VSee For iPad Released In Apple App Store Today!

VSee iPad app is out in the Apple App Store today! You can get the free download here.

Humongous thanks to the VSee iOS team for their hard work, and thanks to our VSee fans for your patience :)

VSee iPad video conference

Move Over FaceTime

The long awaited VSee for iPad allows group video for up to 5 callers. Additional callers will be included as audio-only.  This initial release of VSee for iPad also includes private text chat.

Give VSee for iPad a try today, and tell us what you think!

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Zoom – New Kid On the Block (15 Friends Video Chat Free in High Def)

Zoom Video ChatThe newly launched Zoom Video Communications hit the waves last Tuesday and received a rave review from WSJ’s Walt Mossberg.  In his AllThingsD review of Zoom, Mossberg was wowed by Zoom’s “free, high-definition, group video calls for up to 15 people simultaneously,” its ability to work over “wired and WiFi Internet connections, or cellular 3G and 4G networks,” and its “sharp and smooth” video quality.  He also approved of the text chat and screen sharing features.

I also gave it a whirl.  And I like it a lot.  The product is simple, the video quality is good, and it has basic screen sharing.  It also supports mobile devices – a big plus!

I was relieved, however, to discover that VSee video performance has a huge advantage compared to Zoom for group conferencing or when the network is not fast (like DSL, WiFi, 3G, etc, similar to the VSee advantage over Skype).

Zoom also made some less appealing design decisions like its voice activated switching.  This can get very annoying since often we don’t want to see the speaker, but a particular audience member.  Zoom also does not offer any security,  and its screen sharing does not allow remote control or annotation.  I should mention, this is a bit of an unfair comparison since Zoom is a consumer app, while VSee is designed for work.  Overall, I have to agree with Mossberg – Zoom did a great job!!

Zoom is founded by former WebEx/Cisco VP of Engineering Eric Yuan.  Eric did a superman job growing WebEx from 10 to 800 engineers.  Eric was also an investor and advisor to Tango.  Additional web searches suggest that their engineering team is in China, and they wrote their version of H.264 SVC, like Vidyo.

It will be interesting to see how Zoom pivots in its future.  Will it go after Vidyo or Tango?  Will it become a plugin for social networks or something else?  Right now it is neither consumer enough nor enterprise enough – and that tends to be the Death Valley for video companies.  I’m looking forward to seeing their next steps :)

Update: Will Zoom’s new enterprise offering hurt Vidyo and Blue Jeans?

In the Year of Video Calling

Has The Day Arrived?

Polycom isn’t the only one who thinks that the interactive video field is ripe for harvest.  Zillions of video and web conferencing solutions have been popping up trying to get a piece of what looks to be a giant roast.  Consider the signs…

The video conferencing industry has also gotten a big push from a tight economy, rising gas prices, and a fear of Continue reading

Video Calling Going Mobile?

Summary:  Should VSee bet on Android while Apple is still going strong?  Either way, figures support the trend towards video calling and videoconferencing from mobile devices.

The other day, a good friend of VSee advised us to ditch our Mac OS and even iOS efforts and to go for the Android market.  I’m not sure that I agree.  Although Android is growing by leaps and bounds, the numbers I found show that Apple still has a very happy lead.  Consider the case of Instagram, a mobile photo-sharing app which is only available on iOS, yet now has 5 million users only 4 months after it’s initial launch!  GigaOm writer Ryan Kim also has some doubts about Android’s potential to take over in this area.

What I do agree with is the takeover of the mobile market.  Regardless of whether it’s Apple, Android, Palm, or RIM,  mobile is in and PCs/laptops are going out.  At Qualcomm’s Uplinq conference early in June this year, CEO Paul Jacobs pointed out:

  • 1.3 billion 3G connections worldwide with 2 billion more connections by 2015
  • mobile data use will increase 10 to 12 times over the next four years
  • hundreds of networks are offering mobile broadband
  • 200 of the latest LTE networks are in the works, 20 of which have already launched
  • Google Maps usage on mobile is far greater than its usage on the desktop.

For VSee it means knowing that video calling is moving over to mobile.  According to a survey conducted last August through September by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Project,  6% of all American adults have used their cell phones for a video call or video conference.  Another survey conducted by marketing consultant iGR at approximately the same time last year reported even higher numbers with 13% of those surveyed owning smart phones and using them for some kind of video calling.

Pew Research Center also found that video calling in general had increased since their last survey in April 2009.  On any given day the percentage of people in a video call was 4%, up from 2%.  Both surveys had similar numbers of 23 and 24% for the people who had ever participated in a video call (which means still plenty of room for growth :))

What’s really interesting is that the iGR survey also found that 71% think that a smart phone is one of the best devices for video communications with 57% have some kind of interest in being able to video call from something other than a PC. So what’s holding people back?   Lack of equipment or just camera-shy?

iGR found that 38% of those surveyed did not have a video camera for whatever device they were using.  Another problem might be the availability of cross-platform applications.  Even though people might want to go mobile, most video calls are still done via PC, and a review of Facebook’s Skype integration notes “Currently, the limitation with third-party video chat apps like Fring, Qik, and Tango, is that most of them don’t work with PC’s and Mac users, though they’re cross-platform when it comes to mobile.”

Btw, if you’re too impatient to wait for the future VSeeMobile :),  Tango, Qik, and Facetime are some great video calling tools available for your mobile device now.

Now getting back to my original inspiration what would you bet on?  Apple or Android?  PC, Smartphone or tablet?

 

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photo courtesy: n93ilandscape2