Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Web Cams - IM Chat - July 2010 Meeting

Web cameras are all over the place these days. They started out as strictly one-way devices, delivering images to you every few minutes, usually for security reasons, but just as often for seeing some remote touristy location - like Niagara Falls. Today, full, two-way motion video (with voice and text chat) is offered for the high-speed home user, by way of a number of free services. Some services, like Skype, require software installation, while others, like TokBox, operate entirely within a web browser (with Flash, in this case). In fact, TokBox allows multiple users to see and hear each other at the same time. Webmail services, like Yahoo, Google and Hotmail (with MSN Messenger) also make it possible to exchange live video and sound between two users... even using smart mobile devices. TokBox will allow up to 20 simultaneous converstaions in the free version. Paid upgrades allow conference scheduling, moderating, and video streaming to an audience as large as 200 viewers (one-to-many). Note that video conferencing is an excellent means of communication for deaf people who use sign language.