Online Video Conference Services

Growth gives problems! Our February meeting had more online people attending than our video conference package could handle. What other Video Conference services are available?

Netmasters use GoToMeeting for online video meetings. This professional webinar software allows up to 25 attendees to attend meetings – but with video access for only six. This costs over $500 for the discounted annual plan.

We need a secure system that provides say ten simultaneous video connections. Audio quality must be good! A casual web search reveals alternatives to GoToMeeting. Some are free video-chat services such as Skype and Google Plus Hangouts. Hangouts provides up to ten video connections. Is this a viable alternative?

What multi-user video conference service have you experienced? What are pros and cons of free and paid software?

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9 Responses to Online Video Conference Services

  1. Avatar for Susan Ellsworth
    Susan Ellsworth July 11, 2015 at 3:46 am #

    Have you looked at ZOOM? It is less expensive than GoToMeeting and quite useful for Toastmasters clubs…More is at https://www.zoom.us/pricing

    • Avatar for Alan Smith
      Alan Smith July 14, 2015 at 3:33 pm #

      Thanks for the tip Susan. I was not aware of Zoom. It does look good – and test calls have been excellent. We will try it out “for real” as soon as possible. Speech timing signals may need a special fix – as have all other apps I’ve looked at.

  2. Avatar for Susan Ellsworth
    Susan Ellsworth July 11, 2015 at 3:44 am #

    Have you ever looked at ZOOM? I have tested it and found it quite useful and less expensive than GoToMeeting. More about ZOOM is at https://www.zoom.us/pricing

  3. Avatar for Michelle Goodwill
    Michelle Goodwill March 26, 2015 at 8:38 pm #

    I would like to see some of the off-site audience on screen all of the time so that it adds to the experience of being connected to people all over the world. I think it also adds to the experience of new members and guests.

    It does need some sort of protocol to manage it.

    Here is a suggested possibility…

    Instead of not using the video slots at all when the off-site audience are not speaking (like we did at the meeting on 26/03) , the people speaking next could get ready by coming online, and then after they speak they turn their video off and let the next people come online until the last ones are up. Then at the end do the round-robin again with comments and farewells.

  4. Avatar for Helen Thistlethwaite
    Helen Thistlethwaite March 14, 2015 at 12:11 pm #

    Works for me just seeing the speaker and/or those in the background. HT

  5. Avatar for Akira Sasaki
    Akira Sasaki March 13, 2015 at 9:49 pm #

    Hi all,

    I have only limited experience of online meetings over GoToMeeting. But If this software has max 6 video accesses, then we should consider how to use them wisely within 4 video accesses for online participants.

    All 8 online participants in the last meeting do not need to use video simultaneously, isn’t it? They should be limited to using video when they are speaking or evaluating as role players and some other audience who want to expose their response to the speakers or evaluators since they can select it by themselves by clicking the button at the upper right on the screen.

    Changing to Google Hangouts seem to me more problematic as David pointed out as it has no facility for an administrator to overall supervise the meeting and violate our privacy position once Google use the recordings based on their propriety right against our policy.

    Akira

  6. Avatar for Tina Tuira-Waldon
    Tina Tuira-Waldon March 13, 2015 at 6:59 am #

    Hi all

    I haven’t used any other online mediums except for Skype! previously the problems experienced online had been the delayed live feeds and weather issues at the time ie: stormy conditions.

    Maybe the speaker should be visible which means the “home” audience does not see all online members and those online, do not see others online until they speak if at all.

    If I come across other alternatives, I’ll let you know. cheers Tina

  7. Avatar for Ben Sharp
    Ben Sharp March 12, 2015 at 2:21 pm #

    Is not seeing all of the participants a problem? I have only attended one meeting, but it seemed less distracting to only have the presenter on the screen.

    I plan to talk to the IT army at work and see if they have any recommendations.

  8. Avatar for David Nicholas
    David Nicholas March 12, 2015 at 11:27 am #

    I’m very attracted to Hangouts because of its style in taking up to 10 online participants which are displayed in miniature at the bottom of the screen, with the current speaker displayed much larger centre top.

    However it has some significant problems for us. It has no facility for an administrator, overall supervising the meeting. If there is any recording, Google have proprietary rights over it, publish it to YouTube and use it for advertising purposes. This would violate our privacy position.

    I hope other members have other suggestions for us to try.

    David

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