November

November 2016 - Have you Heard About Houseparty?

It seems to be time to talk about it…
Even though the winter was a bit delayed, lately they have started to sprout like mushrooms after a rainstorm. What are “they”? Video chat apps. It all started a long time ago with Skype, then came the Israeli ooVoo and then Google Hangouts and Apple’s FaceTime.  Over the past few months Google Duo, Houseparty and Whatsapp video chat have joined them. Without a doubt, the accelerated age of technology has provided us with new innovations for visiting.
So what is the difference between them and a business video conference? Do these apps have the ability to “deliver the goods” and be a real alternative for a video conference? Unclear.
 
In order to answer the above question, let’s try and first of all to catalog or define the growing list of video apps, their functions and their purposes.
If we start with their purpose, we see that the apps are mainly meant for recreational or private use ,and not necessarily for the professional user and all his requirements.
What are they meant to do?
Google Duo, FaceTime and Whatsapp video are meant for one-on-one calls between two devices.  Google Hangouts, ooVoo, and Houseparty allow for group chats as well. Beyond that, the apps are free and are fun to use with a group of friends.
If you try the new Houseparty app, while some of the other, earlier apps technically had similar capabilities,  Houseparty wrapped it all up in one package, with a fun UX and in that way, separates itself from the pack. Just ask the kids around you.
But, they are what they are – video chat apps that let the user video chat with one or more other users. Almost all the apps, do “deliver the goods” in this area and provide what the user needs.
 
But when we talk about the professional user, the picture changes a bit, and the needs as well. The professional video apps and Video Collaboration services already supply a difference scale of characteristics and uses that fit the business market and its needs.
These are the main capabilities for the professional video conference:
  • Including  VC systems in the call – Video Collaboration connects users that computers, VC systems in conference rooms and mobile users. The mobile users are definitely not as relevant in a work conference call, but they can definitely join if needed.
  • Multiple Participants – There is no theoretical limit on the number of participants that can join the video conference. True, for most conferences there is no need to connect more than 20 participants, but if necessary, you can.
  • Recording – Video conferences that need to be recorded can be recorded on the server or locally and allow you to have a record for future use.
  • Video Quality – Unlike private use, in a professional video conference, the emphasis on the quality is even more significant and the video apps allow better video broadcast, in HD or FULLHD.
  • Security – Security and encryption capabilities, either at the technology level and/or with an entry code, ensure that only the people who are supposed to be in the conference will join.
  • Content Sharing – In addition to the video window, the service also allows you to share content from your computer – a file, a program or your entire screen.
  • Command and Control Capabilities – The conference leader gets additional capabilities beyond the regular participants and can mute other participants, use the chat window and view the participant list.
  • Streaming – The video conference can be streamed directly to passive viewers that are not part of the active conference call.
  • 24/7 Support – A video conference with a supplier, a customer or a distant colleague needs to take place at the planned time, and if any problem comes up the customer gets immediate tech support that gives him peace of mind so he can concentrate on the matter at hand.
  • Outlook Invitation – An Outlook add-on allows you to plan meetings easily and the participants get a link to quickly and easily join the virtual meeting room.
  • Virtual Meeting Room – the video app creates virtual conference rooms that, just like to physical conference rooms, the participant enters it directly and there is no need to call each user to connect them to the conference.
 
Even though there are significant differences between the services for professional and private users, there is one significant thing that is common to both and that is the cultural change. The video culture and the growing use of this technology is a result of a cultural change. It is exactly the private use that makes it easier for the professional world to adopt the professional video conference service.
 
So the next time to fly overseas, you will probably Whatsapp video with your kids, but for your meeting with your colleagues, you would need something a bit more professional.
 
See you in the next post,
Nir