Tuning In Free VideoconferencingBy Frank Ohlhorst | Posted 2009-03-04 Email Print
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Skype 4.0, ooVoo, Tokbox and Mebeam aim to make videoconferencing simple, but are any of them good enough for business use? Solution providers will find that limitations abound, creating up-sell opportunities.
Reduced travel budgets, cheap technology and ample broadband connections have helped to create interest in simple videoconferencing solutions. Skype has led the way in building that interest, and its video service is being used by popular TV shows, such as Oprah Winfrey, Millionaire and others.
With a renewed emphasis on video, it only makes sense for businesses to consider using many free products for ad-hoc videoconferencing. While the list of free videoconferencing services is growing, it is still pretty hard to beat Skype as a starting point for diving into the intricacies of desktop PC-based videoconferencing, especially now that Version 4 has arrived.
But, there are a couple of catches—Skype is only free for Skype-to-Skype calls and Skype only supports one-to-one videoconferencing. Those limitations have greased the wheels for other players to grab some mindshare, and Skype is no longer the only game in town.
Solution providers will find that instant profits may be hard to come by and appreciable margins may be a thing of the past, yet videoconferencing still proves to be an excellent way to demonstrate advanced capabilities and pave the way for commercial solutions.
Aggressive integrators will choose to roll out some of those free services just to introduce a business to IP videoconferencing and demonstrate the value of the service. After all, videoconferencing is a lot like potato chips—you can’t just have one.
The following is Channel Insider’s analysis of the leading free videoconferencing options available to solution providers.