In this article from Business 2.0, Rafe Needleman tells us his experience with a new videophone technology, Viditel, developed by Reality Fusion, a seven-year-old company.
The company's videophone software is designed for broadband (cable or DSL), and its architecture is very different from that of Yahoo and Microsoft [instant messaging] products, allowing it to connect through the Internet firewalls that can stymie users on the free systems. The Reality Fusion product also allows multiple users to participate at once in a videoconference. CEO Keith Teare says it can adapt well to the variable bandwidth available to broadband users.
I tried a four-way conference call over my home DSL connection and was impressed with the picture and sound quality. It was also very easy to set up -- I just plugged in the camera and headset, then loaded the program.
You can try the technology for free -- 100 minutes per month -- or you can subscribe to a variety of plans starting at $9.95 per month. But Reality Fusion also targets business users submitted to travel restrictions.
With the formidable competition of free instant messaging services, will Viditel be a success? Needleman thinks so.
I believe it is a good time to get into the videophone business. Broadband penetration was at nearly 34 million U.S. users at the beginning of the year, according to Nielsen/NetRatings, and is growing at 9 percent a month, according to Dataquest. Furthermore, the cellular companies are eyeing video as a service that can drive revenues on their next-generation data networks. If people can get videophone capability from their wireless phones, they will begin to expect it from their wired devices. Ordinary telephones can't deliver that, which leaves the videophone market to network-based companies like this one.
Source: Rafe Needleman, Business 2.0, May 26, 2003
12:35:24 PM Permalink