Blog Archives

WebRTC Video Conferencing Test via Vidtel

Me meeting with me

Video conferencing with myself. 🙂

Got an email from Vidtel a few weeks ago announcing the ability to connect to Vidtel video conferencing using WebRTC on my Chrome browser.

I did a really quick test since I think this technology is awesome and will move video conferencing one step closer to ubiquity.

What I Did

Since my first review of Vidtel, they have left a room on their system for me to test with (thank you Vidtel!!).  So using that room (2819) and entering the correct pin, I did the following.

1. Dialed my Vidtel virtual room using Chrome.

Figure 1: Connected to room need to enter PIN

Figure 1: Connected to room need to enter PIN

2. Entered the correct pin to connect to my room.

Figure 2: Connected to the meeting room, waiting for participants.

Figure 2: Connected to the meeting room, waiting for participants.

3. Dialed my Vidtel “MeetMe” room using Google Chat on my Smartphone.

video-conference-via-androi

Figure 3: Android smartphone video conferencing participant entered the meeting

Once connected, I changed the layout (figure 4) and then added the keyboard (figure 5).

Figure 4:  Changed the layout.

Figure 4: Changed the layout and moved me.

Figure 5:  Popped up the keypad

Figure 5: Popped up the keypad

There is so much more you can do…give it a try!

Conclusion

Using WebRTC to connect to a video conference is one more, albeit it major, step to bringing video conferencing to the masses.

Using your browser makes connecting to a video conference super easy. Once connected, the audio and video quality are excellent.

I love to see companies move the technology forward.  Bravo Vidtel!  🙂

Google Chat on Motorola Atrix Smartphone

In the process of evaluating the ZTE ZXV10 T700 (I will post the entire product review by weeks end…I hope), I went ahead and made a three way video conferencing call using  our friends at cloud-based video conferencing service provider Vidtel.

The picture above shows a Google Chat connection via my Toshiba Laptop computer (middle), the ZTE using H.323 (top), and my Motorola Atrix smartphone again using Google Chat (bottom right).

On the phone, I can change the camera, mute the mic, and send text chats.  In fact, Vidtel recognizes some of the text chats as commands…..very cool!

The moral of the story is this:

You are no longer tied to a conference room to participate in a video conference!  Anytime, anyplace, anywhere is here……NOW!

More to follow….

List of Cloud Based Video Conferencing Companies

Cloud-based video conferencing is a great way for small to medium sized businesses to get involved with multi-point video conferencing.

These businesses do not need to purchase expensive infrastructure components, nor do they need the support personnel needed to run that infrastructure.  Simply sign up for a relatively inexpensive cloud-based service and meet with your clients, colleagues, friends, and family.  The quality is great and the services are on 24 x 7.

Use this blog post as your jumping point to the world of cloud-based video conferencing.

This is a living breathing blog post that will grow over time, so check back often!   🙂

Comment below with more to add to this list….

Blue Jeans Network

http://BlueJeans.com

Google Chat, Skype, H.323, Telephone call-in, Web RTC browser, Microsoft LYNC,  SIP is in Beta.  Schedule a meeting or an instant meeting to fire up the virtual room.  People call in or the system can call them.  Full administration to add, drop, mute, etc.

TelBitConsulting.com review coming soon.

EasyMeeting

http://EasyMeeting.net

This snippet is from their web site: “The easyConference3 or 6 is a cloud service that enables several video conferencing systems to connect in the same meeting. This is a service where you can seamlessly collaborate with any videoconferencing system, and Win/Mac, iPhone/iPad. To join, you only need to dial the EasyNumber and meet ”

LifeSize Connections

http://LifeSize.com
H.323 EP’s supported: LifeSize Endpoints (Passport / 220 / Unity Series
SIP EP’s supported:  LifeSize Endpoints (Passport / 220 / Unity Series

Completely ad hoc and guaranteed availability e.g. reservation-less
Virtual WaterCooler call in is supported, up to 12 hour call duration on multiparty, unlimited on one to one calls.
Adminstration:  All call participants have the ability to add/drop participants, share content etc. Connections is chair-person-less.

Liveconf

H.323, SIP, Skype, and Audisoft Frontline Communicator  connectivity.  Supports Android and iOS mobile devices as well as “kits” available for Windows and Mac computers.  Up to 10 participants in a meeting, can share presentations, etc.

MyEasyConnection (G2J)

http://www.g2j.com/solutions/c1/my-easy-connection.html

This is from the G2J web site:  ”

Using G2J’s virtual rooms, you can connect all these people to the same meeting:

VeaMea

http://www.veamea.com

H.323 and SIP EP’s.  Dial-out only (dial-in due 2013), administration for add, drops, mutes, etc, schedule a meeting or fire up an ad hoc meeting via presence and instant dial-out.  Mobile apps are now in alpha…

Vidtel

http://Vidtel.com.

Ad-hoc dial-in using Google Chat, H.323, SIP, Skype, Telephone call-in.  Virtual WaterCooler like meeting rooms always available.   Administration features coming soon.

See my review.

VidyoWay

http://Vidyo.com

From the Vidyo web site:  “Enables seamless inter-connectivity of Cisco, Polycom, Lifesize, and other legacy H.323 and SIP-based endpoints, supports Microsoft Lync and voice only devices, provides free mobile client for users without access to legacy VC or MS Lync”

WebEx

http://www.webex.com/plans/meetings-plans.html

Downloaded app on your browser, presentations / desktop sharing, video conferencing (3 for free).  Mobile apps available.

More to come soon….help me build it!  

Comment below!  🙂

Evaluating Cloud Based Video Conferencing: VidTel

(reliable, high quality, virtual meetings)

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:

VidTel: A Cloud Based Video Conferencing Service

For those who read this blog, you know one thing:  I love cloud-based video conferencing.

But why?

Well…..I was sitting back the other day pondering life when it hit me (yeah, I am slow).  I proposed, then designed, the ESnet H.323 architecture starting in 1999, then ultimately put it into production in January 2004:   The ESnet Collaboration Architecture was probably the first (maybe second next to Ohio State’s Megaconference) “cloud-based” video conferencing service.  We were “cloud-based” before cloud-based was cool (love ya, Barbara).

Anyway…..ESnet H.323 ultimately served well over 1,500 endpoints (from research organizations to universities to companies) worldwide with an efficient “ad-hoc” (we were also the first ad-hoc dial in) service that saved millions in ISDN connection fees.  FYI….Many of the the LHC scientists used ESnet collaboration during the LHC design phase.

An added benefit to H.323 vs ISDN was fast, reliable, inexpensive, and high-quality.  Win, win, win, win.

My friend, Tom Mills (Polycom) turned me on to VidTel, and since I do not remember hearing about VidTel…..I took a quick peek at their web site, and what I see is 2/3 interesting and 1/3 confusing.

According to the web site, it looks to me that VidTel has three components.

Let’s look at the interesting, and easy to understand, first.

VidTel’s MeetMe (which appears to be ad-hoc dial-in by the way) is a cloud-based service capable of connecting multiple vendor endpoints, including, mobile devices.

With the correct registration you can meet via the cloud with colleagues using virtually any VC endpoint, anytime the urge strikes.  Simple and cool.

The VidTel Gateway interconnects the MeetMe service meeting participants with Google Talk / Chat and Skype.  Very cool and needed.

Now the confusing:

The VidTel Connect which allows two endpoints to connect point-to-point.   I would like to chat with a VidTel techy about this, but, maybe firewalls are the culprit here??  To me….dialing an IP address (or E.164, or whatever), is, maybe only to me, viable since you can simply put the number in the phonebook and dial it when needed.

None other than the CEO of VidTel replied (see also the comments):

Our Vidtel Connect service is, in fact, about helping customers get through firewalls. As you know, the common practice today is either to put video units outside the firewall on the public internet (what could go wrong?) with difficult IP configuration or behind the firewall with hard to access b2b calling.

We provide a publicly accessible address (an email-like address because it’s based on SIP e.g,number@vidtel.com) and NAT/firewall traversal + unlimited point to point video calling. We can also add PSTN functionality like a regular phone number and the ability to make unlimited phone calls in N. America – all for the price of a monthly phone service.

Back to firewalls.  Remembering how we did it at ESnet, we used the MCU’s to connect 2 to XX endpoints in a meeting. In other words, to get around any firewall issues at the far end, the “trusted” ESnet MCU’s / Gatekeepers were allowed to connect, so even point-to-point meetings went through the trusted MCU’s.

VidTel may be doing something similar here….???  Comments welcome!

VidTel Costs

I do not get involved with costs since they sometimes require a PhD in Finanace to understand, so here is a link.  🙂   I will study that at a later time….

Conclusion

Cloud-based video conferencing makes sense from every perspective.  It is here to stay and will change the way companies (small to medium to large) do business.

Love it!  🙂