Skype, Tokbox, and Oovoo are three online video conferencing services that have recently targeted business enterprises with business-friendly features. Many businesses these days are realizing the value of video conferencing and video chat. Not only do these tools eliminate transportation costs, they also drastically reduce unproductive time spent travelling. A simple phone call connects all parties instantly. Video chats in particular are the cheapest of the bunch, with services offering video chats for anywhere from free to a minimal monthly fee. However, until recently, many of these services weren’t up to speed with the requirements and demands of businesses. Lagging transmissions, slow connections, and jumpy video were just some of the issues that plagued online video chatting and conferencing. Recently, however, three online video conferencing services have put themselves at the top of the pack with new features such as group chat and improved performance that make them much more business-friendly. Let’s take a look at them. Skype Undoubtedly the best known of the three, Skype has long been a staple in online video calls and instant messaging, and now the beta version of Skype 5.0 offers video chats with up to 5 people at a time. It is also the most stable, with the least dropped calls, and is free to use. However, it is not without its cons – its interface takes some getting used to, and it is available for PC users only. Tokbox For $9.99 a month, you get crisp, clear video calls with up to 20 people, and basic chat free of charge. Tokbox’s user interface is very easy to use and understand, and allows you to send video e-mails, and share Tweet invites and your screen with other users. Oovoo Basic chats between two people are free, but with the paid version – the business plan is $39.95 a month per user – allows you to chat with up to six people at a time. Like Tokbox, it features screen sharing and Tweet invites, and also lets you record your video conferences. Like Skype, the interface can be a bit confusing to use at first, but the audio and video are high quality. Considering video conferencing for your business? Give us a call – we can help you sort through the options and implement the best solution for your needs.
The internet makes a great number of tasks more convenient for many people, especially in the area of communication. The power of the internet allows millions of people around the world to talk to each other over voice programs and even videos – all in real time. While the benefits to personal communications are obvious, the larger value implications of this type of technology is evident in business, where travel costs are greatly reduced through the use of video conferencing technology. Imagine a group of people in the United States being able to see and communicate in real time with another group in Australia. This is possible with video conferencing, which allows the two parties simply agree on a time (with the time zone difference considered, of course) and then hold a meeting in the comfort of their own offices. Video conferencing not only saves the fares and accommodation expenses, but also saves time spent travelling. It’s also valuable to employees in the field who need to report to a main office. A webcam, a mike, and a decent internet connection allows those in the field to report in real time to the main office at any time, eliminating the need to leave their post or assignment. Programs you can use: Citrix GoToMeeting – one of the most popular software for web conferencing, costing $49.00 per month or $468 for an annual plan that gives you unlimited conferences (including both video and voice) with up to 10 attendees. The interface is easy to use and meetings can be set up in a flash. The only downside is that Mac users can only participate in, and not set up, meetings. Microsoft Live Meeting – another popular bundle of decently priced and stable conferencing software. However, the interface is much more complicated than Citrix GoToMeeting, and may confuse first-time users. Another possible concern is its “per use” charging system. WebEx MeetMeNow – at $39 – $49 a month, this option offers the best value for the money, with its unlimited monthly use with up 10 participants and a very user-friendly installation and interface. Acrobat Connect Professional – this option offers the most flexible payment plans, making it best suited for occasional users. It also boasts customization features allowing users to tailor the program based on their needs. Video conferencing is a simple and practical way to communicate in real time with personal and business contacts, wherever they are in the world, at a fraction of the cost of more traditional methods. Need help choosing equipment and getting set up? We’ll be happy to lend a hand.