Feature Friday: Videoconferencing Services

At USV, we have tried many different videoconferencing services over the years.

I use Google Hangouts for my personal videoconferences.

But as a firm, we are currently using Zoom.

And we have a number of Beam devices to allow people to “beam into” meetings.

Many of the portfolio companies I work with are using Bluejeans.

So I am curious to find out what all of you use in your businesses (not personal like Facetime).

#Random Posts

Comments (Archived):

  1. dovcohn

    We are a Google Apps shop, so Hangouts is our choice. I love the ability to, with one click, add a Hangout link to a meeting invite or email. It makes it super convenient for scheduling – no cutting and pasting of URLs and phone numbers.I have also been using Slack’s voice chat quite a bit lately. I expect Video will soon follow, and that will be convenient as well for 1:1 face to face.

  2. JimHirshfield

    HangoutsSlack voice calls (surprisingly great quality)UberconferenceSkype

    1. Eric Friedman

      +1 for slack voice calls (when it works it works great)

  3. Chris O'Donnell

    We are also a Google Apps shop, so we use Hangouts for internal company meetings. However clients often want to use their favorite services so I’ve got just about every videoconferencing app on my Mac.

    1. creative group

      Chris O’Donnell:Mac? Are people still using that overpriced contraption?

  4. Pointsandfigures


    1. Donna Brewington White

      Will have to try the video feature (which I wasn’t aware of). Love the service overall and the ability to have a dedicated conference line with no codes. Not to mention the hold song. That alone is worth the whole subscription price.Is it much better than Skype?

      1. pointsnfigures

        never used the video, we just voice conference.

      2. K_Berger

        No joke, just the hold song makes it the best free conference calling service around (never tried video).

  5. William Mougayar

    Hangouts or Skype. One of my former employees from Engagio went to work for Bluejeans.

    1. Abdallah Al-Hakim

      Thanks for the shoutout William πŸ™‚

  6. Matt Zagaja

    We use both Adobe Connect and Google Hangouts. Between the two Google Hangouts is significantly better.

    1. Adam Lemmon

      Also a heavy user of Adobe Connect — it has some good features, but I do prefer Google Hangouts (I only use Google hangouts for personal). Working with my small team on a side project: we use Zoom and we do like it.

    2. Alex Murphy

      Do you pay for Connect? If so, will you stop and go with something else or is there a feature in Connect that is a must have?

    3. JLM

      .I used Adobe Connect for a couple of remote classes I took and it was fabulous. It is not easy but it is very capable.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  7. Rob Underwood

    At Relay we used Zoom.For many years it felt to me like three things – printing, connecting a laptop to a projector, and teleconferencing – would never become easier or better.As I watch people continue to stuggle with config menus to print a test page in order to find the printer IP address ultimately to try (and often fail) to connect to the printer, and as I watch nearly every in person meeting that requires a presentation start 10 minutes late while someone wrestles with the projector (“do we have an HDMI adaptor for a Mac?”), I am glad the last of that list has seen new entrants and an improved user experience.

  8. PhilipSugar

    I would love to know how many people are like me and have their camera permanently taped over.I don’t want to do a video conference.If people could see me half the time I did an audio conference (Singapore, Sydney, London, and Dubai) they would be appalled. I am clothed but I don’t want anybody seeing me.

    1. Rob Underwood

      I have it taped over. It probably seems conspriasy theory-ish but I have seen enough to buy that a camera could be be turned on without the “green light” going on (though not easily). And apps like FaceTime have a habit of not turning the camera off. More generally I like the control of being able to manually lift the tape and let the camera “come live.”

      1. PhilipSugar

        They do sell shutters for it: https://www.amazon.com/Fami…I just never want mine on. I don’t want to get people used to the idea that I will accept that.

      2. B. Llewellyn Shepard

        Mine is taped over, but I peel it back when I use GoToMeeting

        1. LE

          Try a 2×2 postit note….

          1. PhilipSugar

            They give the shutters out at places like blackhathttps://www.blackhat.com/us…

      3. JLM

        .If you only knew what the NSA is able to do with a camera, you’d drill it out. Snowden spilled the beans on this.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. LE

          Geez even I hacked a fairly simple way to be able to take pictures from someone’s webcam without alerting them. Didn’t have time to figure out the video part but I’d imagine I’d be able to do that if I wanted to.For the video one way to do it would be to perhaps create false alarms enough that the person would ignore the light being on at least for the brief time that you wanted to film them. Or some type of social engineering to get them to ignore the light being on (email from ‘Apple’ or something like that).

          1. Donna Brewington White

            You just convinced me. Grabbed the duct tape for now.

          2. Jess Bachman

            Make sure you buy off brand duct tape. The Duck brand of tape is run by John Kahl who was college roomates with Keith Alexander, NSA director up until 2014. Duck brand duct tape has been comprimized to allow video recording even when the camera is taped by using the phones flash to trigger a photostatic membrane on the tape, making it possible to “see” through the tape.This is 15% true.

          3. Donna Brewington White


          4. JLM

            .This would make a great plot for a book. Thanks.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          5. Alex Murphy

            “15% true” … wow how many things does this apply to today?Nice to end the week on a bit of humor … I hope its all humor anyway. πŸ™‚

          6. JLM

            .The NSA has the capability to run your camera and to listen to everything going on in its presence. This was a highly guarded secret for at least 7 years.In this manner, they can run face recognition software and voice print a shithead on a burner.It was pretty cool while it lasted.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          7. Jess Bachman

            Well.. this explains my phones poor battery life.

          8. Chimpwithcans

            That’s insane….a school??!!! Off to buy some thick tape.

          9. PhilipSugar

            Oh yeah. Took 66k pictures, caught a kid smoking pot in his bedroom and suspended him.I think everybody involved including the principal should have had child porn charges levied against them gone to serious prison and been put on the child offender list.They got off easy.

          10. JLM

            .One reads something like this and you want to just ask — how did people this stupid get in charge of educating our children?Having said that, I can believe it completely.That “special” kind of stupid.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          11. PhilipSugar

            Can you imagine? If I took 100 pictures of kids in their bedrooms I am certain I would find something not illegal that they were doing but something I should never see or have. Under penalty of going to prison and being put in general pop. 66k???

          12. LE

            As much as I don’t agree with what Peter Thiel did with Gawker (funding lawsuit) sometimes I wish I had a billion dollars so I could assign investigative teams to look into things like this and/or maybe make a movie about it….

          13. PhilipSugar

            Ah, it would just destroy you. It’s like arguing with trolls or discussing politics.It really was BS. We both know the district well.I am really shocked more people didn’t get up in arms. Have the school district pay off the suit and not have people go to jail??? It wasn’t just a rouge employee. Many and the principal staff knew.This is the perfect case for when people say: “If you don’t have anything to hide, you shouldn’t have to worry”Yes, they caught a teenage boy in his bedroom smoking pot.There are other things teenage boys do in their bedroom that are not illegal that I am sure some pervert would get pleasure seeing.It’s also a perfect example of how big organizations corrupt. (and as a Catholic I totally realize)Can you imagine somebody coming to you and telling you this was their plan??I’ll give you another work story:I had somebody come to me on behalf of an employee to say a female employee was being harassed by her boss.I went and asked her. Immediately hired her, her own attorney, and then we had discussions on what to do.The end of the story was she didn’t want to do anything but I transferred her and window seated her boss.(the real story was she had consensual relations with him at a trade show and he thought it would continue and she thought it was a huge mistake)Nobody was willing to confirm that on the record so I couldn’t really do anything more than I did.But it was legend when he came to my office and said: Why didn’t I support him? Nobody had ever heard me yell as loud as I did that day: I was yelling: “You did this in my house?? In my F’ing house!”, over and over.They both ended up leaving of their own choice within six months.

          14. LE

            What does “window seated” mean?For Lower Merion part of it may have been people not wanting to tarnish the schools reputation and the town reputation. By quietly getting rid of it property values remain high and the schools rep will still be good with colleges. Perhaps the way the local residents think. You pay all this money to live in a nice place, why fuck that up. This is subtle of course, think of how you think of locations that you don’t know that well that have something notorious surrounding them (like Amityville one example).A well known place can survive this a less known place not as well.For example look what happened to Penn State as a result of Sandusky. (And that was well know). Not that I ever thought much of Penn State but I think the thing that it was about is now gone.

          15. LE

            By the way, with the employee what exactly made you care that much and assume it wasn’t in some way consensual (if I understand what you are saying).

          16. LE

            I know of that suit but didn’t follow it closely. I don’t get why someone didn’t go to jail for that. The Montco DA was a neighbor of ours growing up (I know the family). My sister babysat for her actually. For this case it’s almost like the fix was in, that school district has a great deal of connections and power.

          17. PhilipSugar

            Yes. The fix was in.

    2. Donna Brewington White

      I’ve done a few video calls from my home office in a button down shirt and sweatpants.

      1. Michael Elling

        The future is CGI. For me, click a button, white shirt, dark jacket, nice tie, shave. Oh and please handle the damn lighting (back and foreground). Hmmmh and while they’re at it, nice library collection in the background.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          That’s funny. Oh the possibilities…I’d settle for not having to put on makeup when I’m working from home and not leaving the house. But at least I don’t have to shave. Feel for you on that.

        2. Mario Cantin

          Yup, and everyone starts looking better than Brad Pitt … until you meet them in the flesh.

          1. Michael Elling

            It gets worse. AI. I used to joke in the 1990s that my ex’s PIM (personal information manager) would communicate/coordinate with my PIM. Then she found social media. Then we got divorced. What new (un)realities await us?

      2. LE

        You should do a green screen and have the background be the coast in Malibu (where you are, right?).

      3. awaldstein

        everyone is doing the same thing.

    3. Anne Libby


    4. jason wright

      My Chromebook’s camera is permanently taped. I never do video.

    5. Kurt Stangl

      I keep mine covered unless I’m using it…

    6. Vivek Kumar

      I do cover them with small post its . Have enough friends in infosec community do me not to do it. Use bluejeans at work & hangouts for collaborating outside work.

    7. LE

      Agree. I don’t use video for business (personal to talk to the kids of course). For me it would take to much work to have to control for visual references given my work environment. Messy office with all sorts of papers that I’d have to make sure aren’t in the background. Additionally I would run the risk that someone would interpret my facial reactions because that is what I do when in person (iim) or I’d be doing on a video call (iim). So I have to assume the worse case scenario (important information leaked) on that point.My cover of choice is a 2×2 postit note.

      1. PhilipSugar

        I don’t even do with my wife. The problem is as soon as you do it once it’s expected every time.There are many, many reasons you don’t want this. Maybe it’s not the most important call in the world to you and you want to monitor. Maybe you are really dragged out from a 17 hour flight, maybe you are sick, or not dressed, or……But once you’ve done one people correctly assume that if you don’t do it you are hiding something.I’ll tell you a funny story, which builds on yesterday.After we were bought they really wanted to put in a video conferencing system. As I was explaining that I really didn’t want one. I kept hearing a thump, thump, thump on my door.Finally, I finished that call and successfully pushed it off. The thumps were my guys had taken the beautiful thick corporate motivational posters that were sent to me and had made them into paper airplanes, and they were having a contest on who could get theirs to fly the furthest. My door was at the end of the corridor.

        1. LE

          I don’t even do with my wife. The problem is as soon as you do it once it’s expected every time.I don’t get that actually. I never have a problem saying no or simply not taking a video call on facetime. I have a guy that has been working for me literally since 2001 as a sub. We have never seen each other and never done video chat. I decided to keep it that way on purpose actually.But once you’ve done one people correctly assume that if you don’t do it you are hiding something.Well fwiw I don’t think that. I just think they don’t want to do it then for some reason. I am a suspicious person by nature but I never think that.My daughters frequently turn down facetime requests with me and I never question or give them a hard time over it.the beautiful thick corporate motivational posters that were sent to meThat’s pretty funny actually.I called my wife the other day and she didn’t even know I did facetime with her. She was in the car and the phone was in the tray facing up. After a while I said “you know you are on video”. She didn’t know since all she did was take a bluetooth call on the car speaker.

    8. Mark Essel

      For me dressing up is throwing on a Hawaiian T. Exercise shirts & shorts 11.5 months out of the year (the stretchy/breathable dry fit stuff)I video conference all the time, but clients/associates who expect business attire will be disappointed.

    9. awaldstein

      I’m on the other side of the fence.For scheduled client call, for business call with designers I like video. Also helps me with international where accents get lost on me.Biggest beef with most video conference systems, especially call into a conference room full of people is audio quality. Needs more focus.

  9. jochend

    We’re almost 100% remote organisation and use basically skype for spontaneous conversations & videos and Google hangouts for scheduled or periodic video conferences, even have some permanent “24/7” hangouts running

  10. Alex Barkley

    We use BlueJeans and as we have offices across the globe VC is really essential.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      Had to reread this a couple of times because I couldn’t figure out the “venture capital” reference.Pre-caffeine.

      1. Michael Elling

        Simple. VCs on VC. Or VCs VCing.

      2. LE

        An example of priming in action.

  11. Eric Friedman

    Video conferencing stack + issues with each :)Hangouts (gdocs are suuuuper slow when using)Skype (hit or miss and lots of spam accounts and friends accounts compromised so I get spam)Xoom (works well)Join.me (trusted for screen demos)BlueJeans ($$$$$)Fallbacks when video fails – the failure waterfall if you will;VOIP in officeGoogle voiceMobile (terrible service at my office location)Slack voice UberConferenceThe funniest thing about this post is that it could have been written anytime in the last 10 years as this is such an unsolved problem. Shows that there is still room for a better system and even the big companies haven’t solved it yet.

    1. Ronnie Rendel

      Same stack basically by us. And yes, we never know at any time HOW we shoudl conference this time. Wasting 10-30% of every meeting on this.

    2. Mark Essel

      slack voice is nice, looking forward to slack video/screen sharing

    3. Blake Brinker

      @Eric – I posted this below- was meant as a reply to you:Re: your last point – There has been a real lack of innovation in this space; My team and I are in the process of changing that. We believe that it’s not the fundamental AV that needs to be innovated upon, it’s the capabilities surrounding the AV communications themselves.So, I ask you this: How many times have you wanted to go back to something that was said in a previous meeting for retrospective / clarity? (Board meeting, Executive management meeting, etc).Sadly, we aren’t capable of remembering everything that we or other people said, despite the best notes and or memories. Not to mention, so many elements of face to face communication are non-verbal, so even if we recorded the audio or took amazing notes…our retrospective falls short. Don’t even get me started about using current tools to record the video communications…who has the time to go back and watch every meeting over again. But, what if those communications were all indexed and archived ready for you to toggle through and or search from instantly?Communication is the most important aspect of a companies culture and we currently don’t have a tool which helps us really keep track of what’s said.We have built Evercast – a video communications software solution which integrates Apple like design simplicity with intelligent back end functionality to enable search (audio & interactive) for super fast playback to the most important moments.In other words: you still get the normal bells and whistles of Zoom, Hangouts, Skype for Biz, BlueJeans (but with 2016 tech / design behind it) – I.e. Screensharing, multiple streams, attendees, etc – AND you get intelligent capture and interaction mechanisms like never before.If you are interested in experiencing Evercast, you can email me at [email protected] a great day!

      1. Eric Friedman

        Interesting – ill take a look and send an email

      2. email

        I see some pushback in terms of ‘discovery’ πŸ˜‰

        1. Blake Brinker

          Sure, no question about that. Makes it so everyone has to be “buttoned up” πŸ™‚ However, the product can also be used in streaming mode without recording, in the event of having small talk or “off the record” communication.What has been interesting is that since we started private beta very few beta groups have received much push back on the “discovery” portion. Mainly because they have already been recording certain communications. (I.e. board meetings, executive management meetings, interviews) – One of the core reasons people who have already been recording are interested in adopting because they normally have to use a patchwork of tools to inefficiently achieve what Evercast efficiently achieves with one product.

          1. email

            Sounds interesting Blake. Is it an automated speech-to-text that then uses a searchable text track alongside the video ?I used to do this waaaaay back in the day with Quicktime. You could add an (invisible) text track to a Quicktime movie with time stamps for the spoken word. You could then just use the CTRL+F to search for keywords, the Quicktime player would snap to that timecode in the video and play back. I always thought it was very cool, but struggled to find applications for it.

    4. David Danto

      If you approach a collaboration plan the right way and choose the correct solutions you can easily install a system that is 100% reliable and easy to use. Unfortunately, for every reliable solution out there there are a half dozen lousy ones trying to masquerade as enterprise ready when they’re not . Leave Hangouts, Duo, Skype, Facetime and the rest of the consumer grade apps for chatting with the kids while at college. If the call fails no big deal. Choose an enterprise grade plan and solutions when failure is not a viable option.

    5. awaldstein

      Thanks.My biggest issue calling into board room type of situations with a dozen people in the room and 4-5 calling in is the audio.Not the audio on the remote nodes but in the conference rooms. Super painful during long meetings.

      1. Alex Murphy

        +100 on this!!Does anyone have a really good audio recommendation for large conference rooms?

          1. Alex Murphy

            that looks impressive.always scary when they don’t show the price and say call for a demo … they are essentially saying “you will fall so in love that you will pay anything.”

          2. Ash Bye

            It runs about the same price as a Polycom Sound station, but you have to use it with Dolby audio conferencing as well, which you can get from CommuniCloud or BT. I was working for BT when Dolby developed he technology out of Australia, it’s no gimmick! Also, because you can join Dolby conferences from your laptop or Wifi connection it eliminates access costs, which are the most expensive parts of conference calling. Happy to tell you more if you’re interested πŸ™‚

  12. João Gonçalves

    We use GoToMeeting but I want to use UberConf for a while now.

  13. John Pepper

    GoTo meeting still works really well for us.

  14. rich caccappolo

    We use Vidyo. We use it every day to connect around the globe. It’s performed really well for us.

  15. MC210

    The company I work for uses WebEx but is migrating towards Skype from what I’ve heard. Besides the long start up time, I don’t have an issue with WebEx most days. The problem comes when meeting rooms have different setup/start up procedures, as that adds time and most people run late as meetings will inevitably end on the hour or run over, and the next meeting also starts on the hour.

  16. jenrobinson

    Hangouts with Google Chromebox in every conference room.

  17. creative group

    Gotomeeting (Multiple people, stake holders, sellers, buyers).Google Duo (One on one) Cautious because Google may not support platform, will drop it for new experiment, Google hangouts is out the door).

  18. Chris Phenner

    Zoom business user with Bluejeans envy

    1. Abdallah Al-Hakim

      Interesting. What gives you ‘BueJeans envy’ and how can I help (I work at BlueJeans πŸ™‚

  19. Nigel Walsh

    My brother left Polycom recently to join a startup called Pexip. He is having a tonne of fun and raving about the tech there.

  20. Adam Sher

    Hangouts for 1 on 1 and Goto Meeting for groups.

  21. Gary Chou

    I’ve been really impressed with Zoom + large groups.Screenhero for screen sharing and pair programming either in-person or remote.

  22. Stephen Bradley

    We also use Zoom at L2. There’s a small client side executable that occasionally gets hung up with European client participants and in those cases we move the screen shares to a join.me session.

  23. Mario Cantin

    Google Hangouts works fine for my modest needs. I was once in the forest on vacation in Cottage Country, North of Toronto, having perfect reception taking to my developer in the Ukraine — felt pretty Star Trek.

  24. Alexbhardy

    For virtual meetings that require getting documents signed or collaborating to fill in forms, I love Liveoak. It’s browser-based (no downloads / apps / plugins required), and works on mobile and tablet. — though I’m a bit biased ;)https://www.liveoak.net/

    1. Donna Brewington White

      Native advertising could take some lessons from you. Brilliant. Upvoted.

    2. Vasudev Ram

      Uses WebRTC?

      1. Alexbhardy

        You bet! We are huge believers in the potential of WebRTC!

        1. aseoconnor

          I love web RTC! I just wish that Apple shared my love

    3. JLM

      .This is a fabulous product with a single flaw — no notary feature. I understand you are building this product. When you have it, the application for real estate closings is huge.I was at a closing yesterday and had to go to Marble Falls to complete it. It took ten minutes and I had to drive an hour each way. [Of course, I did eat at the Bluebonnet Cafe, so it wasn’t all bad.]I could have docuSigned it but then I would have had to duplicate the signatures which required a notary. Pain. In. The. Butt.Of course, I am biased as I built the building in which this company is headquartered.If/when you are ready to go, let me know and I will intro you to the owners of Heritage Title in ATX. They are very tech savvy.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. LE

        I had a title company two doors from me that I used that went out of business recently. During the RE boom the title company wanted to take over the office next door (a doctor) they had so many closing going on. Years later poof, all gone. Literally in the middle of the night. [2] Shows what happens to people with a short history in business they don’t understand cycles.Years ago my Dad had a tenant that was a title company. I had a case with a building that I bought at a fire sale where someone made a title claim. [1] Luckily I used that firm. They simply wrote a new policy (years later) for the higher amount so the claim was able to be paid.[1] Learning the valuable lesson to insure the title for the full value, not just what you paid for it if you got some type of a bargain. (I bought it for like .40 on the collar iirc).[2] Luckily they got me paperwork that they owed me. I would have been more diligent in getting it but considering it was my neighbor and I knew them and gave them business it wasn’t as if I had a particular concern that there would be a problem or that they would leave in the middle of the night. (Not really what happened but sounds more dramatic).

        1. JLM

          .Title insurance is a funny thing. A title insurer is usually obligated to defend/deliver clear title even when they have to defend it. This is not constrained by cost to defend.OTOH, I don’t think it is legal in Texas to insure the title for more than you invested. But when you build a building you increase the coverage periodically as you build out the tenant improvements.There is an owner’s policy and a lender’s policy. The lender can only receive coverage up to the extent of their loan while the owner can receive coverage up to the limit of their investment.I once had a title problem under a 50-story building in which I bought a sliver of property (storefront in a full city block) and found out afterward the seller had conveyed it to her children on a napkin.She took the purchase price and gave it to her children but she was not legally able to convey the property as she was not the owner.The napkin appeared and the feathers hit the fan. Chicago Title got it right but it was an adventure as the girl child was an unusual exemplar of the species. It involved Las Vegas, a casino, a guy who got picked up by casino security for bothering a high roller. It was a mess.Chicago Title made all the problems go away but it created a huge problem in the middle of a big refinancing.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. LE

            I’ve told a napkin story on AVC before probably a few times. My dad (who had his brother as a partner) signed on a napkin that he would sell a building they owned for $x to a particular party. Someone came along (before agreement of sale signed) and said they would pay more. So he entered into an agreement with them (with his brother the co-owners) signature. All of the lawyers laughed at the napkin agreement (not valid, not a contract and besides one of the owners didn’t even sign and agree). The higher priced buyer bought a ton of buildings (one of the largest property owners in the city) and gave all of their business to a particular title company. They said “we can take care of this”. In the end they weren’t able to, building tied up 2 years before the matter was settled. [1][1] Part of it was also (this is why details matter so I am mentioning it) my Dad and his brother had split their business and my Dad didn’t want his brother to get the money from the sale so he could expand his operation. So my take is (conjecture) that he played along and used this to stall or allow a delay to his advantage. (Both are dead now so none of this matters anymore..) This is why I take things I read with a grain of salt. You never know the true story behind half the business shit that is going on out there.

    4. Robbie Shapiro

      I use Liveoak all the time. Super sleek and intuitive platform.

  25. David Danto

    I’ve been in the collaboration / videoconferencing industry for a very long time and am happy to report that – including me – we’ve all had it wrong for many years. We tend to get bogged down in “technology first” conversations, not people first conversations. With work very quickly becoming what you do, not where you go, the important thing is identifying what a user’s or organization’s actual needs are before throwing a solution at them. After that’s determined, solutions can be selected that meet the needs but do so in a manner that are compatible with other systems out there. Hangouts, consumer Skype, and a number of the other things mentioned in the comments are dead-end choices. You can be just as frugal while selecting solutions that are interoperable. And yes, I never tape-over my camera. If I let you see me at my desk in person I’d be foolish not to let you see me if you don’t happen to be in the same building, city, state or country as me. I have lots of articles on these subject if anyone’s interested.

    1. Vasudev Ram

      Links please.

      1. David Danto

        My latest blog on the subject is here: https://lnkd.in/ezAPEzc But you can find all of my stuff at Danto.info

        1. Vasudev Ram

          Will check them, thanks.

    2. georgeou

      As former Editor at Large at ZDNet, I covered some of the first HD video conferencing systems back in 2007. A lot of people back then had the attitude of hell no or why bother with video conferencing. I heard the usual complaints that people are shy and don’t want to be seen on camera especially when they’re home and not dressed. The attitude was so pervasive that I began to believe that video conferencing would never really take off and go mainstream.Boy was I wrong. It turned out that the technology simply needed to mature and reach critical mass. Then Skype & Facetime happened and suddenly video conferencing became mainstream. Then we rolled out Zoom and the craziest thing is that our employees have mostly stopped using the dedicated video conference rooms in favor of their own HD Webcams and cubicals. We have people who sit next to each other running their own Zoom session rather than sharing and sometimes the audio overlap could cause loopback/feedback problems until we force them onto their headsets.What’s even more crazy is that we have an executive board room with a huge HDTV on both sides of the room showing screen content. But we would have 10 people sitting around the table with their own laptops joined to the Zoom meeting so that they could see the screenshare on their own laptops. This allowed them to not have to turn their body and look at the shared TV and it allowed them to do text chats with each other. The craziest thing I saw was 4 people in a room using Zoom but there was no Zoom user outside of that room. They were using Zoom just for the screensharing functionality so that they can comfortably sit across each other and look at the shared screen and collaborate. This was when I knew that Zoom had crossed that critical mass needed to reach mainstream acceptance in the business world.

      1. David Danto

        I know a lot of users who love Zoom. Then the first time they need to use a system for a room full of people and they can’t get the USB wires hooked up correctly to the big display – and the other end is waiting….and waiting…and waiting – they tend to then look for a product more appropriate for easy use in rooms. There is no one size fits all answer. Organizations have to start with user needs, develop a segmentation plan, then design an infrastructure or cloud plan that lets everything connect easily to everything else, internal and external; office, mobile and home; to employees, partners and clients. Maybe the answer is Zoom, maybe it’s BlueJeans, Maybe its Cisco or Microsoft. Do they all make good tools – yes, of course. As I always say, a hammer is a great tool – but if you blindly take it and find out the job is cutting glass you’ve made a poor choice – a great tool but inappropriate for the actual need.

        1. georgeou

          First of all you’re almost always talking about HDMI sharing and not USB. There are USB-C to HDMI adapters or DisplayPort to HDMI adapters but it’s still fundamentally the HDMI display protocol that needs to be captured to be shared. The challenge of HDMI capture is not unique to Zoom. There are tons of stupid issues like HDCP copy protection and Apple abusing HDCP to prevent you from outputting your Macbook to a mirrored HDMI setup.Right now we use the Polycom Video Conferencing systems and their HDMI capture capability for Zoom but we are migrating to generic Intel NUC systems with or without HDMI capture ability.All the known issues of HDMI capture and dongle hell makes a great case for wireless screen sharing and Zoom makes that extremely easy. Once we trained people to go wireless they love it and never go back. We only provide HDMI capture for backward compatibility for people who insist on plugging in because they don’t know better.https://www.youtube.com/wat…BlueJeans uses the inferior VP8 video compression codec and they skimp too much on bandwidth. Our shootout tests made it clear that Zoom was the better solution.

          1. David Danto

            USB is for the camera to the PC/processor…and it always comes out at the worst possible times.Zoom is nice if you like it, but there’s better (again depending upon the needs.) However, I’ve tried to stay non-commercial here, so I’ll avoid hawking any products or making any recommendations – at least in public.

          2. georgeou

            You can’t use the obscure USB-falls-out scenario to discuss what is the better video conferencing solution. I’ve also never seen a USB cable fall out of a conferencing system. I don’t know what kind of shoddy system or installation you’re using.This whole thread is discussing the merits or problems of various solutions. Saying “there’s better” without actually naming a solution and explaining why seems like a cop-out.I’ve described what solutions I’ve used and why I think they’re better. Since the author asked for “business” solutions, I’ve kept the discussion to Zoom. I’ve talked about the specific problems with Bluejeans. The same VP8 problems exist with Google Hangouts.https://twitter.com/GeorgeO

          3. David Danto

            BlueJeans is a better and more feature rich cloud service than Zoom. Spark will be soon too. Cisco MX systems make WAYYY better room systems than Zoom. Microsoft Skype for Business has a better workflow model than Zoom. But Zoom may be just fine for some organization’s needs.I make my living consulting for organizations who want to take unified communications to a telephony level of reliability. Just because you want an answer doesn’t mean the correct methodology changes. Needs and people first, technology later.And yes, I’ve seen cables falling out in hacked-up room disasters – specifically when do-it-yourself experts thought they could save a buck and use a cheap, PC based solution – be the reason clients have come to me for better solutions after ruined meetings. Most have never been happier making the change.

          4. georgeou

            As I said, BlueJeans has a comically bad video codec using VP8. The macroblocking artifacts are atrocious. The video quality is nothing compared to Zoom. The “cloud” features that may or may not be better are not a differentiator for me. Zoom handles our H.323 cloud provider needs and they handle our Zoom recordings and that’s the extent of the cloud features we need.Cisco MX costs as much as a house but doesn’t really perform better than a $500 Intel NUC with a good $100 C-mount lens and a $600 USB3 Machine Vision camera from Point Grey with a massive 1/1.2-inch sensor that puts any branded “conferencing” camera to shame. The $700 Logitech PTZ Pro camera seems to match any of the cameras from Polycom and Cisco.When Cisco launched a “4K” system for $300K, I was ROTFL when it didn’t actually come with a 4K camera. Moreover, 4K conferencing is dumb when the vast majority of cameras can’t justify the network requirements. In fact you really need a 4K camera super-sampled down to 1080P to fully exploit a 1080P video stream and the bandwidth it requires.Skype (formerly Lync) has limits on what they can interface with as far as H.323.You’re playing the “my system is more name brand and more expensive than your PC”. I’m playing outside the box like the big hyper-scale data centers who shun brands for generic solutions that are better and cheaper. We’re not interested in paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for branded gear and consulting and I think many businesses think the same. Talking about “falling USB cables” is just pure FUD nonsense.

          5. David Danto

            Everything is meaningless until it’s your client facing conference that fails. You’re still saying hammers are better than screwdrivers, which is just ridiculous. I’ll pick the right tool for the job each time. Nothing wrong with Logitech’s Group – which is a fabulous system – but it’s not interchangeable with a Cisco MX800 and only someone without the necessary experience on the actual differences would say so. It’s just as much FUD to make people fear an expense without any analysis of need or ROI. They’re all tools. But feel free to disagree again. Or, call these manufacturers and service providers and ask their senior management if I’m a guy who knows what he’s talking about. I’m sure each and every one of them will fill you in.

          6. georgeou

            You keep making meaningless “your USB cable will fall out and fail if you don’t buy super expensive XYZ brand” arguments. They don’t work on me since I know how the sauce is made and been doing it for nearly two decades. I’ve been dealing with “enterprise” hardware and software forever and there’s a reason you need to spend 7% to 15% annually on support contracts. In fact the more expensive and more complex, the more support and more failures you will experience. Google NSA ASA backdoor for a quick example.There’s absolutely nothing in an MX800 that makes me want to spend $39,000. The camera is fundamentally no different than any other $1000 PTZ camera on the market. This stuff used to be semi-impressive 8 years ago before everything was commoditized.

          7. David Danto

            Hey – Thanks for the conversation, but without you having the ability to see the other side or understand that you might be wrong there’s no point to continue. The world is filled with many choices and they have many pros and cons. My articles, essays and classes on the subject are on-line, in the open for anyone to see. You personally should feel free to promote any brand you like with any agenda you have and do so with my sincere best wishes. For everyone else, it’s a great big world out there with Unified Communication and Collaboration finally at a point where it can really work. High quality and reliable room systems can connect to desktop applications from multiple brands (like Cisco, Microsoft and Polycom all working together), mobility is supported and everything can now work with everything else using a cloud provider or a robust on-prem solution (If one designs it right to meet an organization’s actual needs.) HL Mencken correctly stated that all complex problems have solutions that are clear, simple and wrong. Don’t make a wrong, cheap choice without examining actual need (user segmentation) total cost of ownership, reliability and return on investment. There are great formulas and methodologies out there to accomplish exactly what your organization wants regardless of what that is – and many satisfied clients to speak with to see how the investments have paid-off. And the technology today is vastly superior to even a few years ago. For example, here’s a great video showing how calls on current, high quality room systems can be initiated from a smart phone – it’s not the future, it’s now. https://youtu.be/05IAyjWSiEE

  26. aminTorres

    Zoom rocks, I tried it for the first time, I gave a small chat on the blockchain to the design team at R/GA and people in the BA and Sao Paulo office joined smoothly with a single share of an url. I literally got the whole thing running by pressing two buttons.

  27. Jeff Judge

    We use Google Hangouts at bright.io for our daily standups and ad hoc chats. We’re in the current batch of Techstars Chicago and the team uses a Pluot device for group video chat in conference rooms, as well as Blue Jeans and Hangouts.

  28. Mac

    Hangouts. Not familiar with Bluejeans.

  29. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    First a disclaimer – I work for BlueJeans. But I have been a follower and a commenter of this blog for a long time πŸ™‚ I have learned in the past two years that there are some companies that have a video-first culture and others that treat video as a content sharing system. At BlueJeans we do very well with the former group. As a result the company is very focused on offering the best video experience out there. This is not always easy as any user of video conferencing can attest but the company is working hard on it πŸ™‚ We are seeing some very strong signs that more and more companies are moving toward a video culture so this area still has a lot of room to grow. We are also discovering that there is a strong appetite for large online meetings for events such as all-hands meetings or company town halls where users can participate. It is very important in these meetings that companies with multiple offices give all employees the chance to attend and participate and video is the only way to do such a thing.

    1. Alex Murphy

      Congrats your success. The front end has a very nice design and presentation.I agree about the town hall concept, it will be interesting to see how that is overcome within the app while trying to avoid the video shift chaos that can happen as a result of so many people.

      1. Abdallah Al-Hakim

        Thanks! To run successful video town hall meetings – we are hands on with our customers to help them produce the first event. Once it is setup then future town halls or all-hands meeting are smooth. If you are interested in learning more – ping me and I can connect you with the right people at BlueJeans to give more information.

      2. Vasudev Ram

        What’s video shift?

        1. Alex Murphy

          A term I made up. :)but, the point is that experience you have when there are 4 or 5 people on a video chat and the camera moves to the person that is speaking.It is okay with a limited number of people, but when you get a lot of people on the call at the same time it has the tendency to create rapid movement of the screen which defeats the purpose of having the video.If BlueJeans solves that problem somehow that is pretty awesome.

          1. Vasudev Ram

            Seems to make sense. I like making up terms too πŸ™‚

          2. Abdallah Al-Hakim

            Nice term! the product we have for town hall meeting (or any large meetings), Primetime, differs than our video chat product, meetme. One of the main difference is how the interactions work in large groups. I wanted to avoid posting any links but this link might help you understand it a bit better https://bluejeans.com/prime

    2. Vasudev Ram

      How it the high bandwidth need handled in all-hands video calls though? fatter pipe?Been in some big ones earlier but were audio.

      1. Abdallah Al-Hakim

        Fatter pipes definitely help, but we have other tricks in this area. We have a product called Accelerator that streams multiple sessions to attendees desktops. This saves the overall BW and still gives high resolution

    3. georgeou

      You guys really need to stop using VP8 codec and do H.264 like everyone else. The H.264 codec is superior and the licensing costs are minimal. When I evaluated Bluejeans 1.5 years ago, the poor video quality and macroblocking killed it for me. It was so bad your sales team asked me for screenshots and video recorded me talking about the problems with Bluejeans so that they could show it to your product marketing team.

  30. Jesse Ingram


  31. Kurt Stangl

    I’ve used all of them at one point or another and always keep coming back to google hangout…

  32. Justin Fyles

    I’ve used Bluejeans, Hangouts (with and without the dedicated box), Skype, and tried to purchase Cisco’s service (with no luck) and I’ve had issues with all of them. For now we’re using Hangouts.I will give a HUGE shoutout to Catchbox ( http://us.getcatchbox.com/ ) for helping us scale our company scrum to over 100 people. It has solved all of our audio issues, and the remote folks are rejoicing!

  33. bogorad

    Hangouts for video – still, although it’s getting worse by the hour – messaging is generally broken now, we had to move to slack for everything but video.If only google cared for its customers and listened to our feedback. It’s ridiculous, really – instead of fixing hangouts they spit out more and more useless comms-related crap like spaces, allo/duo, chats in g-docs, etc. They even failed to move g-voice into hangouts properly, still half-baked, you have to go to voice.google.com for some things.

  34. Oscar Jung

    We use Skype. I’m amazed how bad Google Hangouts is. It is clunky and hard to initiate a conversation. In general I think no one has really cracked this market. I think Linkedin or Twitter could build an easy tool where you just tap people’s twitter or linkedin and press “conference”. Boom, done.

    1. Vasudev Ram

      It’s interesting that one takeaway of this thread seems to be that different people find pros and cons in different tools. And the thread is still new …

  35. aseoconnor

    I primarily use hangouts (the one click integration with gCal makes it stupidly easy to coordinate among teams).I started using zoom with altMBA, and love it. I use that with my freelance clients still.

  36. Tolliver Bell

    VSee has a good breakdown of video conferening options here: https://vsee.com/videoconfe…I typically go with them

  37. bfeld

    Everything.Oblong (we are investors) is the unifier for me. http://www.oblong.comBluejeanshttp://www.bluejeans.com and Google Hangouts (using a Chromebox on my end) – are the multi-time a day cases.Google Hangouts and Skype on a laptop / desktop are the least common denominator cases.Then – Zoom, Gotomeeting, and whatever else someone uses are probably once a week cases.The key is (a) great connectivity, (b) focus just on the activity – no email or other computer active, unless it’s a long group meeting and then a laptop in front of you is fine (different than a cell phone, which takes away all attention, but you can graze on an open laptop).

    1. Humberto

      Oblong Looks cool, but there’s no way to signup/ trial.? Or I didn’t find it on my iPhone.. Does it require dedicated hardware?

      1. bfeld

        Yes – for now it’s a high end system. They are rolling out a software only version but it requires the Oblong Mezzanine room system as at least one node.

  38. Per Jirstrand

    Skype (or FaceTime) when it’s one-on-one, google Hangouts when it’s up to five people, and WebEx beyond. In the past 10 years, I’ve been building international teams were face time IRL perhaps only happens to 2-3 times per year. I encourage all my team members to use video, as it really helps building the team and a sense of belonging. Once you get over the comfort zone of inviting people to your home office (or even worse, an airport hotel) with the camera, you will quickly start seeing the benefits. If you actually have a real office there’s no excuse not to use video. I am extremely bullish on video calls.

  39. Ian Smith

    Our company (1000+ employees around the globe) moved to Business Skype for telephones, IM and conference calls with presentations. (We don’t have desk phones any more.) It’s easy to use and reasonably reliable when you are Windows PC and MS Office based. WebEx and GoToMeeting regularly suffered glitches. However nobody uses the video feature. I guess we’re too introverted for that….

  40. ErikSchwartz

    Mostly hangouts. The google calendar and docs integration and chrome boxes in the conference rooms makes it a no brainer.

  41. Peter

    I love Liveoak!

  42. Humberto

    I am skype all the way, but it’s not an easy one

  43. Mark Essel

    Facetime for individualsGoogle Hangouts with small groups of friendsSkype with friends, small meetings for workAppear.in Highfive (has some groovy conference room setups for wide angle sharing)in the past at former companies I used Bluejeans. Never tried Zoom

  44. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    thanks. I will pass your feedback about the room systems

  45. lanvy

    I’m a philanthropic investor attempting to open markets for producers in either technologically remote or literally remote areas. FB messenger and Viber have been amazing tools for me to connect buyers with artisans and small producers. Even with communities whose cultures don’t have a written language, rate of conversation onto both these technology has been astonishing. Our reach is 71 communities, 41.000+ people.fashion4freedom.com

  46. Ana Milicevic

    I was introduced to appear.in last year and can’t readily remember another everyday tool I’ve warmed up to so quickly. That tends to be my main choice for smaller video meetings (< 8 people). For larger ones (e.g. trainings, presentations w/ large teams across multiple time-zones, conference keynote run-throughs, etc where >> 20 people) we switch b/w GoToMeeting (fairly dependable, but no way to project and see the room at the same time, so presenter needs to be connected via 2 devices = PITA when traveling) and Hangouts (which alternates b/w brilliance & unmitigated disaster). We also have UberConference and quite like its screensharing capabilities but again seems hit or horrible miss. Skype is the backup to everything and usually the first choice for EMEA & LATAM convos.

  47. Mitchell Henderson

    Goto and Clearslide

  48. Kirsten Lambertsen

    As a fully remote worker, I’ve used Zoom, Hangouts, Uber Conference, and Skype.Skype is the most unreliable, in my experience. Zoom is the most reliable and powerful. I’ve been on group calls of nearly 100 people on Zoom and it worked great.The other two are somewhere in between Skype and Zoom.Haven’t used BlueJeans yet. (“Sometimes I feel like the whole human race is jazzing for Blue Jean.”)

  49. Claus Christopher Moberg

    SnowShoe was an alpha user for Pluot (http://pluot.co). It has become, by far, the best combination of reliability, ease of use, and cost.

  50. Megan Escobar

    PLUOT is the way to go. Nothing out their beats their price and functionality.All the issues surrounding connecting with Macbooks and PCs, team meetings, interviews, and external conference calls have all been answered by Pluot.co. I can’t tell you how much our team and external meetings have improved. I point everyone to pluot. We couldn’t be happier.

  51. JohnExley

    I have been loving Appear.in | https://appear.in/It's instant. Has chat. Screen sharing. All of that. Haven’t tried with more than one other party, but has been 100% reliable so far, and it’s so fast.

  52. Jens Aune

    We use https://appear.in/. It beat most services on convenience. You set up rooms through unique links, which makes it very easy to distribute invites. It also removes the friction of creating a profile. Simple interface with chat and screensharing.

  53. Blake Brinker

    @Eric Friedman – Love your response.There has been a real lack of innovation in this space; My team and I are in the process of changing that. We believe that it’s not the fundamental AV that needs to be innovated upon, it’s the capabilities surrounding the AV communications themselves.So, I ask all of you this: How many times have you wanted to go back to something that was said in a previous meeting for retrospective / clarity? (Board meeting, Executive management meeting, etc).Sadly, we aren’t capable of remembering everything that we or other people said, despite the best notes and or memories. Not to mention, so many elements of face to face communication are non-verbal, so even if we recorded the audio or took amazing notes…our retrospective falls short. Don’t even get me started about using current tools to record the video communications…who has the time to go back and watch every meeting over again. But, what if those communications were all indexed and archived ready for you to toggle through and or search from instantly?Communication is the most important aspect of a companies culture and we currently don’t have a tool which helps us really keep track of what’s said.We have built Evercast – a video communications software solution which integrates Apple like design simplicity with intelligent back end functionality to enable search (audio & interactive) for super fast playback to the most important moments.In other words: you still get the normal bells and whistles of Zoom, Hangouts, Skype for Biz, BlueJeans (but with 2016 tech / design behind it) – I.e. Screensharing, multiple streams, attendees, etc – AND you get intelligent capture and interaction mechanisms like never before.If any of you are interested in experiencing Evercast, you can email me at [email protected] fan of this blog. Thanks for all the great posts!

  54. georgeou

    Our team rolled out Zoom.us for our company SGI. We’re roughly 1100 people and we were able to save $23,000 a month moving away from Cisco WebEx and Intercall. Merging the two functions into Zoom was a tremendous improvement in ease-of-use. We’re heavily relying on the Windows, Mac, Linux Zoom client and we are growing the use of the Zoom iPhone and Android app.The key driver for us was that Zoom became our cloud H.323 video-conferencing bridge so that we can video conference with systems outside of our network. Our Polycom Video Conferencing systems were primarily a closed system that only talked to each other but now it connects with any standard H.323 system globally.I personally evaluated many solutions when we were migrating away from WebEx and Intercall. Zoom won the competition over Bluejeans. My biggest gripe with Bluejeans was their use of the inferior VP8 codec instead of the industry standard H.264 and the fact that Bluejeans allocates half the bandwidth of Zoom (1 Mbps vs 2 Mbps per 720P stream). Just the codec alone would result in inferior video quality but combined with the reduced bandwidth I was seeing horrendous macroblocking artifacts.Zoom audio was also superior in that they transmitted multi-channel audio on the native Zoom client (Windows or Mac or Linux). The only thing that would make Zoom even better is if they would implement stereo-mixing to separate the individual talkers. The microphones on the PC and Macs were the biggest impediment to any Internet Audio implementation. Deploying external USB mics has been critical to improving sound quality. We are also training our people to use the Zoom iPhone and Android app because the microphone in any Smartphone is superior to any PC or Mac and even better than dedicated USB or Bluetooth headsets.

  55. mikenolan99

    Amazing no reference to WebEx – I work at united Health Group, and every day me and my 225,000 co-workers attend endless WebEx meetings… {sigh}

  56. ninakuruvilla

    The diversity of solutions here is great to see. Video conferencing has become mainstream after years of being a staple of science fiction and “future workplace” demos! Combined with tools like Slack, video conferencing is making it possible for more and more people to work remotely and more and more companies to build distributed teams that are just as productive as teams that work in the same office.I’m one of the founders of a new startup called Pluot — we’re a team that’s been obsessed with video conferencing for many years, and we want to make great video conferencing easy, affordable, and terrifically reliable.Please try us out and give us feedback. You can use Pluot any time you’d use Hangouts or Skype. You don’t need an account and there’s nothing to download. Just go to https://pluot.co/new in Chrome to create a new, permanent, unique meeting link. Then send that link to anyone else.We also offer hardware for your conference room. We send you everything you need to set up a TV for big-screen meetings. We give you the hardware for free and charge $50/month. There’s a bunch of unique features to the hardware, but I’ve already made this enough of a sales pitch! … https://pluot.co … πŸ˜‰

    1. GalS

      Hi Nina,I have several question regarding Pluot. How can we contact?

      1. GalS


      2. Nina Kuruvilla

        Sure thing. Glad to answer any questions & do a test call with you, if you like. What do you prefer: 1. email [email protected] 2. chat – https://pluot.co, click on chat in lower right. I’m there now & we’re online through the day. Thanks!

  57. Brian

    Hangouts with Chromebox for Meetings in every meeting room (large room version (Logitech PTZ camera) but use RevoLabs UC speakers instead of the Jabra’s that come in the kit), Chromebase for Meetings in phone rooms. Both hardware ($500-$1750 depending on base/small/large) and license ($250/yr) are inexpensive compared to other solutions, and anyone can join/host, no who does or does not get a license, no organizer has to “start” the meeting before it works. It has gotten stable and screen sharing quality has improved and for internal meetings we have never looked back. I hope Google does not get bored with this and abandon it, the pricepoint allows us to have every single room covered including phone rooms, full integration into google apps (shows who has the room booked etc).For external meetings we find lots of people have issue joining hangouts and we generally use gotomeeting. If you are a chromebox for meetings power user you can reboot into desktop mode and run gotomeeting in the browser and get full screen, audio, and camera sharing off the same chromebox. (We have also run bluejeans this way when connecting to some other company’s calls).

  58. Ian Chapman-Banks

    Hi Fred. We are a small AI company. With customers across USA and Asia Paciifc. We have killed hangouts and skype as the audio is unreliable.We are using webex. It works well but it is clunky and a pain for our customers to install if they have never used it before. But in our world webex is supported by it departs in enterprise companies.We are also using Zoom which is the best so far as using conference calls for audio helps a lot and it has a large number of countries you can dial in from. The only downside is a lot of enterprise do not support it. So we have to run both depending on the customer.At least half of our meetings are screen sharing as opposed to face to face. Even in the USASo this technology and its price points has changed he way we goto market and can scale quickly across new geographiesWe actually started in singapore and was pitching us customers 9 months before we actually had fave to face meetings. In NYC DCSo it changed the dynamics for us in our channel strategy

  59. Ian Chapman-Banks

    A slightly different point. Now rise the calendar app is being killed by microsoft and withdrawn. I love rise can anybody advise anyone great calendar apps.

  60. kjetil

    Appear.in is my go-to application. No usernames or applications needed. Also, works perfectly with the Huddly-camera,

  61. Craig Malloy

    Fred: Really enjoy your posts. It’s great to see a discussion about video communication with so many comments. I’m the Founder and CEO of Lifesize, a video communications company in Austin. Starting two years ago we completely re-invented our business to a Cloud service delivery model similar to Bluejeans and Zoom, now our top two competitors. However, our unique differentiator from those companies is the pairing and integration of our best in class conference room systems to the service. We’ve specialized in those HW based systems since 2003. Several of the posts in this thread acknowledge the integration of the conference room as requirement. We now have 3,500 paying business customers around the world and more than 15,000 conference room systems paired to our Cloud service. Three notable Lifesize customers, Yelp, Hulu and Survey Monkey, in the past year, have each deployed more than 100 conference room systems and thousands of user seats for desktop and mobile video calling. And they are all rapidly expanding their networks. They chose Lifesize because of the enhanced user experience of the combined service and conference room offering. Video communications is finally a mainstream, must have application. Although I have founded and sold two companies in this space over the past twenty years, I still see much innovation and growth left in this new phase of the market. Very exciting.

  62. Rick Seeley

    Great discussion here! Quick response (please ignore grammatical and or spelling issues, typed this out quick) – I have been in video conferencing for over 20 years and have worked with many different solutions from non-standard/proprietary products to standards based + brand name additional features products.It has been fun to experience the hardware vs. software solutions, proprietary vs. standards, ease of use vs. complexity/features, changes in service and support, etc, while getting the best return on investment for the organization. It is fun to look back at the multitude of products from the past to where we are now. In fact, I think another discussion here would be about constructive experiences with the different brands/models of video conferencing equipment we have all had the opportunity to work with over the years.Quick summary – Jumping to today though, when looking at some important items like, but not limited to ease of use, multiple device support (iOS, Mac, Windows, Android), instant expandability, high quality customer support, functionality of tool sets, video + telephone dial in, cloud recording, SSO, total cost of ownership, I would choose Zoom.us for the main provider of video conferencing services.They have an outstanding product that is easy for our users to apply in real life situations. Zoom.us also has bridging capabilities to H.323, so I continue to use Polycom and or other hardware based solutions where needed. The H.323 bridging also allows organizations to continue to get the value out of their existing hardware implementations while using a product like Zoom when looking at ROI and their initial capital costs.For room-based solutions, I am still debating whether to use Zoom + a pieced together solution and or placing in a hardware-based solution like Polycom since Zoom has the H.323 capabilities. Currently, I have been using a combination of pan tilt zoom cameras (check out 1beyond), microphone arrays, etc, but still really like the idea of a room based all in one system like a Polycom HDX + Zoom. It would be great to see an (affordable) Polycom HDX turnkey style like solution with the great cameras and audio but with an Operating system where you could use your video conferencing application of choice…..So for me, I like Zoom.us as the primary solution and fill in the gaps based on need assessment of the users with other products as needed.The exciting thing is that we are in a time with video conferencing or rather enhanced media communication, where we have MANY options from great companies to help with meeting the needs of our organizations. This coupled with the growth and capabilities of the Internet, mobile computing and knowledge base/acceptance from people will allow for continued growth. I believe it will be important for the interoperability between vended solutions to continue to help aid in the adoption and acceptance of mainstream use of enhanced media communication.On another note, are there any user groups out there that focus on enhanced media communication? Groups like PUG and VCIG are all gone now and were great to talk with others in regards to enhanced media communication, what they are using hardware wise, etc any suggestions?Take care,Rick Seeley