Evaluating Cloud Based Video Conferencing: VidTel
Scroll down for the YouTube video of a VidTel meeting…
A few blogs ago (on TelBitConsulting.com) I proposed how I would evaluate the cloud based video conferencing services that are becoming so popular…here is a summary of what I am looking for:
A cloud-based video conferencing service provides an easy-to-use, dial-in, ad-hoc, virtual meeting space for anyone, anytime, anywhere using any endpoint.
Easy…simple….to the point. At least in theory, implementing that simple concept is a bit harder, believe me, I know…I did it starting way back in 1999 for the Department of Energy (see http://www.ecs.es.net).
I started looking at VidTel a couple of weeks ago and found out how much I missed having my own virtual meeting space. After a week or so of meetings with people across the country (some of whom want to remain anonymous) I came to this conclusion:
VidTel MeetMe is a fantastic cloud-based video conferencing option for your corporate needs.
Note: If you want to meet with multiple people via video conferencing but don’t have the in-house expertise, or the budget, to support the expensive infrastructure needed to support these meetings…cloud-based is the way to go.
In my original blog, I stated several important keys to a successful cloud based service (at least to me…):
Registration process, using the service, administration tools, support, cost. Since I only have 500 words…I will get right to the point:
VidTel MeetMe Evaluation (watch the video below for a really cool meeting with the VidTel folks and my good friend David Maldow from Telepresence Options….). Visit the VidTel web site for a ton of information, and to sign up for a free trial or to use the service: http://VidTel.com
Registration process: Easy as 3.14
Using the Service: Dial-in, ad-hoc, using any H.323 / SIP endpoint, Google Talk (Chat?), Cell Phone (i.e. telephone), or Skype. You get a virtual room to call into, then give the people you want to meet with that number (there is a PIN option as will, and it works great). Everyone calls in when it is time for the meeting…wow!
Administration Features (real-time adding or dropping participants, muting participants, etc.): None as of this time. This is a future enhancement due out soon.
Support: Call in 6 AM to 6 PM PST: 1-877-MY-VIDTEL, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, VidTel offers 24×7 support for resellers.
Cost: Unlimited, normal business use, 5 users, $149/mo SD, $299/mo HD. Link to the VidTel MeetMe cost web site.
I registered via the web site and was sent information on how to call into my own virtual meeting room. My room was: 2819. I then sent out dialing instructions to my list of meeting participants that looked like this:
At one point during the meeting, the real-world hit me as my Comcast line was CUT! Once I figured out the problem, I called back into the meeting with my cell phone! VERY cool!
A couple of times, my Polycom HDX friends called in and I saw black screen, they hung up, tried again, and all was cool. Not sure what the issue might have been.
VidTel is a great option for small to medium (heck even large) businesses who do not have the in-house resources (people or $$) to implement and support a video conferencing infrastructure, but, who need to meet via video conferencing.
My old-as-the-hills camera does not show the true quality of the call… believe me, the quality (video and audio) was excellent: