5 Way Video Chat Coming to Skype?

Could this be the newest tool to help mediators and conflict specialists (including ombuds) engage their clients?
From Skype's official blog:
Today we’re offering you a preview of our brand new version of Skype, which supports group video calling for up to 5 people.
With the latest version, you’ll be able to bring the whole family together for a chat, for lunch, or even for a birthday. You’ll be able to spend quality time with your best friends, planning a trip, or even hosting a book club. And you’ll be able to meet with colleagues from across the world without leaving your desk.
[read more here].

As an admitted advocate of embracing and using online video chat providers as a way to increase our services [read a draft paper on how ombuds can use new technological features such as video chat here], I think this new option being offered by Skype could create many new options for those in the conflict field.

This is not new however, as sites such as www.ooVoo.com have been offering multi-person video chat for some time. The big difference is two things- 1) Skype's brand name is much more recognizable and 2) it is free to use while the feature is still in beta (testing).

PCworld.com has this to say:

Unfortunately, the group video chat is a premium feature, which will require you to pay for it; however, it is free until the full version is released later this year. Regular video chat will continue to be free of charge. Skype has not released pricing plans for the new feature. However, compared to competitors, Skype has been known to have remarkably cheap plans. [full article]

What does everyone think? Do you currently use Skype personally and/or professionally? Could you envision yourself using this to engage parties in two different locations while you are in a third?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jeff,
    Good of you to mention this new Skype feature. This should be a valuable tech option for mediators, one that nicely scales up from the existing Skype 2-person model. In addition to the Skype name, Skype also has a huge user base, which helps Skype keep their focus on product quality. So hopefully this 5-person option (even if fee-based) will follow suit. I'll be checking it out. Thanks, Ben

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