Zeichick’s Take: Why is video conferencing so hard?
December 2, 2011 —
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Related Search Term(s): video conferencing
Video conferencing is difficult. Whether you’re using a phone, tablet, desktop or laptop, there are challenges everywhere.
• Video conferencing requires that all participants use the same service. Whether it’s Skype, ooVoo, FaceTime, AIM, Tango, fring, Google Talk, WebEx, GoToMeeting, AnyMeeting or whatever, that means a plethora of accounts. And, of course, not all accounts work (or offer the same features) on all device types or operating systems.
In order to get advanced features, many services want you to pay for a premium subscription. When you need multiple services to be compatible with your friends, colleagues or customers, all those subscriptions can get expensive.
• Audio and video quality is really spotty.
Recently, I did a video interview using Skype; I was on a T1 line in California, and the other participant was using ADSL in Florida. The images and sounds kept breaking up, synchronization was terrible, and every so often one of us would lose the picture entirely. That means breaking and reestablishing the connection between our PCs. The experience was pretty bad.
Another time, I did a FaceTime chat between my iPad 2 and an industry expert using an iPhone 4. Audio and video were generally outstanding, but at one point the call dropped and we had to restart. Of course, FaceTime is only available on iOS or Mac OS X.
• Multi-party conferencing is a nightmare.
Some services only allow two parties on a video. Some can handle up to six users broadcasting video; a few can handle more. But again, everyone has to be on the same system. With most services, only one user needs to have a premium account, but on others, everyone must have a paid account.