Affordable High Quality Multiparty Videoconferencing using Skype and VuRoom
Video is increasingly becoming a necessity in corporate communications. Companies wishing to reduce travel expenses, avoid increased delays and security at airports, volcanoes in Iceland disrupting air travel, etc. are looking for alternatives to meeting in person.
Videoconferencing has been around for a while, but the systems have always been expensive, difficult to maintain and proprietary. Desktop videoconferencing using tools such as NetMeeting (now part of Windows Live), Yahoo Messenger and Skype are good for a quick chat and decent one to one communication.
I remember a keynote speech by the CEO of Creative Technologies (better known as Creative Labs) Sim Wong Hoo in Paris during a conference in 1996; he said “Video Conferencing will be useful and used when the quality is good and it’s free.” He was right, and now the technology is here, it is cheap and the quality is very good.
I’ve been using Skype for years and it is my main communications tool. Skype has been doing good work in the corporate market, becoming de facto standard for small and medium business instant messaging and voice calls. The subscription rates are very reasonable and allow traveling executives to stay in touch with the main office and customers no matter where they are.
But we want more. Services like GoToMeeting and WebEx have been around for some time, and they provide a decent tool for sharing presentations, making a product announcement, etc., but their systems are proprietary, and they don’t integrate with Skype or any other application for communications. Also they require every participant to download and install a plug-in every time they join a conference.
Since cost is a major issue today, businesses are looking for a high quality, easy to use, scalable system with a minimum upfront investment.
After writing an article about Skype for Small Businesses, I was contacted by ViVu, maker of the VuRoom application. They invited me to a multiparty videoconference to show me the advantages of their system. I knew about VuRoom and ViVu before, and I mentioned them in the article, but I was really impressed by the features of the VuRoom system and the integration with Skype.Continued on the next page