It seems like just about every day someone is releasing a new conferencing app.
Today it's Phrase, who have come out with a browser based free (for now) conferencing service. It works fairly easily and reminds me a lot of GetARoom from client Temasys, pioneers in the Embedded Real Time Communications space who produced the proof of concept over two years ago using WebRTC entirely.
To use Phrase you simply do this...
- Go to Phrase's web site.
- Create a name for your call.
- Click start a conference
- Share the link
- Have up to 100 people on the voice or video call
- Use the side features pull out to chat or raise your hand.
- Use the top toggles to mute or toggle on the video camera
- Monitor performance right on screen in the lower right hand corner.
You can do other things too with Phrase. You can go full screen and of course even, hang up, all from within the browser..
Phrase is another example of Embedded Real Time Communications, built upon WebRTC. As WebRTC proliferates, we can expect to see more services like this come along. Give it a spin and let me know what you think...
Last night I dined out using Feastly for the first time. It was the way to book seats at a “pop up” dinners across the USA. The dinner was the debut of former Herringbone LA chef Jason Witzl, who is in the process of opening up his own Cal-Ital place, Ellie’s, in DTLA. Not only was Feastly a cool app/service experience end to end, but the communal dining experience made it easy to make new friends, hang with old friends, eat very well and of course BYOB.
Alexa-can you come with me? So many times i wanted to take Alexa with me, so while Telzio had voice enabled access to my Amazon Echo first via their mobile app, almost a full year or so ago, there wasn’t a lot of use. Well the game just changed as Rain Labs has launched Reverb with apps for the Mac, iOS and Android. It’s all made possible by Amazon Voice Service. As I wrote on the Xceptional Blog a few days ago, Amazon keeps looking more and more like a telco/information services competitor to AT&T, Verizon, H-P and more….
So with that, let’s dive into the news in today’s extended edition of Comunicano.
Odds & Ends
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In a world full of conference and video conferencing apps largely dominated by Zoom, Go To Meeting, WebEx and UberConference, Amazon has entered the fray with Chime, an AWS powered service. While you can page through the features and pricing that ranges from free to $15.00 a month for the most part Amazon has copied all the features you would expect from the leaders, with the underlying promise that the reliability will be rock solid as it runs entirely on AWS.
For now the service has many of the features of the competition, including room device access much like Zoom and BlueJeans feels much like a "Me Too, Me Also" service, with the only differentiators being a feature that lets anyone mute anyone on a call, and the Amazon name. Now, if they find a way to connect to Fire devices, blend in a really nice PTZ camera and connect to the Amazon Echo, that would be something that makes the service "me different.
PC Magazine and others contend this is also a play against Skype For Business calling chime a "powerful swing." I'm not so sure as currently there's no PSTN in or out like Skype, but there is the ability to call into a conference call.
The WSJ reminded me that Chime is largely "built on technology Amazon acquired when it bought the San Francisco startup Biba Systems Inc."
The bigger question to me surrounds Amazon going into competition against companies that run their apps business on AWS, as this the second move by Amazon to actually become an apps supplying company. Previously they rolled out an email, contacts and calendar platform called WorkMail that has not exactly set the world on Fire (um no pun intended) and are likely working on some type of Slack competitor.
Ya gotta love it when one of the most modern newsletter platforms gives you a shoutout and compliments you for what you do.
Made my day when I saw this today. If you want to subscribe just click the link here. Thanks Martijn and all @revue.
My agency, Comunicano and I have been involved in a few successes in the conferencing field, starting with SightSpeed (now a part of Logitech), HiDefConferencing (now part of GoToMeeting but originally acquired by Citrix), WebDialogs (acquired by IBM and at the core of SameTime), plus we've kicked around WebRTC since it's earliest of days, working with leader Temasys, pioneer of ORTC, Hookflash, and others. That's why when it comes to being impressed by something new in video conferencing, or conferencing, I usually hit pause, as not much motivates me, as I've pretty much settled on Zoom and UberConference, while canning paid subscriptions to GoToMeeting and Cisco's WebEx last year.
So when I saw Acrossio on pal Tsahi's WebRTC Index I figured it was at least worth a look, as here's a company openly admitting they're WebRTC based, as the collision of VoIP and WebRTC was one of my predictions for 2017.
Acrossio instantly got my attention with Living Meeting on their home page. But, as I began to play with Acrossio I realized their core value isn't Living Meetings, it's smarter meetings. They do this by real time tagging as part of the note taking (I wish I could integrate their Tasks with Basecamp or Trello, send notifications via Slack-especially if you assign a task to someone not in the meeting. Right now they integrate with LinkedIn, and do a better job of it than Hookflash's original attempt by avoiding being the calling company for LinkedIn but leveraging LinkedIn's sign in for sign up.
What's more there's lots of power in the way they've approached video conferencing. For starters Acrossio offers four different modes of conferencing: Online, Local, Self Recording and From External Content such as YouTube or Vimeo.
While you can share files, Acrossio lacks on screen sharing of files in the session. So while you can share the video, you can't share a Google Slides document in the session the way you can with UberConference. A minor drawback and one I expect them to solve overtime.
My feeling is Acrossio is really just starting out, so while they are listed as five years old, it feels like their approach with WebRTC is taking video conferencing in a different and more robust direction, as the note taking and tagging, assigning tasks, and making those actions a part of the actual conversation is almost novel, and really is long needed functionality in video conferencing. The self recording mode, which for the work team sharing and tasking. They have a Windows Desktop app, that appears to be a messaging app. There's various ways to invite people to join, maybe too, including Slack integration so I get the sense there's more to come. Lots more.
There's something here, and I hope to learn more about Acrossio as time goes on.