Multi-talented Video Conferencing Service, ooVoo, Joins the Fray

By Judy Mottl | May 12, 2008 | Print this Page
http://www.enterprisenetworkingplanet.com/unified_communications/Multi-talented-Video-Conferencing-Service-ooVoo-Joins-the-Fray-3746266.htm

Videoconference communications service provider ooVoo has recently pushed out a Mac version to complement its PC software that, in addition to "face-to-face" video chats also provides telephony, video messaging, instant messaging and, file sharing capabilities.

The provider has enhanced its tool—currently a free desktop application—to include a conversation recording feature, which lets enterprises record video 'notes' of an online meeting. The privately held New York-based company is prepping both business and consumer service packages to deploy in the next few months.

"In the future we're looking to provide application sharing services as well as additional security encryption features, as we realize those are capabilities the enterprise environment are looking for," CEO Phillipe Schwartz told this reporter during a four-person video chat conference via ooVoo.

This virtual explosion of multimedia communications capabilities is in line with a number of roughly similar services we've looked at recently, including HearMe, SightSpeed, and, most recently Dimdim.

Among use cases ooVoo folks talked about, fire department personnel who once traveled several hours a month to meet now use ooVoo to meet, saving big on gas and personal time. A group of retired businessmen scattered across several states are meeting in video chats as they plan a new fishing lure business. Public relations firms use ooVoo to interview prospective new hires.

There are currently 1.5 million video conferences being held via ooVoo a month, the company claims. "And that's at a point where the technology is just 11 months old," noted Schwartz.

The tool, which boasts a clean, simple and interface, provides video conferencing for up to six participants. Video and audio performance were crisp and clear throughout the 45-minute product discussion.

Users can create a 'chat' buddy list by inviting people via e-mail to use ooVoo. The company is working on federation technology that will soon let AOL users reach out to AIM buddies on the ooVoo platform. Features allow users to 'go invisible' when necessary.

As mentioned, the service (technically still in beta) is currently free, though ooVoo will soon be pricing various services as it launches revenue programs. Additional revenue lines will be through advertising and partnerships, such as with job search sites and online social networking communities, according to Schwartz.

"We're continually looking to improve the quality of our service and offer features that will help our users to communicate in a more meaningful way," said the CEO, estimating that about 20 percent of ooVoo users are small to medium-sized businesses.

Adapted from an article first published on internetnews.com