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  1. #1
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Experience with video-conferencing software?

    Has anyone any experience with <img src=/S/free.gif border=0 alt=free width=30 height=15> video-conferencing software, such as ooVoo, to connect together simultaneously several people, each with a PC or laptop, webcam, headset (or microphone/speakers)? I'm afraid ooVoo looks a bit 'kiddy', but that's all that has been suggested so far.

    Someone at work has a sudden enthusiasm to do this among like-minded people, to avoid everyone (minus one!) having to take time out to travel from their normal places of work to a central point. And, yes, of course, the bid for equipment has to go in by the middle of next week, leaving no time for proof of concept, etc...

    No point anyone responding, "What's wrong with the telephone?" - I've been there...

    Thanks!
    BATcher

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  2. #2
    4 Star Lounger
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    Re: Experience with video-conferencing software?

    Hi Batcher,

    I've not had experience with software/pc based conferencing as such. I have worked for organisations that spent tens of thousands of dollars on the hardware to make video conferencing happen via phone lines and they have, IMO, wasted their money.

    Reasons for this include:
    1. not enough people learn how to use the equipment and when they leave the info is not passed on
    2. it is seen as a solution to a problem that everyone SAYS exists but deep down I think people like to travel and get away from the office
    3. the technology doesn't deliver the look and feel of a real meeting and people don't feel good about it.

    Personally, I like the travel. I live in a town that is 600km from Sydney and 500km from Melbourne. If I have to go to the city for a meeting, I'm going!! It usually means an overnight stay, so dinner somewhere different, perhaps a movie that is not going to show here, or some other show. Or just a chance to enjoy the bustle and noise. And going home is the best bit! And even when the meeting is closer to home, I still enjoy getting out for the drive. You get to see the seasons change, see what the farmers are doing, and generally get a feel for the rural-ness of where I live.

    I'll get off my soap box now.

    What was the question??

  3. #3
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Experience with video-conferencing software?

    I work for an organisation that has invested in top of the range video conferencing facilities and I think they are really worthwhile. Especially for relatively short meetings where the alternative would be a voice only conference, not a flight!

    StuartR

  4. #4
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Re: Experience with video-conferencing software?

    Thanks, Johanna and Stuart!

    This idea in fact relates to a number of like-minded organisations who have just been on a "What you can do with IT!" course, and have been enthused by the idea of being able to see the people they have to talk with rather than just hear one of them at a time on the telephone. Of course, being charities and voluntary-sector organisations, it has to be done on the cheap - there may be some money available for hardware which has to be spent before the end of March and the bid has to be in before next Thursday. And I was told about it yesterday.

    My deep scepticism about the viability of the concept is reinforced by more looking round the ooVoo website, where it indicates that up to three consenting adults can perform the video-conferencing act free - but if the meeting is for up to six people (the maximum) that will cost each of their organisations a fee of $10 per month... Peanuts for most firms, but with income streams to charities drying up faster than a river bed in the dry season, I'm not sure how far it will get. How cheap is email, after all?
    BATcher

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  5. #5
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Experience with video-conferencing software?

    Batcher,

    I'm sorry that my previous reply didn't help with your original query. I have no experience of these consumer products, but I suspect you are right and that your charities would be better off using email and the phone.

    I do use the combination of audio-conference and NetMeeting quite a lot, and that can be very effective for working in a group of people who all know each other.

    StuartR

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