Tuesday, June 10th, 2014 .

appslogohd

We are excited to announce that we are one of the first Google Apps Premier Technology Partners. This builds upon our existing integrations with document sharing in Google Drive, integrating video conferencing through Google Hangouts, and in-browser calls through Google Chrome. The program will offer our team additional product, technical, marketing, sales, program, relationship, and support benefits to bring UberConference to more people.

 

Our team is excited to build even more integrated solutions with Google Apps services. Our customer base has been integral in utilizing the tools we have built to work seamlessly with Google Apps. The Weather Company uses our Google Drive integration daily. Ferrazzi Greenlight saves 15 minutes every meeting by driving more productive calls through Google Hangouts. The Chrome and Gmail integrations make it easy for AdRoll advertisers to click on any email or phone number and initiate a conference call.
We are looking forward to offering new product features in the Google Apps Marketplace and continuing to work with Google to bring richer solutions to more users everywhere.

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013 .

So, what is Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC), anyway? The idea isn’t new but people who use voice and video conferencing are beginning to hear it every day. At UberConference we use it to make it easy to join conference calls over the Internet from anywhere.

WebRTC allows real-time voice, video, and data to stream between two people using a web browser. There’s no need for plugins or third-party software, only the latest Chrome or Firefox.

image

Until recently, web browsers were where you did pretty much everything except conferencing – web surfing, email, watching videos. However, the biggest disadvantage of the web browser was that it was lousy at two-way voice and video calls.

That kind of real-time communication had been challenging for companies for many years because the voice and video compression-decompression algorithms (called codecs) were really expensive. Only a few companies owned them, and they charged pricey licensing fees. In addition, browsers could only request data or send it upon request, not send and receive it in real time, as video chat requires.

To understand this, consider that browsers have been evolving ever since their creation to allow us to do more and more on the web. Plugins were introduced in the mid-late ’90s, which allowed developers to play videos with flash, facilitating a move toward the beginning of video communication. Then, in 2004, the browser language HTML5 developed the <audio> and <video> tags to allow this multimedia content to live in your browser without the need of a plugin. However, real time communication (RTC) remained a challenge because browsers lacked a method to send and receive data in real time, and often the stumbling block were the expensive codecs used to interpret the media communications between users.

For WebRTC to be truly effective, everyone needed access to the high quality codecs. In 2010 Google took on the challenge and purchased two companies: GIPS and On2. This turned the VoIP market on its head.

Here’s why: GIPS was a leading provider of VoIP codecs, On2 had a video codec that rivaled the H.26 standard. And Google open sourced them both, giving the RTC industry a giant push forward.

To solve the media transmission problem, the WebRTC collation created a set of open protocols for browsers to expose to developers. As browsers adopt this standard and implement them, developers can quickly write RTC applications with a few lines of JavaScript code.

That’s why WebRTC has been a big deal for UberConference and for all Internet users. It lets them conference in real-time without having to mess around with applications or phones or leave their web browser.

This is a huge benefit for emerging companies, who, ten years ago, would have paid significantly higher costs for  hardware and services to set everything up. They can now build their companies with a much lighter – and cheaper- footprint. Now that’s something to call your CEO about.

Friday, May 2nd, 2014 .

(INT. BEVERLY HILLS LAW OFFICE CONFERENCE ROOM – DAY)

An ATTORNEY sits alone in an immense conference room of a law office in front of computer. On the screen is an UberConference call and the faces of FOUR PEOPLE on the screen: GARY, BECKY, VERNON, and ANTOINE.

ATTORNEY

Okay, everyone, welcome to the official sale of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball club. As you will recall, this is an open auction with no minimum.

BECKY

Excuse me?

ATTORNEY

Yes, Becky?

BECKY

“Basketball club?” What is that about?

ATTORNEY

Our firm has been hired to conduct an auction of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball club. What is your question?

BECKY

Oh. I see. Because I thought this was for a pair of hedge clippers. I saw this ad on Craigslist and they said I should call this number. Did I dial the wrong number?

ATTORNEY

No. You dialed correctly. This is the number we had in the Craigslist ad. Would you like participate in the auction?

BECKY

Well, I was really just looking for something to trim my hedges…

ATTORNEY

I’d be willing to throw in a nice set of hedge clippers myself if you win the bidding.

BECKY

But I don’t know if I really want a basketball team…

VERNON

(interrupting)

Can we get this started? I have to leave for work pretty soon.

Attorney clicks on Vernon’s image on the UberConference screen and goes to his Facebook page. We see a burly and jovial-looking guy in a security guard uniform.

ATTORNEY

We’ll start right now, Vernon. How’s the warehouse you’ve been guarding?

VERNON

Fine. So, uh, listen, here’s my bid. I happen to have a pallet of video games I’m willing to trade for the Clippers.

We HEAR loud movie sounds on the call.

VERNON

What is that?!

ATTORNEY

It’s coming from Gary.  Gary?

GARY

Yeah.

ATTORNEY

What is that noise?

GARY

I’m watching “Space Jam.”

ATTORNEY

Can you turn it off, please?

GARY

No, this is the good part.

VERNON

There is no good part in “Space Jam.”

ATTORNEY

Gary, I’m going to mute you for now.

Attorney mutes Gary on the conference call.

ATTORNEY

So, Vernon, you are offering a pallet of video games in exchange for the Los Angeles Clippers.

VERNON

Yup.  Classics from the 1990s.  In the original packaging.

ATTORNEY

Any estimate on the value?

VERNON

Fifty.  Maybe sixty bucks.  Solid.

ATTORNEY

Okay, let’s see what Gary has to offer.

Attorney unmutes Gary and the movie is blasting away. He quickly mutes Gary again.

ATTORNEY

Let’s get back to Gary. Antoine, what are you offering?

ANTOINE

A deadly ten foot jump shot. Deadly.

ATTORNEY

Okay.  Ummm.  Why would we want that?

ANTOINE

Well, uh, who doesn’t want a guy with a deadly accurate ten-foot jump shot?

ATTORNEY

You want to play for the Clippers?

ANTOINE

Of course.  I’ve been working out for the past three weeks.  I broke a guy’s ankle the other day doing a crossover.

ATTORNEY

You did?

ANTOINE

Well, I broke his ankle after I tried to do a crossover and tripped and fell on his ankle. But you get the point.

ATTORNEY

The thing of it is, Antoine, the Clippers don’t really have a basketball team anymore.  The owner refused to sell so the league shut the club down.

ANTOINE

Oh.  I guess I missed that.  Well, then I’m gonna pass.

ATTORNEY

Fair enough.  Let me check on Gary again.

He unmutes Gary and the movie is still blasting away.

GARY

(to himself)

Marvin the Martian.

Attorney hangs up on Gary.

VERNON

That pallet of video games is starting look pretty good right now, isn’t it?

(Attorney sighs.)

ATTORNEY

Do you have any copies of Super Mario World?

VERNON

One hundred and sixty three copies.  Never been used.

ATTORNEY

Sold!

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 .

This blog is contributed content from the Switch.co blog.

In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. Fast forward to 2014, rotary phones have been replaced by dialpads, and connections are made without switchboards, but the phone on your desk has remained essentially unchanged. It’s clunky, it requires a user manual, and it doesn’t fit well with the the way you work best.

That’s why we made Switch.co. Created for today’s mobile workforce, and built specifically for Google Apps users, Switch.co is a cloud-based, business-grade phone system best suited for the anywhere work stye. It connects people, ideas and content across all of your devices. We’ve simplified the desk phone experience by integrating with Google Apps to pull up your latest Gmail messages and Drive documents, and letting you do things like switch between devices mid-conversation and set business hours for when you want them. Take a look at our other thoughtful features.

static.squarespace-4

When a bunch of us founded GrandCentral in 2005, the plan was to bring robust features to the end user. With the business user also in mind, we started to think about all the ways the web could make office phones that much more powerful.

Nine years have passed since that original idea, and we’ve seen a lot of innovation in business tools and services — but for some reason the antiquated desk phone has remained at the center of the enterprise voice world.

It sits there, on your desk, collecting dust and is used only when you absolutely have to use it. Even then, it’s hard for you to figure out how to transfer a call successfully or get rid of the red blinking voicemail light. Or, if you’re a startup like us, you don’t have a desk phone at all. It’s much easier for everyone to operate on their own mobile devices than be tied to their desks. But that’s not a real solution. We need a number for our business, we need to easily communicate with each other seamlessly, and all of us using our personal phones just doesn’t cut it. Why does it have to be this way?

Think about how complex email used to be for your business. You used to be forced to delete your emails after a few weeks to keep the storage from getting “too large.” Google fixed that by putting email in the cloud with Google Apps. Salesforce made our lives easier by making CRM simple and available to even the smallest businesses, and Zendesk continued this with customer support. The list goes on and on, but for some reason awesome, end-user focused enterprise telephony has been left untouched.

Believing that a phone call is still the highest quality form of communication, we saw an opportunity to make a business phone system as easy to deploy and manage as setting your company up with Gmail.

In 2012, we launched UberConference to tackle some of the obvious problems with audio conferencing. Just two years later, it’s supporting nearly a billion minutes a year with customers from The Weather Company, to Blue Bottle Coffee, to Dropbox using it every day.

Thanks to UberConference, our telephony infrastructure has now been tried and tested, and we’ve proven our ability to innovate and delight with enterprise communications. We’re now ready to bring Switch.co to life. Switch.co is a phone system for the modern worker, who is more likely to be taking a business call on his cell phone while at Starbucks than he would from the phone on his desk at work, and today, it’s launching to Google Apps users in private beta. You can sign up to get on the list here.

And to prove how much we believe in our own product, our CEO, VP Product, and many other team members ported their long time Google Voice numbers over to Switch.co a long time ago. We’re taking our business phones where they haven’t been before, right alongside our beta testers. With the help of your feedback, we’ll continue to work hard to make Switch.co better than anything you’ve seen before out of a business phone system.

We can’t wait to hear what you have to say!

The Switch.co team

 

Follow @switch_co on Twitter for updates.