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?

Comments ( 11 )
  • Ian Shaw says:

    We are currently testing VSee with a charity in the UK where they are looking for a better way to manage people in remote locations. Early days but it looks promising. Reading your blog I did a zoom test on Saturday to my family holidaying in France. The video was not that good and the sound didn’t work on their iPad, so went back to using FaceTime which is excellent for one-to-one Apple communications.

    For personal communications we tend to use our iPads and can’t wait to get the VSee iPad app. When are you likely to release this app?

  • anne says:

    Thanks for cheering us on, Ian! We hope to launch iPad in the next 1-2 months :)

  • Chester Huang says:

    Has Vsee launch IPAD IPHONE?

  • anne says:

    Hi Chester,
    Hang in there! We’re still in submission process.

  • Yi Qu says:

    Is VSee P2P or cloud-based? As a Zoom blog article says, group conference should works better with cloud-based technology – i.e. there are servers to help forwarding traffic.

  • milton says:

    vsee is p2p. Zoom is correct that large group video conference is best over the cloud. however, for small group, p2p is better. no servers to stream and the potential security risk of your data going to someone’s servers.

  • Yi Qu says:

    Thanks Milton,
    performance is my concern for 1on1 or small group video conference. I am happy to see VSee works on mobile device on 3G, which Zoom failed. But I notice Zoom is much faster in screen sharing in a 1on1 talk. Is that because they have dedicated bandwidth between server from NA to China?

    By the way, VSee needs improvement on recording. I want hear all speakers in record of any attendant. Right now, I can only hear the speaker’s own voice in his/her record. Screen sharing record is good to have for users with good network connection.

    Thanks

  • anne says:

    Hi Yi Qu,
    You can playback recordings simultaneously using VLC – please see our blog posting here: http://vsee.com/blog/vsee-recording-playing-mkv-files/

  • Yi Qu says:

    Thanks. This tip works!

  • Eileen Simpson says:

    I have iPad air I find it hard to find the volume button. I Can only find Internet and dial in. It is frustrating

  • anne says:

    Hi Eileen – You need to be in a call for the volume adjustment to show. It appears at the bottom of the callee’s video window when you touch the video window. Thanks!

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