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Choosing the Best Video Conference Software

While there is a lot of contention out there on what exactly IS the best web video conferencing software around, one principle perhaps can be agreed upon by all: The best video conferencing software has to be the one that allows efficient conferencing with little regard of location, bandwidth, and even operating system.

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Why? The point of video conferencing after all is to bridge the gaps created by different geographic locations. If certain video conferencing software disallows the connection between say, Mac and PC users, then the purpose of conferencing is somewhat defeated. It is ironic that with all this technology available, this one issue cannot be resolved.

Fortunately, this issue HAS been addressed and resolved by web video conferencing software that allows the interaction of users, regardless of operating system. There are three video conferencing software that bridge the Mac and Windows divide. To find out which one would serve your needs best, read the descriptions that follow.

Session by WaveThree

As the pioneer in effectively bridging the Mac and PC divide, Session stands out as an impressive selection. Session can provide excellent quality audio and video conferencing and even allows application and desktop sharing, where a user is allowed to manipulate a program residing on another party’s computer. The basic user interface is intuitive. Advanced users can customize the program to their needs using the Options control.

One drawback to Session would probably be that it only works on high-speed connections (1 meg and over). Users with lower bandwidths may not be able to use the program as of now. Primary reason for this is perhaps to ensure that video and audio signals are of clear and excellent quality every time. A lower speed connection would compromise such features. For example, because of this high bandwidth requirement, Session's audio capabilities allow everyone to talk simultaneously (duplex), as opposed to needing one party to finish before another can speak.

MediaSpace, or the shared whiteboard facility, have impressive features such as:

- drag and drop ability for most image file formats.
Users can show pictures and images on the fly by simply dragging the image onto the whiteboard as he probably would in a real life meeting.

-live annotation tools
the software has annotation tools that help parties keep track of what was said and by whom.

- full screen playback of presentations.
This last feature could then effectively allow Powerpoint presentations on both Mac and PC systems. All the user has to do is save the slides as graphic files and use the media library to manage the slide sequence.

This program can be downloaded from the publisher’s sight and a free 30-day trial period is available. The program is a desktop solution for both Win XP, 2000, and MacOS X.

Other software that have effectively bridged the divide are iVisit, which you can download for free with a registration. It is a desktop solution available for Windows 9x, ME, NT/2000, XP and MacOS X.
Pixion is another web video conferencing software with similar features and can be availed of for a free seven-day try out. This, however, is not made for desktops, but rather for ASP or server-based systems. It comes in variants for Win 9x, ME, NT/2000, XP, MacOS 8.x, MacOS X and Unix.

As mentioned before, there really is no sure fire way of determining THE best software. Each one is relative to the conferencing requirements, as well as budget of every individual and organization. The trick is to know what you need and the financial resources you can allow to satisfy those communication needs. There is bound to be software out there that can meet both those parameters.


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