December 03, 2012, 3:31 PM — The scoop: OmniJoin Web and videoconferencing, by Brother, starting at $50 per month.
What is it? The OmniJoin service is a collaboration and Web conferencing platform that provides high-quality videoconferencing features for attendees. At the basic level, up to 30 attendees can join a meeting, with up to 12 video windows to provide face-to-face interaction. The OmniJoin Pro service offers up to 50 attendees and up to 20 video windows during a meeting, and an enterprise version is also available with customized settings for licenses, attendees and video participants.
MORE REVIEWS: Web-based conferencing comes of age
As with other Web conferencing services (think GoToMeeting, LiveMeeting or WebEx), OmniJoin meeting hosts can share a PowerPoint presentation, an application, a whiteboard, their desktop, hold a chat with attendees and share files. Control of a meeting can be exchanged from hosts to any attendee, providing for remote collaboration (for example, working together on a spreadsheet or other application). Hosts can set up meetings in advance via their OmniJoin client application, or through the OmniJoin website, or conduct ad hoc meetings with other contacts in an instant messaging-like fashion.
Meetings can be recorded for attendees that miss a session, with video (MP4 format) being stored locally on hosts' computers (an upcoming version will record and store video through the cloud). For audio, customers can use multipoint, full-duplex VoIP via the service, or use a traditional telephone audioconference option.
While the video can be handled by any standard webcam found on attendees' computers (or external USB webcams), Brother also makes its own hardware -- the company's NW-1000 HD Videocam ($100) provides full 1080p or 720p video, a built-in stereo microphone and plug-and-play connectivity via USB 2.0 port. The company also makes a Compact Speakerphone (model VT-1000, $100), which enables mobile users to convert their smartphones into higher-quality speakerphones. The hardware isn't required to use with OmniJoin, but both devices fully support the service.