Video conferencing is nothing new; we’ve been doing it for years with software like Skype and ooVoo. However, using these services can be a little bit complicated, requiring that you first sign up, download a file, add contacts, and initiate a call with people that have also gone through the same process. Thanks to recent advancements in online software and internet technology, video conferences can be initiated from within modern browsers, like Chrome and Firefox, with the click of a button. No download required.
Earlier this year, after receiving a million dollars of funding, a group of developers launched a new online service that promises to make setting up and conducting video conferences easy and productive. The service, Meetings.io, lets you create a virtual room where anybody can communicate with others through video, audio, chat, and notes.
The creator of a meeting room can make the room public (anyone with the link can join) or private (people have to be approved one by one). Plus, links to the room can be sent to recipients by SMS and email right from the meeting interface.
If you create an account, you will be able to plan meetings and save meeting notes and chat logs. Also, you will have the option of making a personal room with a persistant vanity URL.
Meetings.io distinguishes itself with its conferencing tools and ease of use. No registration or money is required to create a room, and anybody can join the room by clicking a link. In addition to basic video conferencing (currently limited to five people per room), several tools, including file sharing and screen sharing, are offered. There is also a shared notepad where participants can share links, videos, and notes.
The underlying technology can be admired by anyone familiar with web development. The video aspect, unsurprisingly, relies on flash. However, both the tools and the video use peer-to-peer technology to send and receive data between video call participants. This not only requires fewer server resources, reducing the cost of business, but also makes data transfer faster and more responsive.
Notable alternatives include Google+ Hangouts, in which users of Google’s social network can create a video chat room and allow friends to join, and AnyMeeting, which allows users to attend an ad-supported online video conference after signing up for an account. Both of these services lack additional sharing features, and both require that you go through a tedious sign-up process. Google Hangouts does sport Google Docs integration, though, making it greatly superior in terms of document collaboration and creation.