1videoConference is a free web conferencing tool in alpha stage that’s burning up the charts on Sourceforge. Like the previously profiled DimDim, it’s software you download and install on your server. It’s designed to be folded into your domain just like your other web pages. Site administrators can then invite users to participate in a video, voice, text chat and screen sharing web conference. The product is far from perfect today, but if these sorts of services can be implemented well in open source they could really change the high priced game of web conferencing. 1videoConference is the 12th most active project on Sourceforge this week and I think it’s one worth watching.
The product was developed by Hardik Sanghvi of Ahmedabad, India and Jason Cox of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Sanghvi is part owner of Indian VOIP and BPO outsourcing firm Adiance. Cox was the creator of MyWhatSpace, a program we profiled here in July that was later acquired by MySpace co-founder Brad Greenspan’s new company Live Universe. (There’s some news for you, MyWhatSpace was acquired by Live Universe.)
There’s a demonstration video of 1videoConference here. It’s a Windows only program that currently requires all users to download an installer to upgrade .NET, make sure Flash is up to date and install a certificate into IE. I haven’t tried the installer yet because I tested it when those upgrades had to be made manually. Cox says that future iterations of Windows will elliminate the need for the upgrade.
Latency and sound quality are all right so far, video image quality is acceptable. Screen sharing hardly works yet, the conference admin can only get a very low quality view of participants’ screens and participants cannot view the admin’s screen. Thus it’s alpha, a proof of concept or something you’d only want to use in certain circumstances. Sanghvi is already using 1videoConference on his site MedInIndia, a service that connects doctors in India with international medical tourists. Up to 6 people can participate at once by default, but the code can be changed to increase that number.
1videoConference’s promise of integration of web conferencing into any website is an intriguing one. If video capture for recording can be folded into any page ala VideoEgg, the next logical place for the imagination to go would be to integrated video conferencing. Real time collaboration amongst distributed parties is something that many people are working on; see also our review of two related products, Conceptshare and Thinkature, earlier this week. 1videoConference is also planning on offering a paid hosted version and providing support once the product is commercialized.
The team has a long list of features in the works including recording of sessions and automatic upload of the recordings to the web. You can read more about their plans on the 1videoConference site. The primary value here for now, though, is that they have built a free web conferencing platform that’s gaining traction in the open source community. Hopefully it will fill out into a solid product. That’s something that many people would love to get their hands on and it’s only a matter of time until some one makes something finished that fits the bill.