Free One-To-One Videoconferencing And Screen-Sharing With The New Sony IVE
Sony and GlowPoint have launched a consumer version of their IVE video conferencing service. The new offering lets users communicate by either voice or video, for free (one-to-one) or for a monthly fee.
Though on all public promotions Sony and Glowpoint state that "You can make unlimited Video and Voice calls to any other IVE user anywhere in the world. There are no per minute costs, long distance charges or destination fees" the reality is safely hidden in the fine print of the PDF supporting documentation (p.9) and it says: "Only domestic and Canadian numbers may be called. International voice-only calls are prohibited at this time."
The new IVE videoconferencing system stands for "Instant Video Everywhere" and it is based on Glowpoint and Sony existing corporate service of the same name. IVE also integrates screen-sharing and a/v recording.
IVE utilizes a SIP-based client software that can connect to traditional corporate systems via an H.323 gateway.
IVE biggest attraction, though, may turn out to be not video for free, but VoIP for a fee.
In fact, IVE users who upgrade to the Premium or Professional service plans will also be able to make voice calls to standard cellular or telephones. To do so, they'll have to spend between $9.95 or $19.95 a month respectively, and pay further unspecified network charges, along the lines of SkypeOut.
IVE calls travel over the GlowPoint IP backbone and enter the standard telephone network. The savings over traditional long-distance service could be significant, particularly for international callers.
The Premium ($ 9.95/month) and Professional ($ 19.95/month) plans also offer extra conferencing features. Among other things the premium paid accounts allow users to call standard landlines and cell-phones, to hold four- or six-person audio or video conferencing calls, use video mailboxes, place calls through live video operators or even connect to traditional hardware-based videoconferencing rooms as long as the systems use non-proprietary SIP protocol implementations.
The IVE Video Call Mailbox allows the use of the Sony IVE as a full audio and video answering machine. When new messages are stored on IVE the mail button changes color while blinking and an automatic notification email is dispatched to your preferred email address.
Users can also create their personalized video greeting that will be used when you're not available.
A great unique feature of the new Sony IVE Mailbox is that your Video Call Mailbox works even when IVE is not running, and better yet, also when your computer is altogether turned off.
Recorded messages can be accessed directly from your computer when it is on, or from just about any computer connected to the Internet by simply visiting www.myive.com and clicking on the Video Mailbox button.
Recording is also among the standard features offered by IVE and it allows to fully record a voice and video conversation for later review and playback.
An automated call assistant called 'Lisa', provides support when your outgoing calls can not be completed or the number you are dialling is not correct. 'Lisa' is also always available as a just-in-time assistant capable of providing video-spoken information on how to place calls, contact video operators and troubleshoot specific issues.
Every Sony IVE user is provided with a personal video number that is to be used as traditional telephone numbers. No weirdo nicknames, special codes, hard to remember URLs are needed.
IVE also provides the ability to receive calls not only from any other IVE user, but also from anybody trying to call you via a standard telephone, mobile phone or even from a traditional room-based video conferencing systems.
With IVE you can instantly make a video call that includes multiple people at once - no matter if the other participants are on IVE, a regular telephone or cell phone or a traditional video conferencing system. All it takes is one click of your mouse and you'll see or hear everybody at once.
IVE integrates an effective AEC (automatic echo cancellation) facility which allows you to hold video conversations without having to utilize a headset like it is normally required by other computer-based VoIP applications.
IVE also provides private virtual meeting rooms that can be utilized to hold multi-party sessions anytime, and in which also non IVE users can join in. IVE meeting rooms support both audio-only and audio-video participants.
Among Sony IVE key benefits is also the very low-cost of all calls initiated from it. Whether you are calling the US or Greece, the rates are very low and highly competitive with other service providers.
Last but not least, noe that Sony has also created an exclusive Sony IVE Video Portal which provides access to exclusive content and information by simply dialing S-O-N-Y (7669) from any IVE device and allows you to instantly watch movie clips and gaming demos on-demand.
Sony and Glowpoint have also teamed up with WebEx to make this set of services available to WebEx customers as well as integrating access to WebEx powerful features through IVE own interface. More information.
I have been unable to personally test IVE as the registration system is not sending out registration passwords and I am therefore locked out of any ability to log in.
IVE works only on Windows PCs.
Intel Pentium-III class 800MHz or AMD Athlon-XP 1500+ processor
Microsoft Windows 2000 or XP Operating System
10MB free hard drive disk space
Microsoft DirectX 8.1 (usually included with Windows)
Sound Card, speakers, microphone
Windows Compatible Webcam
Broadband Internet connection - bandwidth 200Kbps or better
Headset with microphone for the best audio experience
Sony IVE uses several 'ports' to access and control it's services. Using your firewall, router or modem's manual, verify that the following ports are open to and from your computer:
80, 5061, 4000-5999 and 10000-10699.
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