs, it is all part of the Connection License. In this way, it is plain to see that investment in a StarLeaf solution is protected.
How to reach anyone on video with StarLeaf Guest Invite
Did you know that your StarLeaf system can call and be called by any other professional video system, like Microsoft Lync, Cisco, Polycom, Lifesize, and so on? This level of interoperability is at the heart of everything we do.
However, in true StarLeaf style, we go further than any other provider by allowing you to easily reach anyone, whether they have a video endpoint or not. This is where the StarLeaf Guest Invite feature comes into its own – it is the easiest way for you to reach out to colleagues, business associates, family and friends.
Guest invites come at no extra cost to you or your organization, they are unlimited, so you can see and collaborate with as many people as you like.
Here’s how it works:
On the StarLeaf touchscreen and Breeze software there is an ‘invite’ button. Press or click this and you are asked for the email address of the person you want to meet on video. A personal invitation is immediately sent in your name to your guest.
Your personal invitation provides clear instructions and offers StarLeaf Breeze for free – this is really useful if the person you wish to meet doesn’t have access to any professional video software or equipment. However, if they do, and they want to use existing equipment, your invitation also includes clear dialing instructions.
Of course, your invitees can also call anyone else who uses StarLeaf so you can keep everyone you know connected, for free, whether they are inside your organization or just family and friends that you want to stay in touch with. Once your invitee has followed the simple download instructions, you’ll automatically be added to each other’s personal contacts and your guests will have an instant speed dial to get in touch with you.
Your invitees will not be added to your company directory and, for privacy and security, individual email addresses are not visible in your administrator’s portal.
All of your calls to guests benefit from our end-to-end encryption, which means that you never have to worry about privacy.
StarLeaf is easy-to-use and requires no expert technical knowledge to get started, so you can talk to anyone you like at anytime and enjoy crystal clear video and audio wherever you are.