See Me, Hear Me: Videoconferencing You Can Afford

See Me, Hear Me: Videoconferencing You Can Afford: "New Web conferencing services seem to pop up almost on a monthly basis these days, inspired perhaps by the global success of Skype on the one hand, but its failure to seize the business market opportunity on the other.

Helge: There are some very expensive solutions available. The problem with the big, safe, secure, corporate conferencing systems is that your partners and associates should have a comparable system. How can a big company learn to play open and social with extremely guarded and gated communities? I guess, no way!

We take a look at two services that have in fact been around for a while—SightSpeed from SightSpeed Inc. and HearMe from AVM Software. Both are fundamentally voice-and- video-conferencing/calling services that also offer instant messaging (IM). HearMe adds screen-sharing capabilities. Sight Speed adds hosted video mail and in-call file sharing by e-mail.

SightSpeed, launched in 2003 and winner of several magazine awards, has two main offerings: SightSpeed Personal, a free 'video chat' service, and the recently launched SightSpeed Business, a for-fee video conferencing service. (There is also a Plus version of Personal for $9.95 a month.)

Both services require downloading and installing a piece of client software on each person's computer, although the company announced recently it was developing a no-download video chat 'widget' for use at social networking sites, including Google's yet-to-be-launched OpenSocial platform."
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