Hacking video conferencing systems, it pays to be paranoid

A “security researcher” has released a blog post on how to gain “root” access, or full control, of a LifeSize video conferencing system over the Internet.

The hack didn’t rely on using default passwords – they compromised the password by forcing a password change by manipulating the traffic to the video conferencing system. While I haven’t validated the hack, the detail provided in the blog makes the hack look legitimate (as a result, I’ve chosen not to link to the blog post). Read more

Moving virtual machines to Azure from on-premise using Hyper-V

This is another post capturing my learning while building a test lab in Microsoft Azure.

In this post I capture my experience moving virtual machines to Azure from on-premise.

Azure provides ready made reference virtual machines as shown below using the Classic portal. Read more

Microsoft Azure – the case of two portals, Classic and ARM

I’m in the process of building a test lab in Azure and this is one of a series of posts capturing my learnings.

Microsoft provides two portals to manage the Azure environment. The original, or “Classic” portal, and the more recent “Azure Resource Manager” or ARM, portal. The ARM portal was made generally available in December 2015.

The differences between the two models are described here, and most importantly, it is not a difference in just a portal interface, it is a difference in the way virtual machine resources are deployed and operate. Read more

How to assign Static IP to Azure VM

I’ve been building a test lab using Microsoft Azure Infrastructure as a Service platform.

Perhaps the first thing to understand is that Azure provides DHCP services, and you cannot swap that for your own DHCP server in Azure. As such, all your virtual machines need to be configured to get their IP address dynamically, rather than set with a static IP.

In some situations, you need to have a static IP address. For example on a Domain Controller. In this case you set Azure to always allocate the same IP address to your virtual machines. If you do not do this, Azure will allocate a new address each time the virtual machine is started, which may or may not be the same address used when the machine was last on. Read more

Will Sabre triumph where others have failed, and convert your travel bookings to video conference bookings?

I was recently reminded of an approach of converting travel bookings into video conferencing bookings. The approach works when you have a travel booking service that will make users aware of video conferencing as an alternative to travel. Better still, the approach involves the travel booking service having visibility of video conference room availability, and then proceeding to reserve the facilities for the user. By catching users who are about to spend travel money, right at the time of their spend decision, the opportunity for savings is huge. Well that is the idea.

Demand-management-tools Read more

Presenting “weather style” over video conferencing, very effective

I recently experienced an immersive video conference where a participant was superimposed over the content they were presenting. The effect was identical to the weather forecast presented on TV. Just like on TV, it resulted in a very powerful method of communicating static visual information. While I have been aware of the ability to do this via video conferencing for sometime, it is the first time I experienced the effect, and I have to say it was brilliant.


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The new Prysm Videowall for video conferencing is a compromise

Prysm recently extended the technology it uses to provide awesome video walls to provide a room solution for video conferencing. The resultant Collaboration Videowall Solution looks impressive, but it completely breaks the eye-to-eye contact essential to creating an immersive telepresence experience. For this reason, I recon the solution is a compromise, but I hope a future release will successfully meld awesome video walls with all the components of an immersive telepresence solution.


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Video conferencing end user experience

Components of the video conferencing user experienceI recently had to review the end user experience, and suggest recommendations, for the video conferencing service within a global business.

As with any review, I needed a baseline definition of what I was measuring.

It struck me that while I often read announcements about how new video conferencing products and services improve the end user experience, I haven’t actually seen a definition of what “user experience” is. I’ve seen lots of “easier to use”, “connects with other vendors”, “available on mobile”, but not a single definition.

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Improve your video conferencing ROI by surveying users and analysing performance indicators


Surveying your users, existing or potential, and analysing performance indicators, is an effective method for increasing the Return on Investment (ROI) of your organisations video conferencing service. This post describes the benefits of this approach, together with example performance indicators, that you can apply in your own organisation. Read more

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