Biba Rebranded: Fresh, Fun, Fabulous

Lots of exciting changes here at Biba–you might notice one by going to our new website! Yep, Biba has a brand new look and logo and it feels GREAT! The new brand will be rolled out over the next few weeks and we’re thrilled to give you this first look at the website:

Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 1.02.27 PM

Go to www.biba.com and check it out for yourself! And don’t forget our new logo!
logo-for-web

Ooooh, yep the Biba bee is here to bring “bee-buh” some buzz.

Remember the first time you were AutoCalled? We hear from users all the time that they were surprised and delighted. We set out to align our brand with our aim to help people work smarter, faster and more efficiently. Cheers!

PSA: As a part of this refresh, we are migrating our blog to www.biba.com/blog

This release we’re bringing you Event Mode 2.0, multi-monitor screen share, and more! Keep reading to get all the details!

  1. Event Mode 2.0: We’ve been seeing more people use Biba for larger meetings, and larger meetings come with their own set of requirements. So we’ve updated Event Mode to better address those needs. With Event Mode 2.0, we’re introducing:
    • More Roles: Meetings with Event Mode will now include three roles: organizer, presenter, and attendee. The organizer has the ability to designate attendees as presenters. While in event mode, only the organizer and presenters can share their webcam and screens.
    • Presenter Management: Hosts can add presenters from the more menu “Add Presenters”. They will get a dialog where they can select one or more users invited to the call to promote to Presenter. Hosts can remove presenters by clicking on their names in the roster.
    • Roster Update: Presenters are shown at the top of the roster, and are marked with a little presenter icon.

Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 1.26.14 PM

    • Default Functions: When Event Mode is on, a certain set of default settings will be deployed, including attendees will be muted upon entry. Remote mute will be turned off and attendees will be set in listen-only mode. Roster notifications will also be disabled.

Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 1.26.05 PM

2. Multi-monitor Screen Share: Biba now lets you share multiple screens during screen share! If you have multiple monitors, you’ll see a submenu in the Screen (share) dropdown:

  • Select Screen lets you enter screen selection mode where you’ll be prompted to ‘Click anywhere on this screen to share it’.
  • All Screens will share all of the screens attached to your desktop. Viewers will see a composite of your virtual desktop.

Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 1.25.38 PM

3.  Vidyo Device Support Added: As a continuation of our H.323 in-room system connectivity, Biba Video Rooms has added support for Vidyo in-room video systems (using a VidyoGateway).

That’s all for now, folks! Read the Release Notes for more.

See you next time on www.biba.com/blog

Gimme More Biba

Biba Believers know that we release every 28 days or so as part of our commitment to delivering the best iteration of our product. Most releases are pretty feature packed with ongoing quality improvements happening on the backend, but every once in a while we dedicate a release to optimization–making Biba even better. So in this release, we’ve focused on quality and enhancing the features we’ve all grown to love. We call it the More Biba release.

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 4.33.37 PM

Here are the top five six improvements we’ve made:

  1. More Quality Improvements – We’ve fixed over 46 bugs across the apps (Holy cow!) with extra attention to make the Browser Screen Share Viewer, Mobile Messaging and Remote Control experience more reliable.
  2. More International Dial-Ins – We’re always adding new countries to our dial-in inventory, this month we’ve added UK Toll-free dial-in and Colombia dial-in.
  3. More Event Mode – We’ve added a few more features to event mode. Now, when the host has applied event mode, all existing attendees are muted and you won’t hear audio cues nor see notifications when attendees join or leave. Attendees can still unmute themselves unless you also select “Disable Attendee Unmute.”
  4. More Video – We’ve updated the way we build out the Biba video grid on the OS X to take better advantage of the available space. Windows users have been enjoying this experience for a while now. For our Mac users out there, here’s the before and after.

    OSX Video Grid Before with Sidebar

    Before (above), After (below)
    OSX Video Grid 3.1 Full Screen

  5. More Favorites – We just rolled out favorites last release, now you can have however many you want! Once someone is in your favorites, they will not be listed under Recent Messages anymore. Favorite away!
  6. More Administration – We had people asking for ways to better segment their users in our admin console, so we’ve enabled filtering!
    1. Filter User by Status: Biba admins can now filter all the users in their organization by status. You can filter out “Suspended” users to show only “Registered and Activated” users. Or you can see the Invited people to remind them to sign up. And, you can now see if people are on distribution lists and change their status
    2. Dial-in Plan Management: You can also now designate users for tiered dial-in plans, standard or premium. This is an easy way for you to set up your organization so that a select group can have access to premium dial-in numbers, while keeping all other users on free dial-in numbers. Contact customer success if interested in this feature.

For more information, see the Release Notes. Try Biba for yourself!

#MediaMondays: Episode 3: How to Keep Audio Playback Smooth

We pick Mondays to talk about interesting learnings from building a product that delivers media services.

This week we have Michael Klingbeil speaking on the challenge of keeping audio playback smooth in the unpredictable bandwidth environments of the wild.

[Biba] #MediaMondays Episode 3: How to Keep Audio Playback Smooth

We’ll be posting a video a week to talk more about media services.

Want to hear more on a different topic? Ask your questions here or tweet us @Biba and we’ll address it in a video!

Five Ways Biba Video Makes Life Easier for HR

One of the things I have enjoyed most about working at Biba is that almost every day I am “wearing a different hat” and doing something other than what I was doing the day before. It’s been pretty cool to see how Biba really makes a noticeable difference in each of those roles. So today, I am putting on my HR/hiring hat to talk about Biba video!

Biba has always been a company that embraces remote work, which means we do a lot of remote hiring. For this post I wanted to go over a couple reasons why using Biba video specifically has made a big difference in my role running HR at a start up.

Why Biba video specifically?

I’ll be frank (Biba hat off): Thing is, we didn’t always do video. The first version of Biba video only came out about a year ago, but we were already using video for remote hiring and remote collaboration from the beginning. As you can imagine,  we’ve had the opportunity to try out a lot of other video vendors before we decided on how we were going to tackle it ourselves. That’s why Biba video specifically hits a lot of the pain points right on the head and sidesteps product potholes from other vendors. Always learn from the mistakes of others, right? That’s what I call progress!

So here are five ways that Biba video has made my life in HR a little easier.

1)   I already have an email address for candidates

It’s pretty safe to say that when I am working with a prospective employee – an email address is one of the first pieces of information that I will have. Since Biba uses email address as your account name – you never have to worry about asking for someone’s contact name. This really is a win-win for both the hiring company and the candidate: since many of the early video products were really meant for consumers and not the enterprise, I can tell you from first hand experience that some of those “buddy handles” are not always the name you want to be known by in an interview.

2)   I don’t need to plan ahead (but I can)

Like all companies, we have a multi-stage interview process. It’s been amazing to see how much adding video into the mix has allowed us to condense the interview timeline. It used to be that I would schedule a screening call – then if the call went well – coordinate schedules for the next round of phone interviews – then, in cases where the candidate was local, maybe try to schedule a day of in-person interviews. But as I mentioned – our own internal team is pretty geographically distributed, and often in-person just really wasn’t an option. At that point I was left to try and figure out which tool to use for which interview – Facetime- oh not an Apple user? Skype-your username is WHAT? Lync – did I mention we are a start-up…? You get the idea.

Today, I literally don’t even think about what kind of interview needs to happen – I just use Biba. Sometimes the first call is just that – a phone call, using Biba’s amazing HD audio. Sometime the first conversation goes really well – and with the single click – the call can become a video call. And, because Biba is a full collaboration product, a candidate can even share their screen to show an example of their work or a specific project. This flow can take place at any stage of the hiring process, from intro meeting to discussing the final offer.

While I don’t need to plan ahead as to “type” of interview – it is super easy to schedule meeting time in the Biba app so that the interviewer and the candidate can meet whenever works best for them – without having to think about the extra apps or tools that will be required to make the interview successful.

3)   I can communicate with candidates even though they are (obviously) outside of my company

Some companies have embraced video and may even be providing their employees with a video calling solution for internal collaboration – which is great, but a lot of times, tools are limited by being internal only. Not with Biba. Of course, if all goes well and the person you are trying to interview actually becomes an employee and you can use your internal only tools with them, but Biba lets you collaborate and communicate with anyone, inside or outside of your company. This makes it simple for HR to communicate with candidates (or anyone for that matter) before they actually join your company. Just by downloading the free version of the Biba app, candidates can easily join the HR rep or anyone who has them as a contact in a chat, chat room, call or video conference. You can even include several people from the hiring team and do a group interview video conference.

4)   It feels professional – not personal

When using consumer-facing video tools to interview candidates always felt just a bit weird–I mean, just the night before I could have been using the same tool for my kids to video chat with Grandma and Grandpa. At the end of the day, consumer video products don’t really meet all the needs of a business environment. I have mentioned the difference between professional and personal account names. There are also tools that I like to have in an interview situation that just aren’t easily available in many video calling products – for example, the ability to share my screen to quickly show a benefits presentation or other information about Biba during an interview has been super helpful. Finally, the UI just feels more professional than a lot of tools.

5)   I can naturally follow up with chat

I mentioned a couple of times in this post that Biba is more than just a video conferencing tool, and when it comes to following up during the hiring process, having business chat included makes a big difference. Since all your communication takes place in the Biba app – chatting after an initial call or even as a follow-up a week later just feels like an extension of our initial call. I don’t have to send multiple emails and I can easily coordinate a follow-up meeting – which again will be right in the Biba app. A couple of times I have started a chat – checked to see if the time was convenient and done a follow-up video call right then.

Those are my 5 reasons why Biba video has made my life a ton easier as the HR lead at the company.

Time to take of my HR hat for today and pretend to be a Salesforce Admin for awhile, but take a minute to download Biba – you can get started for free, and try using Biba video for your next interview.

#MediaMondays: Episode 2: Screen Sharing vs Video

Last Monday we kicked off a video snippet series to talk about interesting learnings from building a product that delivers media services.

This week we have Toby DiPasquale, media lead, talking about some of the things that make screen sharing and video distinct as media services.

[Biba] #MediaMondays Episode 2: Screen Sharing versus Video

We’ll be posting a video a week to talk more about media services.

Want to hear more on a different topic? Ask your questions here or tweet us @Biba and we’ll address it in a video!

Introducing Biba #MediaMondays: A Video Series

There’ve been a number of challenges and interesting moments behind building a product that delivers media services like video, screen sharing, audio, etc. Now, we’re pleased to kick off a video snippet series based on some of those experiences, featuring our technical team chatting about small topics within media services.

First off we have Adam Marks, one of our co-founders and chief media architect, talking about what exactly is so hard about delivering real time media over AWS.

FUN FACT: We shot this entirely using the Biba platform! Hello Picture-in-Picture! 🙂

We’ll be posting a video a week to talk more about media services.

Want to hear more on a different topic? Ask your questions here or tweet us @Biba and we’ll address it in a video!

#EC15 Takeaway: #LittleThings Make a Big Difference

If there’s one thing I took away from Enterprise Connect in Orlando, Florida, it’s that it’s the little things that count. You throw together all these collaboration vendors doing meetings, video, hardware, software, chat, text, the list goes on–everyone’s trying to define what the future of work looks like. In thematic terms, you gotta get meetings, video and chat down solid–but when it comes down to details it’s the little things that matter.

Here are the top 5 things that resonated with people at Enterprise Connect:

  1. With Biba, meetings start on time. People laugh. Who hasn’t heard that one before? You’d think that’d be a reality, but it’s really not! I can’t tell you how many nods I got when describing my experiences as a WebEx power user snoozing the 15 minute meeting reminder only to come back 10 minutes late for my call having accidentally forgotten at the water cooler or busy with another task. Biba does a tremendous job with AutoCall, where every attendee is called on every device at start time so there are no more excuses.  And, this is a built-in feature that comes with the subscription–not some additional fee that’s tacked onto your already bloated legacy meeting bill.
  2. With Biba, mobile is easy–especially when driving and trying to dial into calls. People laugh again! I know you’re all out there. As I wrote in my blog a few weeks ago, #ConferenceCallConfessions: Driving While Dialing, it’s a real issue if you have the wrong tool when trying to join meetings on the go. The little things, like Biba’s mobile VoIP, which reconnects automatically if dropped, make a big difference. And if your bandwidth isn’t looking so hot, Biba suggests a swap to dial-in and will automatically plug the number and pin in for you. No more fumbling to find a meeting invite. Stay safe people!
  3. With Biba, persistent chat and chat rooms are part of the platform. No add-on fees or additional products required. Too often, IT is forced to manage a system of tools–each one acting like a patch or a bandaid for a certain problem or need–this quickly adds up: not just in management activities but also in licensing costs. Biba unifies meetings, video conferencing and chat into one platform–all included in a price that’s a fraction of what legacy vendors are charging for just meetings.
  4. With Biba, low bandwidth environments are our specialty. It’s simple: We prioritize audio over screenshare over video so your meetings can at least be heard even if the environment isn’t great.
  5. With Biba, you can rest assured that you’re getting transparent pricing. And it’s affordable! We just want to create a good product that works wherever you are, whatever your bandwidth, whatever your device. No complex pricing based on numbers of hosts or participants. Check out a side by side comparison to a legacy meeting vendor like GoToMeeting in this infographic.

Try Biba for yourself and see the difference, or Contact Sales for a live demo today!

Going to #EC15? Here is your Collaboration Checklist

We’re super excited to be demonstrating how Biba meetings make life easier on the show floor at Enterprise Connect next week!

We’re giving away remote work packages with coffee from our birthplace, San Francisco, so swing by Booth 1935 to grab your bag and a chance to win a Keurig 2.0!

And we will have a selfie stick. Just saying.

Of course, if you’re going to #EC15, you’re looking for the right solution for your organization. Many think of collaboration as a continuum–most have been dividing collaboration solutions up by the functionality they choose to tackle, while others will roll out a unified solution. We thought we’d help and layout some criteria you should consider when looking at a collaboration solution:

  1. What are you using now for chat, meetings, dial-in, video conferencing?
  2. What are you looking for? Are you looking to consolidate tools? Looking to complement current tools? Or looking to completely refresh your whole landscape?
  3. Are you looking for best-of-breed point products? Or would you like to find an all-in-one solution that checks all the boxes for you with a single point of management and administration?
  4. Is the solution ready to use out of the box or does it require a lot of configuration? What is the implementation timeline? Does this match with your IT resources on hand?
  5. If looking to add on to current tools, how will this solution add into your bigger picture of multiple licensing arrangements?
  6. Where do you see your organization (not just IT) going in the next 5 years? Will this technology help you towards that future picture? Or is this going to lock you into a rigid position where you won’t pivot when everything moves to the cloud? Just saying.
  7. What are your users not-so-secretly bringing into your IT landscape? Why? Is there a solution you could consider that could provide a happy medium so users are in a secure, enterprise-friendly application you’ve vetted, while getting the UX they’re used to having with consumer products?
  8. What user experience does this solution have for your users, and more importantly, YOU and your IT team? Does it help streamline all of your busy professional lives?
  9. Everyone is mobile nowadays and is only moving more towards . Is this solution mobile friendly? Or was their mobile app a bolt-on afterthought that doesn’t get prioritized for staying updated alongside their desktop app?
  10. What kind of support does this solution/vendor provide if you’re inevitably going to run into issues? God knows who has time to sit listening to hold music and robotic support systems.
  11. What’s the pricing like? Is it straight forward or will it bait and switch you with different tiers of users or limits on numbers of hosts?
  12. You can probably already hear your procurement or finance person nagging you–we’ll beat them to the punch so you don’t step on any toes and sail straight through the buying process and stop wasting time with more RFP’s. What business value is this solution driving? Will it save time? Boost productivity? Improve workflows? Tying technology to business benefits gets everyone on your side and makes you look like a superhero. 🙂

Come by Booth 1935 at the Gaylord Pavilion Expo area next week and we’ll be ready to answer all those questions and more. We’ll see you in Orlando!

What’s New: Biba March Release: Fav Five Feature Rundown

Another month, another release! We’re super excited to amp up video conferencing to include..wait for it..SIXTEEN video streams! And just wait until you see the video sidebar UX during screenshare. Did I mention Bubble Chat? We know you want details, so here are our five favorite features from this release. For more, check out the Release Notes!

Without further ado, say hello to:

  1. 16 Video Streams

Yes, that’s right. We’ve DOUBLED the number of video streams that Biba desktop can support–now look at 16 of your smiling faces! iPad video will support up to 8 streams. How will this look, you ask?

Ta-da!

OSX 16 person Biba Bunch (1)

The video tiles will make a 4×4 square when a screen is not being shared, and if a screen is being shared they stack as two rows of 8, like below. BOOM.

OSX 16 person video and screen meeting

  1. Video Sidebar

Lots of times you’re screen sharing to show a demo while also using video–sales teams do this a lot. Previously, the video used to be inside the screen, and since screen share operates at a lower frame-rate than video, it would compromise the screen quality for other viewers.

Now with video sidebar, videos pop out on a side-rail, stacked vertically like this:

Win screen share with sidebar video

 

Some things about video sidebar:

  • It will always be on top of all your other apps–this way, you can use another full screen app and still see the video.
  • It is excluded from the shared screen: you can see it, but people viewing your shared screen can’t.
  • It is automatically opened when there is video in the meeting you share your screen.
  • You can manually open it from the meeting window by using the “pop out” button

Of course, if you don’t want video, you can always get rid of them too. Whatever suits your fancy!

  1. Firewall Notifications

Lots of our customers use Biba for external meetings and we got some feedback on how the app reacts to firewalls. With this update, the Biba app will provide clear, actionable information on that status of the audio or video connection is when there is a firewall and offer a proactive workflow so everyone can continue with the meeting. Continue reading