SightSpeed Launches Videoconferencing Service for SMBs

The service promises better quality and ease of use.

Web conferencing vendor SightSpeed believes its software-as-a-service-based technology, launched Oct. 29, could displace the hardware-focused business Web conferencing market.

The SightSpeed Business videoconferencing service is designed to bridge the gap between unsupported, poor-quality consumer video messaging and expensive, room-based videoconferencing systems aimed at large enterprises.

"Traditional business videoconferencing from Polycom or Tandberg is a very high-cost, inflexible room-based hardware system. With SightSpeed Business, users just need broadband and a Web cam, and they get high-quality video," said Peter Csathy, CEO of the Berkeley, Calif., company.

SightSpeed, which also offers a consumer-oriented video chat service, believes that its SAAS business videoconferencing could represent a disruptive innovation for small and midsize businesses.

"Much like disrupted the CRM [customer relationship management] market, our kind of service can disrupt the videoconferencing market by getting rid of the old hardware-based focus and focusing instead on a service," said Csathy.


Read more here about SightSpeeds low-cost videoconferencing.

Early users at Frontier Financial Advisors found the service to be just the ticket for presentations to prospective clients, according to CEO Michael Weiss in New York.

"Prior to using SightSpeed I poked around [videoconferencing]. The technology wasnt readily available; the cost was very high. SightSpeed came out with low cost and high quality," he said.

The service, which is priced at $19.95 per seat per month and $189.95 per seat annually, offers one-to-one video calling and multiparty videoconferencing for as many as four participants. It includes video mail and video blogging, unlimited text messaging, PC-to-PC voice calling, 500 free calling minutes to landline or mobile phones, and voice and video mail for incoming calls. Participants can also share files, and video calls can be recorded, published and archived.

The service includes a Web-based administrative console with a dashboard that allows customers to provision seats, order 800-numbers, allocate minutes to different seats and administer their accounts. The console also provides detailed call reporting.

"Once youve registered the users/seats [with their e-mail addresses] they download the application. As soon as they open their contact list, it is prepopulated with the others that have been provisioned. They click to call for multiparty videoconferencing. Its iPod-like simplicity," said Csathy.

The service, based on standard Session Initiation Protocols, includes live face-to-face video support. SightSpeed recommends a minimum of 256K-bps data rates, although it will work on slower speed links at a lower quality.


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