The Los Angeles, CA based Oncam app claims to be the first-of-its-kind, Wi-Fi free, group video calling app with broadcast built in.
You can group video chat with up to six people while unlimited persons watch -- a virtual "Meet the team" event.
Oncam enables three types of live mobile communication: Private group video calls, live public group video calls, and drop-Ins. Private calls are limited to an invited guest list, while public calls are open to an unlimited amount of viewers that can participate via text.
A video call can be scheduled in advance through push notifications to a caller's Oncam followers.
Group video - think Google Hangouts on your mobile phone - uses lots of bandwidth. However Oncam says that the app does "not eat up your data like other video calling apps".
According to the company the app is driven by "patent pending, live-merge technology", and "transforms the group video experience by marrying telecom-grade cellular network transmission with the most advanced video compression system in the world".
Oncam was a Silicon Valley "Manhattan Project‟, created by entrepreneur Joe Shapiro. It was originally launched in 2012 as a video platform for brands with large audiences.
It is designed so that you can take advantage of free Wi-Fi or use your cell data plan to make calls to your network. You can host live public group video calls, which are viewable to all Oncam users - just like Google Hangouts on air.
Celebrities can interact with their fans and bring guests on screen on the fly, They can also respond to text messages and modify their viewers queue if they want to add or omit participants.
Pay-per-view is also an option. Viewers have the choice to accept a single call for 99 cents, or subscribe monthly to the service.
Users can also "Drop-in" on a friend with a video call, turning the device into an always-on video walkie-talkie for authenticated users.
This app might be fun for consumers who want to enjoy video calls with a few of their friends, or for people that like to listen in on celebrity broadcasts. I am not sure it will catch on in the business world.
Anyone who has ever been on a multi-party video call at work and seen video switching as participants try to get the host's attention might want to opt for a more structured solution for their videoconferences.