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RISE will return to Hong Kong in 2022

By Catherine Shu

RISE, one of Asia’s largest tech conferences, is returning to Hong Kong in March 2022 as an in-person event, and will be held there for at least five years, announced organizer Web Summit today. Last year, Web Summit said RISE would move to Kuala Lumpur, but its return to Hong Kong means the conference will no longer be held in Malaysia’s capital, though a spokesperson told TechCrunch that it is plans to host other events there in the future.

RISE will take place at the AsiaWorld-Expo from March 14 to 17, 2022.

In November 2019, while large pro-democracy demonstrations were taking place, Web Summit announced it was postponing RISE to 2021. Then in December 2020, it said that the 2021 event would not be held, and RISE would instead resume in Kuala Lumpur in 2022.

In an emailed statement, a RISE spokesperson told TechCrunch, “The political situation in Hong Kong did not impact our decision to consider Kuala Lumpur as a host city. Rise 2022 was originally meant to take place in Kuala Lumpur. However, this is no longer feasible. We would like to thank the MDEC, who invited us to host RISE in their wonderful city,” adding “RISE has already had five successful years in Hong Kong since its launch in 2015. Our long-standing relationship with the city made it a natural decision to stay.”

In Web Summit’s announcement, co-founder and chief executive officer Paddy Cosgrove said, “We are extremely grateful for the support the city of Hong Kong has given RISE over the last five years, and we couldn’t be more excited to return in-person in 2022.”

The announcement included a statement from Hong Kong’s secretary for commerce and economic development, Edward Yau, who said, “I’m very excited that RISE, the world-renowned tech event, has chosen to return to Hong Kong and stay here in the coming five years.”

Amazon’s Fire TV Cube now supports Zoom calls on your TV

By Sarah Perez

Late last year, Amazon launched support for two-way calling that worked with its Fire TV Cube devices. The feature allowed consumers to make and receive calls from their connected TV to any other Alexa device with a screen. Today, the company is expanding this system to enable support for two-way calling with Zoom.

Starting today, Fire TV Cube owners (2nd gen.) will be able to join Zoom work meetings or virtual hangouts via their Fire TV Cube.

To take advantage of the new feature, you’ll need Amazon’s Fire TV Cube, its hands-free streaming device and smart speaker that has Alexa built in, as well as a webcam that supports USB Video Class (UVC) with at least 720p resolution and 30fps. But for a better experience, Amazon recommends a webcam with 1080p resolution and a 60-90 degree field of view from 6 to 10 feet away from the TV. It doesn’t recommend 4K webcams, however.

Amazon suggests webcams like the Logitech C920, C922x, C310, or the Wansview 101JD, for example.

You’ll then connect your webcam to your Fire TV Cube using a Micro USB to USB adapter.

For best results, you’ll want to attach the webcam above the TV screen, Amazon notes.

Once everything is set up and connected, you’ll need to download and install the Zoom app from the Fire TV Appstore. When joining meetings, you can either sign in as a guest or use an existing Zoom account, per the on-screen instructions.

Thanks to the Alexa integration, you can join your meetings hands-free, if you prefer, by way of a voice command like “Alexa, join my Zoom meeting.” Alexa will respond by prompting you for the meeting ID and passcode. Alternately, you can choose to use the remote control to enter in this information.

An optional feature also lets you sync your calendar to Alexa to allow the smart assistant to remind you about the upcoming meetings it finds on your calendar. If you go this route, Alexa will suggest the meeting to join and you’ll just have to say “yes” to be automatically dialed in.

Amazon first announced it was bringing video calling support to its Fire TV platform last fall — a significant update in the new era of remote work and schooling, driven by the pandemic. However, it’s not the only option on the market. Google also last year brought group video calls to its Hub Max devices, and later added support for Zoom calls. Meanwhile Facebook Portal devices have offered video calling of a more personal nature, and last year updated to support Zoom, too.

In other words, Amazon is playing a bit of catch-up here. And its solution is a little more unwieldy as it requires consumers to buy their own webcam, while something like Portal TV offers a TV with a smart camera included.

To use the new feature, you’ll need the latest Fire TV Cube software update to get started, Amazon notes.

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