Citrix, Adobe and Cisco: Three of the biggest online meeting solutions vendors have now integrated video functionality into their solutions. We checked them out and here is what we found:
All three tools offer not only video but rather HD video. And yes, the quality is very impressive. Citrix GoToMeeting limits the number of webcam participants to 6 unlike Cisco WebEx which allows up to 500 participants or Adobe Connect 8 where you have no restrictions at all. But as always bigger isn’t necessarily better. One downside of a video conference with let us say 20 participants is that you will need a lot of bandwidth to really get that HD quality. And with every new participant that joins the webcams on display just get smaller and smaller. Now we haven’t tried it with 20 participants ourselves but it probably is hard to see who is actually speaking.
Next to the number of possible participants the ease of integrating video into a conference was another important item on our list. All three tools did well when it comes to basic integration and Adobe and Citrix lead the way when it comes to flexibility. Users can resize the webcams on display or place them wherever it is most convenient on their screens.
A nice touch was linking the videos to VoIP, which GoToMeeting and WebEx offer. What does that mean? Well, the webcam of the current speaker is highlighted (Citrix) or centered (WebEx). The centering can give you a headache, though. Just imagine a discussion between 10 participants with frequently changing speakers…
Overall, Citrix really did the best job of integrating HD video. The new functionality is lean and easy to use. It blends into the overall tool very well and covers the scenarios ‘video-only’ and ‘video combined with screen sharing’ best.
But Adobe and Cisco don’t trail by far so if you are used to meeting online with one of the two you are very likely to be satisfied with the video conferencing option either one offers.