With help from apps like iVisit, face-to-face video messaging and conferencing is poised to become a part of daily life. It's a free unified communications solution that combines a host of tools--all via peer-to-peer network technology. The only thing missing is an adequate Help file. To take full advantage of iVisit, both parties must have the iVisit software.
A Windows-style wizard makes installing iVisit a snap. You must register online to use the iVisit network, but it's free and quick to do. You can then invite contacts into the iVisit network via a Web form--they'll need to sign up too. We like the program's basic black IM-style interface, which has a display window and simple icons labeled People, Places, Log, and Home, the latter leading to a settings page. The program's numerous features include AV teleconferencing, chat, and instant messaging with mobile device support, recording capability, useful business-oriented tools for collaborations, presentations, and document sharing, and more.
Getting people to join yet another network will be worth it for the benefits of having everything work together, but you may need to provide your own instructions. This beta release lacks a Help file or assistance accessible from the interface, which was a disappointment. We found that the program's Web page offers only FAQs and some instructions for the previous release, which differs from this version. Links to an "iVisit Help Desk" showed a grainy Webcam view of a guy lying on his couch. While it's easy enough to figure out, iVisit does a lot and even a quick-start guide would lessen the learning curve.
Although iVisit is a work in progress, it shows real promise for merging daily communications in one simple interface. It's listed for all versions of Windows from 2000 to Vista, though we tested in Windows 7 and it worked fine. And the only price you'll pay is spending some time on your own learning iVista's ins and outs.
iVisit is the easiest way to talk face-to-face with the people who matter. Video chat with friends, family, or colleagues from anywhere using your desktop or laptop for free. Push-to-talk and hands free modes make audio calls easy. Stay connected and avoid expensive phone bills or long-distance charges by using iVisit to talk for free. Integrated chat and instant messaging capabilities make communication even easier. If someone is unavailable, simply leave them an audio or video message and they'll receive it as soon as they return. Mobile users can broadcast their GPS position for you to locate. See where your friends are, provide turn-by-turn directions, and locate nearby points of interest. Connect with any iVisit user on their desktop, laptop, or mobile phone.
What's new in this version:
Version 4.0 beta 18 may include unspecified updates, enhancements, or bug fixes.
Lacks the ability of bookmarking meeting rooms as favorites. THIS NEEDS TO BE FIXED !!!!!
Not bad IF you don't mind having to navigate your way to the meeting room EACH & EVERY time you log on. Also URL-type addresses are needed so rooms can be added DIRECTLY simply by clicking an ADD button in the JOIN MEETING dialog box (Found UNDER TOOLS > MEETING)
Enables multi-party video-conferencing and desktop-sharing at a good price. One may present up to 8 attendees simultaneously (or 16 by special request).
The more attendees, the less reliable appears the software. Router port forwarding sometimes necessary, but www.portforward.com comes to the rescue. Program crashes occasionally, necessitating reaccess.
For the last 15 months I've been running a professional online tutoring service (www.sacredhead.net) 5 days a week using the iVisit Presenter software. Most of my sessions are multi-party. Yes, there are still some reliability issues with this beta software, but nothing too substantial. I know of no other video-conferencing that would allow me to teach so effectively for the price.
Connections not reliable
Router changes (port forwarding) often required
I am in an online study program that uses iVisit for class. While the interface is simple, the reliability is poor. Images freeze, people can't get into the classrooms, frequent disconnects. In general, the experience is poor. iVisit recommends that port forwarding be enabled on port 9940 to avoid these problems. That helps a little bit, but the problems still exist. For non-technical users, like many of the students in my program, setting up port forwarding is a huge challenge. I can't recommend this software.
Lets you have up to 8 (16 I think if you get the self hosted version) video streams and still share applications. One of the few products that I have found that let you do this. One-to-One is free; otherwise the presenter must be a paid client.
Some features still in development. If you looking for a free replacement for Skype this isn't your baby -- more for group collaboration with video.
I like it. UI was a little different and some firewall changes might be needed.