Friday, July 18, 2008

Could this be your next video conferencing system?

TechCrunch has a very nice review of live streaming systems. YouTube and its videos of last night are history. How YouTube has kept from offering live services is something I don't get. They allow real-time uploading from a web cam, why not let people watch in real time?

I'm currently trying out one of the reviewed system, Kyte. While it has not been perfect, I like it a lot. Not only can I broadcast live but I don't have annoying ten minute limits. Kyte allows for 60 minutes. For most teachers, that is more than enough for a class. Not so great for my 3 hour plus classes, but I can work around that problem.

Technically, these live streaming services are not replacements for video conferencing systems. While the viewers can upload video feedback in real-time, the model is more of a broadcast model than it is a face-to-face model. For distance learning situations, I believe real-time streaming is best. If you really need to do video conferencing, you could broadcast to each other.

The fact that you can broadcast from a cell phone -- has to be the right model -- is fantastic. You could take it on field trips, broadcast sporting events, and take it around the school without much concern if it would work. Of course, you can also broadcast from a web cam.

I think the potential for these technologies is huge and that you should start to play around with them now so that you'll be ready. BTW, they are all free to use.


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