Skype Meetings Goes After Small Businesses

Carl Weinschenk

Small businesses dominate, but for vendors, they’re laborious to reach and a harder sell because often nobody is on staff with whom big vendors can deal.

Technology trends of the past few years have put small businesses more in play, however. A good example is Skype Meetings, a new offering from Microsoft. Any U.S. business with an email address and no Office 365 account can use Skype Meetings for free. They can host meetings for as many as 10 people for 60 days and as many as three afterwards, says InformationWeek.

The service offers features that are common on enterprise platforms, including real-time audio and HD video. The goal is to get more companies into the fold:

In essence, Skype Meetings is a pared down version of the more robust Skype for Business, which starts from $5 per user per month and includes enterprise capabilities and deeper integration with Outlook and other Microsoft Office applications.


The Telemental Health Grades Are In

Eight states have been given an A grade, and one flunked, in the American Telemedicine Association’s ratings for telemental health services, according to mHealthIntelligence.

The report rates on three factors: psychologist-patient encounters, informed consent guidelines and licensure policies. The “A” states are Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Colorado got an F.  The other 41 states and the District of Columbia, got Bs or Cs.

Twenty-five states have debated issues related to practice standards during the past year. The discussions are wide ranging:

States have debated how to compare telemental care against in-person care, with some opting for stricter standards that include a mandated face-to-face visit before telehealth can be used. Other issues of debate include requirements for informed consent and licensure portability.

Fiber Replacing Copper for CenturyLink

Copper wiring lasts forever – unless the telephone company decides that its day has come. That is what is happening for legacy copper used by CenturyLink, which has told the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that it is replacing copper with fiber – and, perhaps, a bit of new copper -- in eight states, according to Channel Partners Online.

The states in which fiber is completely or mostly replacing copper are Minnesota, Washington, Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. The replacements are expected to occur before the end of the year.

Polycom to Be Sold, But Not to Mitel

The acquisition of Polycom by Mitel that was announced in this spring is not going to happen.

The Wall Street Journal and other sites report that Polycom has instead agreed to be bought by Siris Capital Group LLC, a private equity firm. Siris will pay $12.50 per share for Polycom, which means that the company is being valued at about $2 billion. Both Mitel and Polycom share prices rose after the announcement.

Polycom will pay a termination fee of $60 million to Mitel.

Strategy Analytics: Advertising to Push Mobile Video

Strategy Analytics predicts that mobile video revenue will reach $25 billion by 2021 and that the number of users will more than double to 2 billion by the end of 2020. That is equal to 36 percent of global mobile users overall.

The research release says that the revenue gains will be driven by advertising. Analyst Wei Shi said that advertising spending will expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28 percent during the next two years.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at cweinsch@optonline.net and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.

 



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