Cisco Multipoint Video Conferencing Review

In this Cisco Multipoint Video Conferencing Review, you will learn about the features that Cisco provides to video conferencing users along with how to use the conferencing system.

Cisco offers you the ability to support many video users over multipoint video conferencing to fit any needs of your business. When using Cisco as a video conferencing provider you are able to have a cost effective platform to perform face to face calls on any device; perform scheduled and unscheduled meetings in a business fashion; and scale video adoption to best fit your business budget.

Cisco Collaboration Meeting Room

Cisco offers a feature called the Collaboration Meeting Room (CRM) that lets people meet in a business quality video conference from almost every device. The Collaboration meeting room features Cisco’s videoconferencing technology with WebEx cloud conferencing to bring a virtual meeting experience to all parties involved from anywhere. Schedule a meeting, create a meeting on the spot, invite others to join a meeting, and reserve conference rooms and resources for more formal events with CMR. Cisco Collaboration Meeting Room is easy to use, allowing the user to create, launch, and join meetings. It has the ability to host over 500 people in a business quality meeting, worldwide. The collaboration meeting room is flexible giving your cloud, on premises, or a combination of the two.

Cisco Multipoint Video Conferencing 

Cisco boasts about their award winning video conferencing system saying that they provide one of the industries best “portfolios of purpose-built, high-quality video collaboration solutions”. Cisco is a perfect business oriented mulitpoint video conferencing system that brings a cost effective program that delivers video conferencing properties to any type of device. With scale video adoption, your company is able to choose the best option to fit your budget and need. The business quality that is delivered by Cisco is above expectation and can not be replaced by using a free video conferencing platform. With the integrated cloud feature your company is given flexibility and an easy to use interface. While you are videoconferencing, record and stream your content to deliver to people in the future, analyze comments and presentations made during the call, or to enhance productivity.

Video conferencing products include:

  • Cisco TelePresence Server
  • Cisco TelePresence Conductor
  • Cisco TelePresence Content Server

Web conferencing products include:

  • Cisco WebEx Meeting Center
  • Cisco Collaboration Meeting Rooms Cloud
  • Cisco WebEx Meetings Server

Conferencing Management products include:

  • Cisco Prime Collaboration
  • Cisco TelePresence Management Suite

To purchase Cisco mulitpoint video conferencing:

By Phone: call 1-866-428-9596

Email: email Cisco

In person: visit a local retailer

Online: purchase through an online seller

Free Multipoint Video Conference for Small Business

Gone are the days when quality video conference services were only afforded by big corporations who had the money to equip their conference rooms with state of the art video conferencing services from the likes of Polycom, Cisco and Webex. With advancement in broadband technology, internet streaming software, and cloud computing, video conferencing technology is now affordable, even for small businesses. If you are a small business owner and want to start using videoconference to connect remote sites or provide customer service to your clients, there are high quality FREE multipoint conferencing options you can start with. Here are our top 3:

Free Multipoint Video Conference for Small Business

1. Gooogle Hangouts

"google hangouts for small business"

Google Hangouts is a video conferencing tool that allows you to videoconference with up to 10 participants or remote sites. It allows you to capture photos, share your screen and message each other at the same time. Google has done a great job with seamlessly integrating chat, video and web calls into a single Google Hangouts platform. You can even launch a Google Hangouts through gmail or set up a calendar event inviting people to a Google Hangouts video call. All they have to do is click on the video link in the invitation and they will be joined to the call. For all the exciting ways you can use Google Hangouts to benefit and grow your Small Business, click here.

Here is a good video demonstrating how Google Hangouts works and the various ways you can launch it and all the neat functionalities that come with it. To get Google Hangouts, click here.

2. VidyoWay

"vidyo web conference for small business"

Vidyo, the Video Conferencing Software Company has a FREE multipoint video conferencing service that allows you to connect with up to 9 sites or locations for a video call. The service is called VidyoWay. It works with legacy systems and is cross platform. VidyoWay can be used from Smartphones and PCs and also from corporace conference rooms using Polycom, Cisco and Microsoft conferencing tools. VidyoWay accommodates up to 9 silmultanous HD video streams, providing a great user experience that is free. It is a nice way to get an introduction to the Vidyo suite of Video conferencing services. If you like the experience with VidyoWay and need more tools for your conferencing needs, you can then upgrade to their more enterprise products. But for most small business needs, VidyoWay Is more than sufficient.

Here is a video showing you in details how the VidyoWay Video Conferencing Works. To get Vidyo, click here.

AnyMeeting

AnyMeeting, is a web conferencing solutions provider. The company was formerly known as Freebinar. Their business model is a bit different from Google Hangouts and Vidyo in that they are able to provide the free service by being ad-supported. You are allowed to host unlimited number of video conferences on this platform and are allowed up to 200 users per session. Signing up for the service is a breeze and even if those you are inviting to your video conference have not used AnyMeeting before, they will not find it cumbersome to sign up and join your conference. Another neat feature is that it is a web based solution, so there is no need to download any software or have special equipment to use the service. All you need is a web enabled computer or device to host or join a meeting.

Here is a video showing you in details how the AnyMeeting Video Conferencing Works. To get AnyMeeting, click here.

We hope you found our review of Free Multipoint Video Conference for Small Business helpful. If there are other high qualify FREE multipoint video conferencing tools that we neglected to mention, please let us know in the comments section below and we will take it for a test drive for possible inclusion on our list.

Free Multipoint Video Conferencing Software Review

We have gotten emails about whether we plan to do a free multipoint video conferencing software review and point readers in the right direction about which apps live up to the task. Here is our initial review. We will follow-up with individual reviews later, which will provide a more detailed look at each software and the pros and cons. By definition, multipoint video conference means a video conference call that requires the participation of 3 or more sites.

Google Hangouts

"free multipoint video conference"

Google Hangouts is a late entrant to the free video conferencing space but has become a formidable competitor to Skype (reviewed below). The hangout capability comes as  the default chat app on Android devices. Google Hangouts allows you to connect with up to 10 people in a free web conference.

One of the things we like about this service is that regardless of how poor the data connection is, Google Hangouts seems to deliver a good experience, which is really important when connecting with lots of people with different data or broadband capabilities on their devices. Another neat feature is that Google Hangouts is integrated with Google Voice so you can call regular telephone lines and have them as part of your conversation (iOS only). You can also text and chat in the Google hangout application, making it a one stop shop for video conferencing, sharing information, chatting and texting with multiple people all at the same time. Here is how it works:

Google Hangouts is also cross-platform, and there are native apps on both Android and iOS, plus a web version that runs on Google Chrome. You can download it for free from Google Play for Andriod devices or the App Store for Apple devices. You can also get the desktop version online.

Vidyo

"Vidyo multipoint video conference"

Vidyo, the video conferencing firm has a free multipoint video conferencing service called VidyoWay. It can be used from smartphones and PCs, and also from corporate conference rooms using Polycom, Cisco/Tandberg and Microsoft Lync endpoints, among others. It allows up to 9 HD participants in a video conference, making it more suitable for business environments.

We get a lot of questions about why Vidyo will offer VidyoWay as a free service. The answer is simple – They want VidyoWay to serve as a marketing tool for Vidyo’s paid, higher-quality corporate services. Once you see how powerful the VidyoWay video conference experience is, you are more likely to upgrade to other Vidyo conferencing products with more bells and whistles that you may need for your business needs. Here is how it works:

Skype

"skype group video calls"

Skype was the first to bring video conferencing services to the masses and have remained an industry trailblazer in the space. Skype is ideal when connecting with another person for video conference. All you need is to download the Skype application and just connect your webcam and microphone to the USB ports on your desktop and you are good to go. If your device or computer already comes with a built in camera, then all you need is a microphone or headset to conduct a video conference.  Skype can offer multi-point video conferencing with up to 10 participants. However, to use the service, at least one person on the call needs to have a Premium account (which is $9 a month). Note that you can do person-to-person video calls (point-to-point) for free. When you need 3 or more participants on the call, then one participant has to have a Premium account. The pricing sheet below shows what you can do with a free skype account and what the Premium account offers.

"skype multipoint video conference calls"

Here is how it works:

You can download Skype here. Skype is truly a multi platform application, with Mac, PC, Android, Windows and other devices like gaming consoles all supported.

ooVoo

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ooVoo is a free video conferencing service that allows you to video conference with up to 12 people. Once you download their app, all you need to do to start a video conference is by choosing Web Call in your contact list, then select Add a Call to add another friend. When you invite friends to a group chat, they get a link to download ooVoo and an invitation to call you to join the chat.  You can even add friends from Facebook, Outlook, Twitter, Gmail, and AOL mail.

ooVoo has apps for Facebook, iPhone, iPad, Android, PC, and Mac. ooVoo works well on a Windows 8 computer, but has no dedicated Windows 8 app. ooVoo’s  best feature, the ability to chat with 12 people at once, doesn’t work completely on all devices. While it is seamless on a PC, Mac users can only see six people, but can hear all 12. The iPad app lets you see only four contacts at once.

ooVoo needs to improve their user interface if they are going to compete with established platforms like VidyoWay and Google Hangouts. Also, there are display ads in the application, which can be quite large, making the experience quite unpleasant since the ads are in your face. We think that they should first work on making sure their application works on cross platforms seamlessly, so that if I am making a call on an iphone and inviting someone who has a windows or android phone, the experience is seamless and that we all see the same thing.

In addition they need to do something about the ad placement. They need to make it such that it is not intrusive to the video conference experience, otherwise it becomes a nuisance and people will be turned off by that. For a free app, ooVoo works, but needs a lot of improvements to compete with the big boys in the space for Free Multipoint Video Conferencing Software.

Here is how it works:

We hope you found our review useful. If there is a free multipoint video conferencing software or application we neglected to mention, please let us know in the comments section below.

Mobile Video Conferencing Solutions – Vidyo

Vidyo provides a very robust mobile video conferencing software solution on both ios and android devices. It was one of the first companies to take video conferencing mobile. They now have apps for Apple’s iPhones, iPads and iPods as well as Google Android based smartphones and tablets alike.

Mobile Video Conferencing Solutions – Vidyo Review

What we like about the Vidyo solution is that first, it allows users on smartphones and tablets to get on video calls with participants on similar devices or on desktops computers or room systems. That caters to people on the go that need to jump on a video conference call quickly but cannot connect to a desktop, laptop or room system.

Another reason we like Vidyo is that they are a software based platform, so their entire focus is making video conferencing software better across platforms, unlike Cisco or Polycom that try to do both hardware and software at the same time. Vidyo is taking a different approach to the enterprise model where companies buy hardware and software for their conference rooms. Instead, the company is focused on software that feeds the BYOD (bring your own device) market which is driving the surge in software video conference solutions. This has also been helped by advancement in cloud computing techonology.

Description of Vidyo Mobile Conferencing Apps

The video above goes into details about how the Vidyo mobile conferencing functionality works on smartphones and tablets. Here are reasons why we think you should choose Vidyo Mobile Conferencing solutions:

1. Works on hardware and devices you already own
2. Conferencing Distributed in the Cloud
3. VidyoRoom Systems don’t require purpose built rooms
4. Scalable and Flexible even on mobile devices

As a business, we think picking Vidyo is a solid choice because not only do you get in room and desktop capabilities but you are also able to deploy their mobile solutions, helping your team to stay connected all the time, no matter where they are or what devices they have available.

How Multipoint Video Conferencing Works

In our first post about Multipoint Video Conferencing, we covered the general definition of Multipoint conferencing and why it is important for business, both small and large to explore the benefits of this amazing advancement in conference call technology.

"multipoint video conferencing"

How Multipoint Video Conferencing Works

Multipoint conferencing is just like any other video conference, but the difference is that it allows people in multiple locations – three or more to connect to the same video conference call via a bridge. In other words,  when three or more participants or remote sites need to get on a video conference, a videoconference “bridge” system or MCU system must be used.  This capability is analogous to phone conferencing where multiple people can be connected
together in a single call.

MCUs have traditionally been dedicated, stand-alone devices that provide the ability to link multiple video
conferencing sites together in a single call. However, this capability can also be embedded within the video conferencing
system (called a codec) and is referred to as an embedded or built-in MCU. Finally, the third way to achieve multipoint
capability is through a multipoint service provider (MSP). You may also need a gateway, which helps mix different formats of video conference calls together, such as H.320 and H.323.

In the next post, we will cover the options available in the Multipoint conferencing space and what your business should consider when selecting a system for your needs. We will then review individual Multipoint Service Providers (MSPs) and help you understand the pros and cons of their offerings and what makes them unique in the marketplace. We will also look into Google hangouts and Skype – which are cloud based solutions and how they compared with the regular systems that dominate the space in the enterprise settings.

We will cover Free Multipoint Video Conference Systems and the pros and cons that come with going that route vs spending the money on an enterprise solution like Polycom, LifeSize, BrothercloudCisco or  Bluejeans system or software.

What is MultiPoint Video Conferencing Solution?

If you are looking to invest in a video conferencing solution for your business, there are several options available to you. There is HD Video Conferencing, Desktop Video Conferencing, Cloud-based Video Conferencing and Mobile Video Conferencing. There is Skype, Cisco, Lifesize, Vidyo Linux and even Google products that try to meet the demand in this space. But what makes a solution multiPoint?

What is unique about multipoint  video conferencing is that it allows three or more remote sites to participate in a simultaneous video conference. The sites must connect via a video bridge, which is called the Multipoint Control Unit or MCU. With this capability, a company that has teams in various locations can bring them together via video conference to collaborate on a project or participate in a company meeting or event. With this capability, everyone on the conference can hear each other in real-time using video and audio. The MCU is the controller for the meeting and connects all the participants on the call. It regulates which audio or video feed participants see, depending on who is talking (the loudest), so that participants can follow the party that is leading the call or presenting information at each particular time.

When investing in a Multipoint Video Conferencing tool, you have to decide what kind of MCU you want, because there are several options to choose from and which one you select determines your experience and cost. There are Software MCU, Hardware MCU and Software and Hardware
Combo MCUs.

How Multipoint Video Conferencing Solution Works

The video above, by LifeSize,  one of the major players in the industry describes in very simple terms how MultiPoint Video Conferencing Solution works and the components needed to set up a functioning unit for your business.