Video calls are coming to Skype, thanks to vSkype, a plug-in developed by Santa Cruz Networks. The company has just released a public beta, which for now works only on windows machines. (Of course, most Mac users have lovely iChat/iSight combination to get their video calling groove on!)
Santa Cruz Networks was formally known as VidiTel, and I guess has had a Skype-makeover. This technology has been around for a while, and its only now that the company has found a way to become a parasite of a parasite.
One of the more interesting aspects of vSkype is that you can do one-to-one or one-to-many video conference calls. P2P and group video for up to 4 users service is likely to remain free. This cannot be good for NetMeeting or Web-Ex, which will have tough time competing with a much lower cost offerings. I think this product has a good chance of becoming a major enterprise play. Vonage and others who are dreaming of video IP calls, will either have to hurry up or best Skype’s video plans.
vSkype Beta allows users to securely conduct video calls in groups from 2 to 200 and share applications, spreadsheets, presentations, or photos with others on a call. In future releases users will be able to download and play Santa Cruz Network’s games with other Skype users and access our library of camera personalities, wallpaper, and drawing tools. Professional users will be provided with various call controls, white boarding, meeting moderation, bandwidth control, and recording and archiving tools through our network of partners.
One thing to note, this plug-in has near official status, since the two companies “share a prominent investor and board member.” That would be DFJ!