Thanks to Scott Wharton (ex Broadsoft) and his band of merry people (Jen and Dan get super high marks) over at Vidtel and my good friend at Counterpath (and former client at Bridgeport Networks Todd Carothers) my wife and I have been having morning video calls of late.
We both have the new Vidtel Video phones, but mine sits in the office, while the laptop goes everywhere. Helene keeps her Vidtel bedside, so when I get up in the morning I can "see her" as I simply use either a Mac or a Netbook with Eyebeam or Bria and Video Away (as we live 500 miles apart during the week-One doesn't move a physician from her practice and I'm not moving from gorgeous Del Mar as much as I travel).
The latency is non-existant, and the picture quality rather good. What's best of all, is that Vidtel has made it easy. They support the user very, very well, and the service works as advertised. You can't get much better than that.
The GrandStream phones they are using for the rollout represent one of the earlier models we'll be seeing. I expect video phones to become something more popular, especially in this era of travel less, see each other more. Sure there's Skype, ooVoo and SightSpeed, but for the masses, and those who don't walk around with a laptop on their hip like a child, the easy to use, plug and play Vidtel service is the delivery on the 1964 promise of videophones.
For the road warrior, having either of the better Counterpath clients installed on the laptop makes calling using a dedicated SIP account with a DID a breeze. If Helene calls me from the Vidtel to the Vidtel number associated with the softphone we get an instant video call.
Now for the supreme test..Pointing a Google Voice number to Vidtel and calling from a Vidtel phone to a Vidtel enabled end point.....
I'll try that next week sometime. My one concern is that the GV numbers go via PSTN in and out. If GV would open up their SIP credentials then the issue would evaporate overnight I'm sure. Then Google Voice really would be the grand old man of switchboards for all mankind.