Friday, March 7th, 2014 .

There you are, stuck with booth duty.  You were the last hire in the Marketing and Communications Department for your startup so you get stuck with booth duty for all three days of the trade show, for all eight hours the convention center is open.

Okay, that’s gonna suck, but on balance things are going pretty well with the company: they’ve got actual revenues, the CEO doesn’t come back to the office from board meetings with the investors looking like someone just ran over his cat, there’s a ping-pong table and free beers in the employee lounge area.  Best of all, you’ve paid rent on time six months in a row.

And then this guy shows up — the Swag Hog.  He’s got a couple of complimentary grocery size bags he snagged at other booths, and they are stuffed with knick knacks and branded office supplies from booths all around the convention center.   And he’s got a major haul going on in those bags.  Free stuff from all over the trade show: pens, note pads, key chains, USB flash drives, bottle openers, coffee mugs, cell phone covers, stress balls, breath mints, cheesy sunglasses, aluminum water bottles, Post-It Notes, and, of course, more shopping bags he can use to grab more stuff.  Some booths even give away popcorn because the smell draws people to their booth.

First of all, what is swag?  Originally, swag meant a bouquet of flowers, and then later came to mean the loot stolen by a thief or a burglar.  Then it came to mean the bundle of items hobos carried with them in Australia.  Then swag (and the bag that carried these items — the swag bag) became part of the lexicon of Hollywood to describe the bag of goodies that Oscar nominees received as part of the honor of being nominated.

And here’s what separate the Trade Show Swag Hog from the ordinary trade show attendee.

1. They have way too much free stuff in their bags. In fact, they have two or three bags full of free stuff.  And the free stuff they have is from EVERY SINGLE BOOTH at the show.  Seriously, dude?  You’ve visited every single booth and taken something free from them?  Try to be at least a little selective.

2. They have a lot of pens, notepads, and other office supplies. The bags of popcorn, the fancy brochures, the water bottles: only a few of those.  But actual office supplies: tons of them. My theory? These guys work for underfunded startups and the main reason they are at the trade show is not to develop sales leads or network with colleagues or showcase a new product.  No, the main reason these guys are here is to restock the office supply cabinet for free.

3. They make the fake return visit. The Swag Hog shows up at your booth, pretends to listen to your pitch, acts interested and says he’s going to get a colleague, and takes one of your free pens and a free Post-It-Note pad with your company name on it.  He moves onto the next booth and does the same to them, then looks back at your booth.  “Oh, you’re talking to another customer?”  Time for the fake return visit.  They swoop back and pretend to look at your display, then casually grab a handful of your free pens and take off.

Here’s my proposed solution: make the swag at your booth free flowers (the original definition.)  There you go, sir, you can say: “Take this home to your wife or girlfriend.  If you have one.”  They will leave and never come back.  And not to worry.  The Swag Hog wasn’t going to be a paying customer anyway.

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 .

computer

We’re huge fans of WebRTC at Switch Communications–it’s used in both of our products.  One reason we love it (among many) is for the high-quality audio it provides for our customers. Using the Opus codec to transmit sound, and in our case — voice, over the Internet, WebRTC gives both Switch.co and UberConference crystal clear audio with very little delay.

In the spirit of the WebRTC Conference happening in San Jose this week, today’s post will cover what the Opus codec actually is and why we’re excited to be able to use it in our web communication products.

 

What is the Opus codec?

A codec is what translates sounds into digital data and carries it across the network to make voice over IP work. The Opus codec, in particular, is a totally open, free, and versatile audio codec, designed for speech and music transmission over the Internet. Compared to other codecs out there, Opus has the ability to adapt to available bandwidth for highest possible quality audio with low delay. Developers can use it under liberal, royalty-free licenses, making it accessible at little to no cost and easy to implement into other internet applications.

 

What Opus does for Switch.co and UberConference

When building Switch.co and UberConference, our priority was to improve the current state of business phone calls and create the best possible experience for our users. Part of this meant implementing WebRTC into our products for rich sound and high-quality calls through the browser. Opus gives us the opportunity to communicate over the Internet in real-time with superior quality, regardless of the type of network link our customers are using. We no longer need to know whether the customer’s network will support wideband audio or only narrow band. The Opus codec will determine the optimal bandwidth and fidelity settings based on the network path and continually adjust in real time. This flexibility makes it easy for us to still have high-quality business calls away from our desk and on our personal devices.
Going to the WebRTC Conference and Expo this week? Check out our CEO Craig Walker’s keynote on how WebRTC opens doors for new capabilities and offers on Thursday at 10am.

Monday, October 29th, 2012 .

New feature for UberConference Pro users! Now you can set up aconference call and not even be on the call. It’s great for times when the boss is running late or when the organizer may not be in the meeting.  We call this new feature “Start Without Me”.

Here’s how:
1. Click the “New Conference” button in the upper right corner of your “My Conferences” page.

2. You’ll see the new feature “Start Without Me” in the scheduling screen pop-up.  Simply click the check-mark area next to the feature to ensure others can join the conference before you get there.

3. Click on the “Create Conference” button. Now others can join your conference with or without you.

This feature is only available to Pro users. Sign up for your pro account and use this feature now.

Got features ideas? Let us know by following us on Twitter and then tweeting us what you want:

Friday, March 15th, 2013 .

UberConference is about simplicity. So when you invite someone to a conference call, we make sure they get notified either by email or by text. Although this works great for the vast majority of your contacts, there are a few technology lovers out there with more than one or two phone numbers (our very own Craig Walker comes to mind :-). In such cases, you may not want them to be notified about the same conference call on all of their phones.

Starting today, when you schedule a call on UberConference, you can mouse over the attendees that you invite and see the option to select which of them you want to receive notifications and to which phones and email addresses if they have several. This choice is sticky, so we will remember it for you for future invitations.


Hope you like it. As usual, we would love to hear your feedback if you have any.