Archive for December, 2017

Virtual Conferences: Which technology is the cheaper between Cloud-based Solutions and On-Premise Server based Solutions?

December 16th, 2017

Despite the common opinion, on-premise server-based technologies for virtual conferencing can be less expensive than cloud-based technologies, on the condition to choose the right product

Moving to the cloud has been the mantra of the world of virtual conferences in the last few years. Among the reasons given, we found that the prices of cloud-based virtual conferencing services are supposedly lower than the old, poor technology of on-premise servers, and, last but not least, cloud solutions are more scalable.

Is this assumption true? Not at all. Despite the cloud revolution, the producers of on-premise server-based technologies for virtual conferences are safe and sound and still on the market with innovative products that are able to outperform the cloud right now, like, just to mention one, the latest release of R-HUB`s TurboMeeting (http://www.rhubcom.com) : in the domain of real collaboration, these servers have reached the shortest  frame delays possible today in live streaming ( 3- 10 seconds). This is evidence of the vitality of the technology of on-premise servers, despite the ones that keep on announcing that the bells tolls for them.

Going deeper, clouds are not as cheap as they are usually reported in the leaflets and the advertisements. According to some experts (Brianinca, https://community.spiceworks.com/topic/1413438-how-is-cloud-promoted-as-being-cheaper-than-on-premise?page=1#entry-5451300  ), the cost of them is higher in the long run.

And, even though the price of each individual cloud service may seem low, the sum of the costs of all the cloud services that your organization has to buy could be very high in the end. If it is true that clouds are easily scalable, it is also true that it comes with risks of downtime and sudden high traffic peaks that can cost you an arm and a leg.

If you hope to save money on the IT team, you are going to be disappointed: the highly complex nature of cloud products often requires paying high fees to specialized technicians. Last, clouds have their hidden costs, should they be the need of specific hardware or redundant ISP connections.

On the side of on-premise servers, producers have been able to greatly improve their products, at the point that a solution like TurboMeeting has probably no hidden costs and can be managed in total transparency, so that mangers know what they have to exactly spend for their virtual conferences. This outstanding result has been achieved by eliminating the need of maintenance and a devoted IT team. In facts, R-HUB`s servers are self-installing and self-updating machines, and their maintenance is performed by R-HUB team remotely.

In other words, they are devices fully plug-and-play, and their stupidly- easy and intuitive graphic interface that is supported by clear, step-by-step directions on both video and paper makes staff training superfluous. TurboMeeting is so easy that users could even learn to use it just one minute before their conference.

In conclusion, the race between clouds and on-premise servers is still wide open, and we may expect other surprises from the on-premise server technology in the future.

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8 Best Practices to avoid the most common Video Conferencing Issues

December 12th, 2017

Video conferencing is a useful tool that really adds value to your daily activities; unfortunately, it can also turn into a real nightmare when some few best practices are not respected.

Today, it is difficult to meet someone that does not know video conferences or has no experience in communication through this popular medium. Unfortunately, it is also very common to meet users that complain about the so-many video-conferencing issues. Therefore, if you plan to host a video call, you’d better be aware of the main problems connected with the use of this technology and know the relative countermeasures and better practices to prevent/fix them:

Avoid background noise. Please avoid that your guests have to hear your dog’s barfs and your babies’ cries during your video conferences. Remember that background noises not only impede communication, but they also give a very poor impression of you on your virtual guests.

Mute yourself (and your guests) when necessary. Many times we have to perform secondary tasks while sitting in a video call, for example to answer the phone or sending some messages. Unluckily, these activities create some noise and distract participants; fortunately, every video conferencing tool has a specific function to mute yourself and your guests. You do use it.

Avoid spotty connections. Getting disconnected from a video conferencing is one of the worst experiences you can have. For this reason, it is important to check the quality of one’s own connection and ask participants to do the same.

Prevent any static and interferences. While it is true that technology has its limit, it is also true that simply muting one’s phone until the moment to speak comes along is generally enough to avoid this annoying problem.

Introduce yourself before speaking and ask every guest to do the same. Especially when there are many participants, it is easy to forget the names of some of them, even though the names are labelled under the icon of each individual participant. Therefore, asking everyone to in introduce oneself to each other is always a great idea, because your guests remember better the names of the others in this way.

Mute echo central. What is that? Nothing else than an unexplainable echo during a video call that can be very irritating. When it happens, you need to ask participants to redial in.

If you are interested in video conferencing best practices, you are going to find many useful posts and articles on R-Hub`s blog at http://www.rhubcom.com. It is also possible to experience a 30 days free trial of R-HUB TurboMeeting, a special suite of servers for video conferencing.

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Why People Hate Video Conferencing (and how to solve this problem)?

December 10th, 2017

Three main reasons why many users dislike video conferencing and there are three easy and quick tips to efficiently address the problem

Being widespread does not mean being loved, and video conferencing does not make exception.Although in the past almost everybody found the idea of communicating through screens cool, it seems that the enthusiasm is slowly going down today, now that the technology for video-conferencing has become real and within everybody’s reach.

What happened so badly? According to a survey conducted by the Blog High-five, there are at least three reasons behind many users’ aversion to this medium of communication:

1.) Appearance concerns

According to a survey of Zogby Analytics, over 59% of people in the US are very concerned with their appearance when staying in public, and a video conference is anything else than a virtual public space.  The most common hang-ups regard their hair-cut, facial expressions, double chins and bags under the eyes, being fat. Unfortunately, the cam can highlight these small defects.  To tell it in other words, you could be not very photogenic.

The solution? More education and training to utilize lights and cams properly. In facts, many problems can be effectively addressed simply by tuning up the lights in your room and setting the cam at the right tilt and height. Consider that a camcorder can also disguise physical defects and make you appear  better on cam than on the street.  It is much about how you utilize this device.

2.) Technical difficulties

Many users still have some concerns about their ability to utilize video-conferencing products. No matter how much money has been invested in UX design, functionality improvements and technological development in the last few years; the fear that something goes wrong is still strong among the majority of users. It must be said that 40% of meetings have technical issues, with frequent calls to the customer support and a lot of time being lost in frustrating attempts to fix several technical problems.  So, these concerns are well-founded.

The solution is simple: use reliable video conferencing solutions with highly ergonomic user interfaces, like, for example, the suite of video conferencing servers TurboMeeting of R-HUB (http://www.rhubcom.com).  Affordable, easy to maintain and very secure, R-HUB`s servers have an intuitive visual interface that has recently been improved. The guidelines and directions are easy to find and follow, so that it is possible to learn how to use the product in only a couple of minutes.

3.) It is impossible to see or hear, or being seen or heard

This issue is more common than the reader could expect. For some reasons, it frequently happens that it is not possible to see or hear during a video call. Abruptly, the signal disappears.

The issue can be caused by several reasons, like poor bandwidth, bad connections, noise in the background, lack of memory of your pc, and so on.

The solution is to check the system before your video conference starts and not before. Assure yourself to match the necessary requirements in terms of network, connections and power, such as they are stated in the technical documentation of the manufacturer, and that your equipment is running. Last, don’t forget to prevent background noise by switching off radio/TV, or asking your colleagues to keep away during your video call.

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Video Conferences: How to ensure a Good level of Privacy

December 2nd, 2017

When you start to receive strange emails and notifications from people you do not know, it means that the security of your online meetings is at risk. Let’s see what to do to prevent or address privacy issues during video-conferencing

Data leaking during video conferences is much more frequent than you might expect. Unfortunately, this technology has several flaws that can be utilized by hackers to steal data, from poor or lack of encryption in data transmission over the internet to vulnerabilities connected to CODEC downloading / upgrading and human mistakes (for example, let someone know your password or spy you while inserting your password to log in).

Therefore, it is always important to take care of the security of your meetings.  Here comes the list of the main points to remember before conferencing in.

  • Never disclose your personal information during a meeting

Revealing personal information (like email addresses, phone number, bank accounts, etc) during a meeting could be risky, even if you know the participants. You should always avoid disclosing sensitive information during a call.

  • Check if they are going to record the meeting

It happens quite often that the organizers record the video conferences for several purposes.  If you wish to avoid that your face is going to be shown on YouTube or in other public places, choose video-conferencing tools that allow you to disable recordings.

  • Close all windows before sharing your desktop

The easiest way to hand out your sensitive data to the world is simply to forget some file open on the screen before sharing your desktop to your guests. It is thus vital to close every program, window or pop-up before this risky operation.

  • Beware of data transmission

When data are transmitted through the internet, they are accessible to everyone. Therefore, it is important to utilize solutions that ensure a good data encryption, or, better, to avoid sharing very sensitive documents during your conferences, like, for example, designs of new products or other industrial secrets.

  • Opt for a close-door policy

Ban the access to your company video conferencing software to everybody. Only the attendees to a conference should have access to this software and only for the time that is strictly necessary to attend the conference. It is not a bad idea to reset each password after every meeting and to centralize the process of password creation to someone who is held responsible for it.

Are you interested or concerned about the problems connected with data security and video-conferencing? You are going to find more resources and many interesting posts on this matter on R-HUB`s blog at http://www.rhubcom.com

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The Five Basilar Best practices to include in any policy for Safe Video Conferencing

December 1st, 2017

The massive adoption of video conferencing by almost all global organizations in the last few years creates several potential issues in terms of data security. This is the reason why it is important to work out an effective corporate policy for safe video conferences which every member of your organization has to conform with. Let’s have a look at five fundamental best practices that must be always respected in order to prevent data leaks

The more a technology spreads, the higher the possibilities of incidents connected with this technology. Video conferencing does not make exception.  According to a recent survey of Brother International, 60% of organizations exchange critical data during their virtual conferences, of which 50% are financial data and 25% trade secrets. This is bad enough to take the topic of data safety very seriously.

So, what do you need to do in order to ensure a good level of data protection during your conferences? There are five best practices that every organization should adopt:

1 – Use encrypted protocols and software

Encryption protects your data during the transit through the web. Today, almost all providers of video-conferencing solutions utilize encrypted protocols and software; however, you’d better check this important detail before utilizing video conferencing software, and not after.

2- Opt for on-premise server based solutions

Encryption alone is not enough to assure you a good data protection, as data could be stolen at either end of the conference.  Another common issue is that video-conferencing protocols must be allowed through firewalls, which creates potential vulnerabilities. On-premise server based solutions help to solve this second issue, as they are deployed beyond your firewall or the router, so that it is not necessary to open new ports. R-HUB`s TurboMeeting (http://www.rhubcom.com), for example, offers the possibility to reject anybody who tries to access your conference from outside your firewall, besides a strong SSL and proprietary encryption.

3- Create strong passwords

Technology is not enough to be safe, as in many cases data leaks are the consequence of human mistakes. A classical mistake of many workers is to utilize weak passwords, like Johnny1967, as they are easier to remember. A good idea is thus to centralize the process of creation of password, so that there is only one person responsible that handles them out and take cares to work out stronger and stronger passwords that are to be changed periodically.

4 – Create a devoted room for video-conferencing

Passwords are often stolen simply by overlooking someone while inserting his password at the beginning of a video conference.  A good practice is then to utilize a devoted room for video conferencing to which nobody has access and where participants are placed in a way they cannot overhead or overlook each other. In that way, also your equipment is more secure.

5- Switch off any non-necessary device or tool

It is important to disable any device or tool that is not necessary for your conference, like remote camera control, codec auto-updating / downloading, file sharing, as they are often exploited by hacker to break your systems. For similar reasons, it is also important to log off every time when a session or a conference has ended.

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