Couldn't trust it.
Same with streaming, as I've explained before. Click for more. It's a complex category -- an agglomeration of many different activities:
- One to one (as with videoconferencing)
- One to a few (as with small group presentations and online training)
- A few to a few (as with video conference calling with several participants)
- Or one to many (as with Webcasts of special events)
A number of companies are attacking this category. Including newcomers such as iBeam, which uses satellite-based streaming. And Akamai, which uses a distributed architecture to optimize performance.
But the newcomer that has me most excited is WorldStream, which may advance videoconferencing to the next level. Don't get me wrong. It will still be a slow climb. But it may happen a year or two sooner, thanks to ideas pioneered by this company. That's why I'm nominating WorldStream as a Natural Born Killer.
As with all of my Natural Born Killer nominations, I am not recommending the company or predicting whether or not it will succeed. Rather, I'm suggesting you study its innovations and approaches for breakthrough opportunities. Reminder: My NBK series is not about reviews or lab tests. It is about discoveries and new ideas that will be important whether or not the particular product succeeds.
With that said, WorldStream doesn't "solve" any of videoconferencing's many problems, but it improves several of the most difficult.
Easier broadcasting. A professional-quality Internet broadcast is a complex nightmare of shooting, recording, encoding and streaming. Often requiring tens of thousands of dollars in equipment and weeks of setup.
WorldStream's innovative answer to this dilemma is Studio-in-a-Box, a plug-and-play broadcast setup that can travel anywhere. And it costs just $7,500, including camera, microphone, mixer, computer, multiple audio/video capture cards, software and other necessary equipment.
Easier coordination. WorldStream's eComm software simplifies the job of enhancing a broadcast with PowerPoint slides, discussion forums, interactive Q&A sessions, polls, quizzes and so on. It also includes a handy Event Scheduler.
Better performance. Through a network of regional media servers, WorldStream puts the streaming content closer to customers. Which improves performance by avoiding long hops and Internet bottlenecks. In other words, it doesn't force everybody to come to one central server.
In addition, the company touts intelligent load balancing (for the server end) and intelligent bandwidth management (for the client end). As a result, it claims it can handle thousands more people than competing systems. And give them a better experience.
Easier startup. As a hosted solution, WorldStream doesn't require customers to invest in hardware or software. (It does require ongoing service fees, however.)
If I had to sum up my reasons for nominating WorldStream, I'd put it this way -- it doesn't have all the answers but it is asking the right questions.
WorldStream is still at the early stages. In fact, the company just announced its "early-adopters" program at Comdex this week. But it points the way to a time when streaming will be more reliable. Tell me what you think of WorldStream by sending your thoughts to our editors.