I’ve been using www.Skype.com for a few years now and it’s not only easy to use but very useful and FREE, (at least for all web based calls and when I call friends who live overseas I delight in not paying ro those calls just like everyone else). Skype also has video functionality so users can view their conversations in real time. That functionality works pretty well although it is decidedly impacted by individual internet transmission speed. I still am unsure as to the how the revenue model actually works for Skype. However, I have noticed more and more SPAM on Skype in recent months – an occupational hazard perhaps. But the fact that it is free makes it difficult to complain about.
Admittedly, I don’t often use a webcam for communication but am thinking of making that more of a regular activity. www.Oovoo.com is a less well known platform with some very interesting features not found on Skype. In truth I first came upon it when I noticed my 16 year old daughter having a six-way on line video conference communication with her friends. Forget for a moment that they see each other at school all day and why they’d want to watch each other on screen is a bit beyond my understanding but that’s the Cro-Magnon Dad in me. Oovoo offers what is essentially a web conference to six different participants at a time. More people can be included but then it converts to a pay model.
Oovoo.com also is a free platform, although like Skype one can upgrade to a pay model in order to receive more features and functionality. Where Skype tries to take the offer down the path of offering web to land line phone calls (for a price), Oovoo is headed more in the direction of free real-time web conferencing. www.citrix.com (gotomypc.com and gotomeeting.com are their properties) and www.Webex.com beware as well.
The marketing implications of how Oovoo could be used are significant. For example forums can be put together in real time for things like real estate where residents and potential buyers could view and discuss in real time what it’s like to live in a particular place – schools, services, neighborhoods. Rather than obtain all their intelligence from a real estate agent. And the opportunity to hold product focus groups are quite a bit different when viewed AND heard.
At home, or mobile web conferencing for many people is vastly underutilized but I believe that trend is changing and changing fast. True we don’t always want whomever to see what we look like when talking on the phone and I have one associate who prides himself on being shot from the chest-up in his nice shirt while wearing a pair of basketball shorts that nobody sees. Unless of course, he’s asked to stand up.
Check out Oovoo.com and let me know what you think. They are #2 but like Avis I believe they are trying harder.