StarLeaf - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog
1. It just works
Imagine buying a mobile phone and then having to have the IT guy come and make it work for you. Then every time you want to make a call, it’s so complicated that you have to ask the IT guy back! It sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? But this is the pain that many go through when installing and using video conferencing equipment. Whereas, a StarLeaf system is just like your mobile phone: you take it out of the box, plug it into the network and watch it sync as our Cloud takes care of everything else. And once you’ve done this, you don’t need to be given any instruction on how to use it, because it works just like your smartphone–it really is as simple as that.
2. See anyone on video – no costly network infrastructure
Aren’t all video conferencing systems designed to allow you to meet anyone else on video? Well yes, and no. The industry bangs on about interoperability, but the way that they make this happen carries a huge cost for the end user. To connect to people that use different manufacturers’ systems requires either a number of complex and costly network infrastructure products, such as gateways, call managers, and MCUs, or some sort of bridging VMR (virtual meeting room) service or both! Either way, you and your associates will all dial-in to a destination. What you don’t get is an easy way to just call out to someone, on or off your network, without scheduling or worrying about what you are calling rather than whom.
As we are 100% Cloud, there is no need for costly infrastructure, instead you get everything you need delivered as a comprehensive service. For scheduled and meet-me video conferencing, we ensure that anyone can join you in your VMR, using any equipment such as Microsoft Lync, Cisco, Polycom etc. Plus, you can make point-to-point calls, again to anyone on any system, and, while you’re on a call, you can immediately bring other people in to join your conversation.
And finally on the subject of interoperability, with StarLeaf you can extend the reach of video conferencing and calling to business partners through our Guest Invite feature, which offers free use of StarLeaf Breeze software and clear dial-in instructions for users of other equipment and software.
3. Cloud plus video endpoints – the best of both worlds
There is an increasing number of cloud video conferencing services out there, but there are many variables that need to be taken into account. Top of mind has to be security and resiliency, alongside a rich feature set for both video conferencing and calling.
As an owner and operator of a global network, which has been built from the ground up, we are unique because we do not rely upon any other third party equipment. This is really important since, unlike other cloud providers, we are in total control of our own destiny. We have the ability to respond to market needs and to introduce technological advancements, all without waiting for or depending upon a third party. We also stand apart from other video conferencing and calling service providers because we have a full range of video conferencing hardware systems for rooms and desktops and a software client for Windows, Mac and tablets. These endpoints all offer a common user interface and a mind-blowing set of features that make collaboration with anyone a seamless experience.
4. Price performance with unrestricted use and scale
Specifying a video conferencing deployment and budgeting for one is a dark art, especially if you are looking to go beyond meeting rooms and want to give everyone the ability to collaborate, make video calls, and hold their own conferences from their desktop, home or while travelling. Clearly, scaling a deployment into the hands of the workforce means a software client. So how many licenses should you buy and how much use will there be? It is daunting, particularly when there are so many variables that may include per user licensing and per minute charges.
A StarLeaf customer is not subjected to this minefield. Price performance is another area that we have addressed by allowing all of our customers to distribute StarLeaf Breeze software to everyone in their organization, without incurring any additional costs. Each Breeze user can make unlimited point-to-point calls, hold ad hoc multiparty meetings and even schedule conferences – without restriction. In addition, all users have the capability to use the Guest Invite feature, which means that they can reach anyone without worrying about additional costs.
5. Management that requires no specialist skills
Unfortunately, most video deployments require specialist skills to keep them running effectively. Not only are these skills in short supply, but they are also very expensive to acquire. However, there is simply no need for any dedicated specialist skills with StarLeaf, we handle things in a much more efficient and cost-effective way!
At the heart of the StarLeaf Cloud is a management portal that provides administrators with complete control over their organization’s video conferencing deployment. From this one dashboard, there is the ability to provision and manage all video endpoints, rooms and users, including all adds, moves and changes. It is the one place that allows admins to control the distribution of the StarLeaf Breeze software client to any or all users. There is also the facility for the management and registration of existing third-party video endpoints, alongside any StarLeaf hardware endpoints. It also offers a wealth of monitoring and reporting capabilities.
6. Ongoing investment protection
We all know that as soon as you buy any technology, like a laptop, or indeed a smartphone, it isn’t long before it is superseded by the next generation. Well, it’s no surprise that this also happens in the world of hardware video conferencing systems. Yes, you receive upgrades to compensate, but in the traditional world these upgrades come at a cost. They are only delivered as part of an ongoing maintenance contract and they require internal IT teams to manually install new upgrades as they become available.
All StarLeaf video endpoints that are connected to our Cloud will be automatically upgraded when new features and functionality become available. There is no manual intervention or huge maintenance costs, it is all part of the Connection License. In this way, it is plain to see that investment in a StarLeaf solution is protected.
To learn more about our platform, Cloud services and product portfolio visit our website or, see for yourself why StarLeaf is so different with a free 30 day trial.
Publish Date: June 21, 2016 5:00 AM
The new StarLeaf GTm 5140 Huddle – the perfect fit for Microsoft Skype for Business users.
London, UK, June 8, 2016: StarLeaf, the leading video conferencing and calling provider, announces the StarLeaf GTm 5140 Huddle, a meeting room solution that works directly with Microsoft Skype for Business, and which delivers reliable, easy to use, and great quality video conferencing, ideal for collaboration in small meeting spaces.
Registering directly to a Microsoft Skype for Business server or Microsoft Office 365, the StarLeaf GTm 5140 Huddle provides businesses with the perfect video conferencing solution for all of their small meeting rooms and spaces. It is small and very stylish and is packed with a rich feature set, including bi-directional content sharing, one touch dialing, and a simple ‘one button to push’ to join scheduled conferences. It comes complete with a StarLeaf touchscreen controller, USB camera and USB microphone. It joins the StarLeaf range of native Skype for Business meeting room solutions, all deployed, monitored and managed from a centralized management platform, that allow businesses to connect desktop users to meeting rooms and vice versa.
“Digital transformation at the desktop and the move to Microsoft’s UC platform, is creating a huge and growing demand for professional quality video conferencing in all rooms throughout an enterprise. But the biggest requirement is for a hardware appliance for small team meeting spaces,” said Mark Loney, CEO, StarLeaf. “We’ve developed the GTm Huddle to meet this need and, as with everything we do, we have kept it simple, so that our system just plugs straight-in and users only have to press one button to call or join a conference.”
StarLeaf GTm 5140 Huddle joins its larger sibling the StarLeaf GTm 5250, an AV integrator friendly system with options for single or dual screens and multiple pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras. All GTm systems offer a consistent user interface and are centrally managed by the Maestro Management Platform.
StarLeaf brings people together through the power of video conferencing and calling. StarLeaf is a service provider with a global platform that delivers secure, reliable and rich video conferencing services to Fortune 500 companies all the way down to the smallest organizations around the world. Whether a company chooses StarLeaf conference room systems or already has their own – for instance from Cisco, Polycom, Lifesize or Avaya – StarLeaf removes the complexity and cost of management and enables users to call anyone else, including those who use Microsoft Skype for Business as their client.
Publish Date: June 8, 2016 5:00 AM
StarLeaf unveils a brand-neutral communications platform intended for industry partners
London, UK. June 2 2016: StarLeaf, the leading cloud video conferencing and calling provider, announced UC OpenCloud – a brand-neutral version of its advanced communications platform. UC OpenCloud is exclusively available to third-party solution providers and video endpoint manufacturers who wish to extend their product portfolio with a ready-made Video Conferencing as a Service (VCaaS) solution.
UC OpenCloud is available today and allows any qualifying partner to rapidly adopt its cloud calling and conferencing services as their own. Along with a comprehensive set of standard features, partners and their customers also benefit from a reliable, secure, fully redundant global platform, with centralized management, and a free software client for all to use.
As part of this launch, StarLeaf has announced a number of UC OpenCloud partners, including Samsung and Tata Communications, as well as endpoint manufacturers Yealink, Tely and Grandstream.
“We have the most advanced communications cloud available today, and it has unlimited capacity to serve the very largest, right down to the smallest of businesses,” said Mark Loney, CEO StarLeaf. “It’s been a long held vision of ours to create a cloud partner ecosystem. With this version of our cloud we are doing just that – it gives us endless partnership opportunities, where we serve more users, and our partners increase their market share.”
UC OpenCloud is an advanced platform that offers a rich communications environment and allows users to make and receive point-to-point video calls, as well as schedule and join video conferences. It is unique in its ability to deliver universal connectivity, allowing users of any video equipment to directly call any one else on any other video system. In this way a video system registered to the UC OpenCloud can call any user of Microsoft Skype for Business, Polycom, Lifesize, Cisco, Avaya etc. This far reaching interoperability is fundamental to the longevity of an existing video installation, which may currently only be served by an aging infrastructure and restricted in its calling capabilities. In addition to this freedom, the UC OpenCloud offers a secure, fully redundant and reliable environment that can easily replace costly and complex infrastructure.
For more information: www.ucopencloud.com
Director of Marketing, StarLeaf
Publish Date: June 2, 2016 5:00 AM
Our free app for video collaboration, wherever you need to be.
Did you know that there are twice as many Android phones in use as there are Apple iPhones? In fact, today there are a whopping 1.4 billion active Android devices, which, at 53.5%, is the lion’s share of the global mobile operating system market. However, as fantastic as these numbers are, the most important one for StarLeaf is the Android share of the enterprise market, which is 25%, and up until now we have not been able to satisfy a need within our customer base for video calling on this operating system.
So the good news is that if you have one of the 1.4 billion devices, you can now get Breeze directly from the Google Play Store at no charge. The app is currently in beta, but don’t let that stop you from trying it out, and if you feel so obliged please go ahead and provide us with any feedback directly via the app.
This version of Breeze will bring you closer to your colleagues and associates no matter where you find yourself. We think it will also help to lower your mobile operating costs, allowing you to replace expensive roaming charges incurred while travelling, with free video calls made from wifi hotspots in hotels, stations and even coffee shops.
Of course, and as you would expect, the Android Breeze app offers you the same great functionality as all of our endpoints including:
• Simple user interface and just what you expect on a smart phone
• JoinNow our one button to push conferencing that puts you straight into the meeting
• Unlimited video calling to anyone on any other system including Skype for Business, Cisco, Polycom, Lifesize, any H.323/SIP endpoint user
• Cool calling features including speed dial favorites and recent call history
• Access to directories
Now you have the same easy, intuitive video calling experience in meeting rooms, on your laptop and your mobile Android device.
Publish Date: April 26, 2016 5:00 AM
The latest release of the StarLeaf Cloud offers great new features and enhancements.
As always, StarLeaf customers do not have to do anything in order to receive these service enhancements; they will be rolled out automatically, so you can rest assured that you are always on the latest version.
New features in StarLeaf Cloud 3.0 include:
StarLeaf Cloud 3.0 introduces our video conference recording solution Encore. Encore is available as an optional extra for all StarLeaf customers.
As well as introducing a Premium Conferencing option with capacity of up to 30 participants, we’ve made joining conferences even simpler. Any StarLeaf customer can join a conference with just 7 digits to dial, even if the conference is not hosted by their organization.
While you’re waiting for your host to start your StarLeaf conference, you will now see a welcome screen until your host joins. And you’ll always know exactly who is in your meeting as participant names are now displayed on the screen.
Skype for Business Screen Sharing
We’re all about interoperability and making video conferencing and calling as easy to use as the telephone. In StarLeaf Cloud 3.0, Skype for Business users can now enjoy bi-directional screen sharing at the press of a button in StarLeaf calls with any user of StarLeaf, Polycom, Cisco, etc.
You can now ensure your meeting rooms are always set up and ready to go in an instant with camera presets. This new feature allows you to save up to 5 pre-defined camera positions, which are available from your touchscreen controller.
Endpoint Control API
StarLeaf’s endpoint control API, which allows interoperability and full integration with Crestron, AMX, and Extron controllers, is now available over both IP and the serial interface. To find out more, take a look at our API support page.
Full release notes for StarLeaf Cloud 3.0 can be found here.
Publish Date: April 13, 2016 5:00 AM
Trade-in offer extended! Swap your old video conferencing equipment for a StarLeaf GT Mini – for FREE!
Our trade-in offer has proved so popular that we have extended it until the end of June 2016.
We are offering to replace for free any old and clunky video conferencing systems for a brand new StarLeaf GT Mini, including the brand new StarLeaf Touch 2035.
The GT Mini will transform any meeting space into a video conferencing room, meaning your business can save money and time that would otherwise be spent traveling. It is so easy to use that no training is required and there is no costly or complicated installation process.
Like all StarLeaf video endpoints, with the GT Mini you can:
- meet anyone on any other standards based video or software system
- invite anyone to meet you for free
- share screens
- schedule and hold multiparty conferences
For a full list of features, click here
You can choose to replace one, some or all of your existing video conferencing hardware and we will remove and dispose of your old units for free.
StarLeaf will replace any brand of old meeting room hardware, including:
- any other H.323 system
We will also give your organization unlimited StarLeaf Breeze software, which enables you to use our cloud-based HD video conferencing and calling to collaborate with anyone in your organization, no matter where they are or what device they use.
The only cost to you is the Connection License and warranty on the GT Mini systems themselves. Terms and conditions apply.
StarLeaf is one of the most recommended and desirable video conferencing and calling services available. We offer your business a cost-effective video conferencing solution that is easy to use and a dream to manage.
Contact us now via the form below to discuss your needs.
Publish Date: March 31, 2016 5:00 AM
2015 was the year of Skype for Business. Since its rebrand, SfB has really taken off in the corporate environment and is widely used for IM and presence, as well as for voice and video calling. Has it now become the de facto standard for desktop communication?
At StarLeaf, we see many more customers asking about integrating their meeting rooms with Skype for Business compared to those who previously asked us about Microsoft Lync. The rebrand, combined with Skype’s ease-of-use as a desktop application, certainly has made a difference. With Microsoft’s recent announcement extending its offering to enterprise voice support, it is clear that the adoption of Skype for Business is only going to continue.
While SfB has captured the desktop user’s imagination, the same cannot be said about the Skype for Business meeting room experience. Getting a high quality video and audio experience that is as easy to use as the desktop application has been very difficult to do. Yes, there are solutions out there (some provided by Microsoft themselves) that try and bring Skype for Business into the meeting room but, so far, these solutions have not enjoyed the same widespread adoption.
On the face of it, a BYOD policy could make a lot of sense as a solution; the IT department don’t need to manage the large number of new huddle rooms and users can join meetings from their desktop application connected to a monitor with USB microphone & speaker. In practice however, the interoperability nightmare of rooms outside of the IT department’s responsibility means that they are likely to be used less than they should be as they tend not to stay working for very long. Couple this with a poor audio and video experience; trying to get peripherals to function as they should do, and it is easy to see that these spaces won’t be as well-used as first imagined.
From a user perspective, it is clear that video meeting room users want to be able to easily join Skype for Business meetings just as they would at their desk but with the added advantage of a high quality meeting room experience. This means no complicated dial strings, pin codes, or SIP URIs. Why should you have to dial email@example.com and then enter a 9 digit pin to join your weekly meeting?
Equally for remote participants, it should be easy to add a local meeting room into the meeting without having to jump through many complicated hoops. Today, this is difficult with Skype for Business – have you noticed there is no video dial-in information in a Skype for Business invite?
That’s why StarLeaf launched the GTm 5250 Skype for Business meeting room solution, specifically designed for joining Skype for Business online meetings at the push of a button. Easy to manage and simple to use.
It runs Skype for Business natively so has the same functions and features that you get with the desktop application, but is an appliance not reliant on the dreaded Windows updates.
The user interface enables a smartphone-like dialling experience. You dial contacts by name, you have a favorites list, and you can enter meetings at the push of a button. Meeting rooms that weren’t initially invited to the Skype for Business meeting can easily be added even if the meeting organizer is from a different company.
As well as being simple to use, the GTm 5250 has all of the audio and video functionality that your meeting room needs to get the best meeting room experience. From single screen huddle rooms with a desktop microphone, through to dual screen collaborative boardrooms with multiple ceiling mounted microphones, multiple PTZ cameras, and high end AV connectivity: the GTm 5250 can slip seamlessly into any environment.
Making the meeting room experience both simple and great quality is what StarLeaf is all about.
The growth in Skype for Business is a huge opportunity for people who have either never used video for their meetings before or have tried but found it too difficult to use in the past. Wouldn’t it be a shame if Skype for Business continues to be restricted just to the desktop world?
If the future is video and if 2015 was the year of Skype for Business on the desktop, is 2016 the year of the Skype for Business enabled meeting room?
Find out more about the options available for extending SfB from the desktop to the meeting room in this whitepaper.
Publish Date: March 29, 2016 5:00 AM
We’re all familiar with the fact that traditional, on-premise video conferencing requires a substantial outlay, but what about the costs beyond that initial deployment? In the second of our information series, we look at the hidden costs of traditional video conferencing systems and how you can eliminate them.
An on-premise video conferencing solution is very much like a brand new car. As soon as you install it, or drive it out of the dealer’s lot, it begins to depreciate. Granted, that’s nothing new, but what you may not realize is that, just like that car, traditional video conferencing is going to continue to cost your organization for the rest of its life-span; and those costs can far exceed your initial spend.
How so? Well, that shiny new car serves you well at first, but one day something goes wrong and you have to pay out for a mechanic and spares, oh, and of course you need to keep it well-maintained; do you have somewhere safe to keep it? If not, you had better build a garage. Your family has grown, you need to scale, and now need more than one car? Well, that’s double the expense. Need even more cars? Suddenly you’re running a whole fleet. More garages, more maintenance costs, more time, more mechanics, more spares, and more wear and tear. And the icing on the cake? That newer, shinier version of your car that just drove by.
This is exactly the same scenario with your video conferencing. Unlike Cloud video conferencing, the traditional on-premise model can make video collaboration prohibitively expensive for many organizations, both large and growing. Particularly when there is a need to scale usage and adoption to a broader workforce.
The costs start building up as soon as there is a business need to do something as simple as adding new users. New users mean new video conferencing infrastructure and hardware, so you have that initial expense all over again, not to mention the cost of installation, maintenance, specialist IT support, and additional rack space. And this will be the case whenever your team grows making it very difficult to scale your video deployment up, or indeed back, if you ever need to.
More users is going mean more support queries, can you afford to add another expensive human resource to your team? Or pay a premium for a support service?
All these additional expenses add up, and increase the cost of running your business and so reduce your profits.
This is where the video cloud comes in. At StarLeaf, customers can dispense with their costly infrastructure and attach their hardware endpoints to the StarLeaf Cloud. Any customers that buy services from StarLeaf will also benefit from unlimited scalability and our Breeze software at no extra cost; which means StarLeaf cloud video calling can be extended to everyone within your organization, for free! So you no longer have to worry about more users meaning more money. In addition, users can be added or removed very quickly and easily in the StarLeaf portal, so no more expensive IT specialists.
The video cloud saves you money by eliminating all those hidden costs. In fact, our research suggests that for every dollar spent on cloud based video collaboration, you would have to spend an average of six on on-premise video. No wonder those traditional video conferencing vendors are still pushing their products!
If you want to know how to protect your current video conferencing systems, put an end to the complexities and cost of owning on-premise infrastructure, then take a look at our whitepaper.
Publish Date: March 9, 2016 5:00 AM