Evaluating Cloud Based Video Conferencing: VidTel

(reliable, high quality, virtual meetings)

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The True Value of Video Conferencing

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: support@gmail.com, 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.

My Findings

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:

H.323 endpoint:  65.50.196.118 then 2819  to enter the conf room
SIP EP:  2819@vidtel.com
Google Chat:  2819@vidtel.com
Skype:  vidtel.2819.2, or vidtel.2819.1 (add these “rooms” to your contact list first…then do a video call)
Phone:  1-650-741-7616 then 2819

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.

Conclusion

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:

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About Mike Pihlman

Owner of AltamontCowork, a coworking location in Tracy, CA. I am the Director of ForCarol.com a 501c3 non-profit that awards college scholarships to local scholars in honor of my daughter's best friend, and our part-time daughter, Carol Phan who we lost on Sept 18, 2010, Book Review blogger (TracyReaderDad.com).

Posted on July 31, 2012, in Cloud, Collaboration, Product Reviews, VideoConferencing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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