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ooVoo = Hello Australia

With our growing number of NMC organizations in Australia I’ve been exploring/wondering of ways to better connect and grow this community down under.

I’ve been doubtful of the connectivity possibility (mainly the audio) of our Adobe Connect room we use for our monthly seminars. The built in tool that provides data on a user’s local network latency (the little green chicklet in the upper right corner) has shown in our testing that when this hits above 270 msec audio loss kicks in– I suffer from this myself with my rural cable connection, and in some tests yesterday with colleagues in Brisbane, they were getting latency well over 300.

We did have some interesting success with a smaller scale group meeting tool– ooVoo (crazy ASCII like name, eh)? a tool for doing video chat. We were able to have pretty clear video conversation between me here in Arizona, and colleagues Phil and Mark in Brisbane:

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This view a bit like the iChat video wall effect; you can also have them stack up in a narrow column sidebar so you can do more things at the desktop. The free version provides two way video capability (and ads), and monthly plans allow for up to 6 way video conversations, with the top plan also providing screen sharing. You can send video messages, and use text chat as well.

Mostly what we wanted to find out was that the video quality was solid. This is not the same environment as Connect / Ellumininate (which are primarily one or few to many communication), but could offer an interesting place to have group meetings or set up with rooms of people at different sites.

I was hoping Flashmeeting tool would eb an option (it was more than a year since I looked) but it appears now to have moved fro open experimental tool to a platform, and it is limited use to European organizations.

What other synchronous collaboration tools out there might offer us a way to network our folks in Australia with each other as well as back to North America? We will be testing Ellumininate from there (which always seems to provide audio well). There’s dimdim, free web conferencing for up to 20 people. UStream might provide something more of the one to many approach, but it does have the nice built in integration of chat and/or twittter within it.

As usual, our test of ooVoo involved a lot of “Can you hear me?”

The free version is

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

Comments

  1. ooVoo has worked really well for me primarily as a video chat client for friends, but sometimes in groups, too. I am eager to see how Google Wave will work out, but I’m worried that it’s too much of a replacement for e-mail from the demos I’ve seen.

    I’m coming around to the opinion that one either goes whole-hog with a collaboration suite (which may still be missing something, such as multi-person video chat), or just cludge together a bunch of tools, such as Google docs for collaborative writing, ooVoo or something similar for video, etc. And have a huge monitor or multiple monitors.

  2. We had positive experiences using DimDim for an online meeting of Oklahoma educators back in June, and I wrote a bit about our experiences. Elluminate is really my benchmark, and it took a bit of getting used to switching to DimDim. With the free version we just had one video option, but for our purposes we were mainly wanting to go over a presentation and talk together. Only a few people could have a mic open at a time, as I recall. Our backup plan was to use Google Presentation with a Skype conference call. I have had really good luck with Skype conference calls the past few years, both calling people over skype and dialing in landline numbers from time to time for folks who can’t get to a computer. I have not tried multi-user skype or screen sharing with skype but am eager to do so.

    I was impressed that DimDim provided a free, recorded archive of our session that was immediately web-accessible following our conference. As I recall I wasn’t able to quit out of the session at the end even though I was the host, I had some kind of browser freeze, but the archived recording still saved and I got a link to it via email. I liked the backchannel chat feature of DimDim, but of course that is available via Google Presentation as well.

    I’m glad to hear about your experiences with ooVoo. I haven’t given it a try yet but want to.

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