Citrix announced today an add-on to its GoToMeeting service called HDFaces, a video conferencing feature that is included at no cost to those using the remote screen-sharing online meeting service. There is nothing to setup or configure, you simply click on an icon to start up your Web camera on your laptop and you bring up the video conference displays, which appear in a separate window alongside with your PowerPoint slides or other screen-oriented display. As one participant starts talking, his or her video screen is highlighted to make it easier to keep track.
The service works with any Web cam and doesn’t require any special hardware acceleration or other configuration tools. If you have used GoToMeeting in the past, you will have no trouble getting started. You will need some serious bandwidth if you want to run video along with the screen sharing and the VOIP audio, something on the order of 700 k bps. It is designed to have voice take precedence at all times, which is what it should be as conferences are more sensitive to audio quality.
It claims it is the highest resolution Web-based video conferencing available, with six 1920×960 pixel streams available for each conference. On my quick test during the press briefing, the video images were very clear, much better than my average Skype video call in terms of tracking movement. It certainly is one of the easiest to use product, and while there are a number of other video conferencing products, because the GoTo brand is so strongly recognized.
The video feature has been in beta about a month and will be available to all customers. They eventually will become the Web conferencing provider for Skype. Certainly, if you are contemplating purchasing a more expensive video conferencing solution, you should look at what Citrix has here.