Watchitoo today unveiled Playground, their cloud-based video collaboration platform for small and medium businesses featuring up to 25 participants that can do video, screen sharing, chat, and file sharing. I did a demo of Playground last week and I was very impressed. During my demo with Watchitoo's CEO Rony Zarom and a PR representative we had 3 webcams streaming and he started a screen-sharing session. Next, he started a HD YouTube video. So in addition to seeing his screen, 3 web videochats, I also saw the YouTube video playing and let me just say - the video looked amazing! When you consider they have to transmit screen pixels - similar to Remote Desktop (RDP protocol) and the frame rate and video quality truly was HD quality, I was blown away. Here's a screen grab I took of my browser window, though at the time the other two participants weren't showing their webcam:
Playground has several advantages over competing offerings: up to 25 participants can convene online; no one has to download anything; application- and document-sharing are built right in. It can also branded as a business tool, so your customers know you’re serious.
“We think Playground is a better way for businesses to collaborate,” said Rony Zarom, CEO of Watchitoo. “Whatever your size, a serious business needs a serious business tool. You can access Playground directly, find it in your ISP’s value-added service menu or experience it in customer service applications.”
The cloud-based solution combines HD video conferencing with collaboration around nearly any form of rich media, including presentations, documents, videos, images, etc. The cost-effective, easy-to-use platform is ideal for sales presentations, consultations, training, recruiting or online meetings.
Playground is available three ways:
- At their website – Any consumer or businessperson can be up and running with Playground in minutes at www.plground.com/.
- Through ISPs – Providers will offer Playground as a value-added service bundled with voice, video and Internet service.
- In customer support applications – System integrators and value-added resellers will bundle Playground into customer relationship management software so consumers can chat live on Playground with customer service agents.
Although Playground is targeted to small and medium businesses, many others can find tremendous value in the videochat service. Health care providers can use it to consult with patients and colleagues. Financial services advisors can provide personal counsel to clients. Educators can give students, wherever they are, an easy way to study in groups.
The cost for Playground starts at $3.80 per user per month. A free version with limited features is also available (10 video chat participants for instance). The free version is pretty impressive in itself and will certainly get people's feet wet trying out this service as opposed to say Google Hangouts or Skype, which is even more limited for multi-party video and screen collaboration.
Playground is a lightweight version of Watchitoo’s full-featured, Web-based streaming, conferencing and collaboration platform for brands, TV producers, event organizers and others who want to increase engagement with their audiences and extend their reach. As mentioned, an impressive 25 individuals or groups can participate live simultaneously via Watchitoo, however hundreds of thousands can view and follow the conversation, using social tools to interact with their friends and fellow viewers. Very impressive. I had hoped to write a detailed review of the free version but I'm attending ITEXPO this week. But I can tell you that just from my 45 minute demo I was very impressed with the video quality, frame rate, screen sharing, and file sharing capabilities.