Friday, May 14, 2010

Browser Based Video Conferencing and Webinars

Video conferencing, once limited to the corporate environment, is now available to anyone with a broadband connection and web browser. MegaMeeting has a new suite of products available for PCs, MACs and Linux computers that don’t require the usual downloads and installations. If you can browse a website, you can participate in a video conference or webinar.

MegaMeeting’s web-based video conferencing system takes advantage of the Flash Player 9 plug-in that is already installed in most Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari browsers. If your computer has 256 MB of RAM and a 1.2 GHz or faster processor, it should work fine. You’ll also need an Internet connection with 240 Kbps bandwidth. That’s pretty much anything that dares to call itself broadband. In actuality, though, you’ll only be using 70 Kbps per video feed. Pretty easy requirements to meet, don’t you think?

A video camera isn’t required to be a participant, but if you have one, or can get a cheap one, you can be one of the 16 simultaneous video screens streaming in the conference. It’s just like one of those discussion shows on TV, but with a lot more screens. Unlike many competing services, MegaMeeting includes free Voice Over IP, so you get audio along with your video. No separate telephone calls are needed.

MegaMeeting’s product also scales from personal and small business use with 10 participants or fewer, on up to private branded enterprise solutions with the maximum number of attendees determines only by your available bandwidth and the number of seats purchased in your account. All of their plans offer unlimited video conferencing worldwide 24/7. Professional solutions support screen, application and desktop sharing plus PowerPoint presentations and computer sharing.

How much does all of this cost? Personal accounts start at under $50 a month. Professional accounts start at $15 a seat with a 3 seat minimum and get cheaper from there. Enterprise level solutions hosted on your own servers are appropriately priced, but considerably cheaper than alternative solutions.

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