July

July 2016 - The Evolution of the Physical Button in the Virtual World

IoT – Internet of Things, is a the latest buzz word that everyone has been talking about over the past year. More and more physical items are connecting to the internet and enabling advanced communication between the item and information exchange and action. This communication brought about automation in many areas, such as the smart house, smart city and many devices in all aspects of our lives.
 
Here at Veidan, we provide video systems, conference phones and the rest of the physical communications equipment, but most of our services exist in the virtual world – virtual conference rooms. In fact, we supply virtual conference rooms on many conferencing platforms – audio, video and web, as well as the ability to integrate between the platforms as unified communication.
 
About six months ago when we went live with our new audio bridge, we launched new services based on the advanced abilities of the bridge. Lately, we launched the PTC – Push to Conf service. This service meets the needs for audio conferences where you need to connect participants immediately, for example, a management team, sales teams, emergency teams, etc.
 
Today, by and large, our customers dial into conference calls from around the world and enter a passcode, and join the conference they set up. With this new service, the control moves over to the conference leader.
The leader of the conference has the ability to determine the list of participants (and edit it at any time). The conference leader just has to call in and enter his code, and the system immediately dials out to the list of participants. This way, without any advance planning, and without waiting for the participants to connect on their own, the leader can connect an unlimited number of participants to the audio conference. A push conference instead of a pull conference.
 
So how does this connect to the Internet of Things?
 
The commercial giant “Amazon” released the Amazon Dash Button – a series of physical IoT buttons that allow customers to buy different items with one click. These buttons have begun to spread throughout the “buy with a click” world of retail products like laundry detergent, diapers, pet food or coffee capsules. The customer predetermines the type of product in the relevant category and after pressing the button, the product is ordered automatically and is delivered to the customer’s house.
Here are a few examples of Amazon Dash buttons that are used today in thousands of houses in the US:
 
 
 
 
But a couple of months ago, Amazon released the following button on its site:
 
 
The new button, unlike its predecessors, is a generic button that can match itself to an unlimited number of uses by programming the trigger and the action it takes when pressed. Amazon basically removed the ties to buying products only on its website and opened up a door for other retailers to use the button, obviously with their own cloud services.
 
24 hours after the button went on sale, sales stopped suddenly with the notice “Unclear when and if the button will be available for sale on the site.” Was it stock issues, incorrect forecasting of the demand for the button, or an intentional hand that wanted to create an intentional shortage as a marketing ploy? The answer is still not clear. But a few days later, the button was back on the market.
 
This is exactly the point when we, Veidan, got our hands on this button. We ordered the button and we anticipated the arrival of the button. It finally came with an internal battery that cannot be changed and lasts 1,000 clicks.
 
 
We programmed the Amazon button for use in our Push to Conf service – conferencing service available at a click. This time, with a physical button. The virtual service that we supply got physical activation. The two worlds have again met and complemented each other.
 
At the beginning of the month the UC & Collaboration conference from “People and Computers” was held in Israel. This was the first time that we presented the button’s abilities to the public. The first to use the this kind of service in the world. Pressing the button, immediately started dialing out to tens of participants from the audience simultaneously. The numbers were taken from the participants earlier that day and were added to the dial out list.
 
Do you want to try it? Get in touch with us and we can add you to the service with the click of a button!
 
See you next time,
Nir