I didn't make it to Limerick OpenCoffee yesterday which means I missed out on an interesting teleconferencing experiment convened at the AbsoluteHotel.com. Bernie Goldbach (who took the photo below) with a posse of 11 students, 3 lecturers and 6 other attendees connected with remote participants from Cork, Kilkenny and Dublin through an Online Meeting Room.
Ken McGuire, the Kilkenny correspondent says, "The invitation was made to participate in the meeting with the bulk of questions coming from Tipperary IT students calling on various aspects of Antoin’s book, myself adding two cents on photography online for music and hotels.... Whatever about the content, the technology available via Online Meeting Rooms provided a perfect opportunity for me to link up with 4 others in various locations and enjoy streaming video and audio, along with an interactive drawing board (multi-user) and separate chat window for making notes, sharing links etc."
A follow up conversation on Jaiku discussing the relative quality of the various webcams in use is of great value to me as I'm currently evaluating my requirements for a new camera. I have a basic Prolectrix unit at the moment which captures dreadfully choppy and blurry video. Looking in the Argos catalog I'm wondering how much I need to spend to get something that approaches TV quality. Or if that's possible at all with a mid-range webcam and regular broadband.
The unanimous verdict on Jaiku is that Ken's iSight was the knockout winner even against a Logitech 1.3MP which paled by comparison! I'm unlikely to switch to a Mac for the sake of teleconferencing but it's food for thought nevertheless.
By the way, it's great to see an Irish startup - Online Meeting Rooms - providing such a capable web-based video conferencing solution. Only a few days ago I was reading a New York Times article about TokBox which made it sound like they were the only web-based system on the market.