June 24th update

Sorry I didn't do a day 3 wrap up of Infocomm. There wasn't too much of a need as I only checked out a few things before packing it in for the year. I did take a look at Vidtel's booth and came across a nice codec by AVer, one of their booth partners. For $1,000, you get a codec and camera, far and away the lowest price I've seen for the hardware combo.

On the flipside was ClearOne's codecs that range from $4,000-8,500. Plus I stood around their booth for a LONG time over two days and not one person acknowledged me so I found out nothing about the codec's themselves (I google'd the prices when I got home).

Since getting home, I've "tested" two products, neither of which needs its own separate write up.

First up was Skype. We wanted to call my in-laws and show them some new things we've done around the house and they know how to use Skype. On our end we used my iPad so I could walk around and on their end was a laptop, using wifi from their back porch. Video held steady without the choppy break ups that were ever present a year or so ago. My in laws had to crank up the volume so we had to deal with the audio echo loop. We talked for a half hour until my arm got tired from holding my iPad at length. The experience was more than passable and bordered on good from my end. The audio was a huge problem though.

Next up was a test of MegaMeeting, sold through the Conference Group who I met at Infocomm. MegaMeeting is a WebRTC product that forces a download if you want to share your desktop, but not for video conferencing or viewing shared data. Frame rate was low around 10-15 and resolution was okay, but I'm not exactly sure what it was (certainly not close to 720 though). I used my laptop with a Plantronics head set. Audio to video sync was "okay". Audio had the tendency to fade when talking over the other person. Pricing was the best thing about this product $6 a head a month for up to 16 people in a conference. The product was simple enough to use, but not enough to warrant it a "buy" unless certain circumstances are met.

While I'm writing....
Why hardware sales are lagging:

Years ago, if you wanted to get into video conferencing, you HAD to buy some sort of hardware. Now the companies "just getting into VC" are starting with software, hence the lag of hardware sales and the spike in software. NOT rocket surgery and not an indication that "Hardware is dead".

Thanks for reading and if you're in the Cincinnati or Dayton area, check out my new website: http://bhellard.wix.com/hellarddesign


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