Clear Picture Communications with SkypeBy Frank Ohlhorst | 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.
Skype 4.0 brings some significant improvements to the product—enhanced video and audio quality, full-screen video, and an easy-to-use interface. The product also incorporates a bandwidth manager, which improves the user experience over slow-speed connections.
There are a few prerequisites to get started with Skype 4.0. Users will need a compatible computer (usually a Windows PC, but some products also support Macintosh and Linux), a broadband connection, a Webcam (many portable PCs have these built-in) and a headset (although not necessary, a headset is recommended).
Skype 4.0 can be enhanced with add-ons from a library of extras. Dozens of extras are available, ranging from the silly (Gizmoz Talking Heads) to the very useful (Yugama SE Team Collaboration).
Most users will want to install a few of those extras—the most usable free extras include Pamela Call Recorder (records audio of calls), PamFax (adds fax capabilities), Convenos Meeting Center Extra (full-featured Web conferencing), InnerPass Share and Collaborate (file sharing, screen sharing and meeting rooms) and Supertintin Video Call Recorder (records both video and audio in Skype). Solution providers will find it’s the extras that will make Skype much more than a simple VOIP (voice over IP) client with video capabilities. Those extras will only help to legitimize VOIP and videoconferencing solutions, leaving the customer wanting something more and probably willing to pay for it.