Monday, October 29, 2007

SightSpeed Open for Business -- SIGHTSPEED BUSINESS Now Live!



"SightSpeed Business" -- the first high quality cost-effective video conferencing service for all businesses (including SMBs) is now live at our completely redesigned website, http://www.sightspeed.com/. Importantly, SightSpeed Business is positioned to disrupt the multi-billion dollar business video conferencing market now dominated by "the big guys", all of whom essentially sell only high cost room-based hardware systems that sit in conference rooms and collect dust due to lack of use and and lack of ease of use. The "big guys" (Polycom, Tandberg, HP, Cisco) also only address the top 5% of companies in terms of revenues and size, whereas SightSpeed Business meets the needs of all businesses -- including SMBs. (Think of it this way -- we aim to do to business video conferencing what Salesforce.com did to the CRM business.)




SightSpeed Business is the first high quality (30 frames per second), cost-effective business video conferencing service available for all businesses -- less than $20/month per seat! And, unlike inflexible room-based hardware systems, SightSpeed Business is fully portable -- you can take it with you wherever you go. Importantly, SightSpeed Business requires no expensive video conferencing hardware -- all you need for the highest quality business video conferencing is a PC or Mac (most of which now come with embedded webcams) and a broadband connection (outstanding video quality is achieved on 256 kbps and up). SightSpeed Business is also drop dead easy to use -- unlike complex hardware video conferencing systems that require separate IT support just to place a call. Think of iPod-like ease of use.

For a full listing of SightSpeed Business features, check out http://www.sightspeed.com/business




Why is this much more than "just another product release" for us here at SightSpeed? Glad you asked.


(1) it is our first service specifically developed for the business user;


(2) but, we are not new to the business party -- 30,000 businesses already are SightSpeed customers (despite the fact that we never before had a business service) ("SightSpeed Business" is the product of this experience and input from existing business customers);


(3) for all the reasons stated above -- high quality, cost-effective, fully portable, and no expensive hardware!; and


(4) we launch a completely redesigned website in conjunction with our launch of SightSpeed Business;




Here is our official press release that hits the wires tomorrow morning, the date of our official launch:


Contact:
Todd Petruska
Burson-Marsteller for SightSpeed
+1 212 614 4707
todd.petruska@bm.com


SightSpeed Looks to Disrupt Video Conferencing Market with Affordable New Service for Businesses of all Sizes

New Service Redefines Video Conferencing with Cost-Effective Alternative
To High-Priced & Inflexible Room-Based Hardware Systems


BERKELEY, Calif., Oct. 30, 2007 – SightSpeed Inc., the leading provider of Internet video communications, today unveiled a breakthrough business video conferencing service that enables all businesses – including small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) – to communicate and connect face-to-face with clients, customers, and colleagues without the need for expensive and immobile room-based hardware.

This new service, SightSpeed Business, combines the high resolution video quality of expensive, stationary room-based hardware systems with the ease of use, flexibility and mobility found in business-class Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services. Available for a fraction of the cost of existing video conferencing products ($19.95 per month and $189.95 per year), SightSpeed Business also eliminates the need for any separate IT investment.

“Existing room-based hardware video conferencing systems, which cost upwards of tens of thousands of dollars, are out of reach and impractical for all but a few privileged businesses,” said Peter Csathy, CEO of SightSpeed. “Those systems ignore the needs of the vast majority of potential video conferencing users. SightSpeed Business eliminates the requirement for costly hardware and places the needs of SMBs front and center, providing the first high quality, easy-to-use, cost effective and secure solution.”

With SightSpeed Business, users also have the flexibility and mobility for conducting a video conference anytime, anywhere – something that is impossible with room-based hardware systems. Since SightSpeed Business is installed on the user’s PC or Mac, face-to-face single click video communications with up to four users can occur anywhere a broadband connection can be found.

Key SightSpeed Business features include:

-- Award-winning high quality video (including near high definition with 640x480 resolution cameras)

-- Unlimited one-to-one video calling and unlimited and enhanced multi-party video conferencing for up to four participants

-- A new streamlined interface optimized for the business user

-- In-call collaboration features, including file sharing and multiple video screen viewing modes for better control over desktop view

-- Unlimited video mail and video blogging (with extended recording time), and unlimited text messaging and PC-to-PC voice calling

-- 500 free U.S. and Canada telephone calling minutes to any landline or mobile phone (and additional telephone “out” calling at competitive rates)

-- Voice and video mail for incoming calls with e-mail notification


-- Ability to record, publish and archive live video calls and conferences

-- Administrative console for central user set up, management and reporting on an individual user and company-wide level, and simple purchase of call minutes, custom phone numbers and multi-user licenses

-- Live, face-to-face video support and live toll-free phone support

-- Secure, reliable and fully SIP/standards-based – enterprise-class architecture

“There is a need for enterprise-quality video communications solutions for the small and medium business,” said Rebecca Swensen, research analyst at IDC. “SightSpeed Business meets this need by providing quality video via a cost-effective service rather than a costly hardware solution. SightSpeed’s software as a service approach has the potential to disrupt the multi-billion dollar business video conferencing market in much the same way that Salesforce.com disrupted the CRM business.”

To learn more about SightSpeed Business and download it for Windows or Mac, visit
www.SightSpeed.com.

About SightSpeed

SightSpeed Inc. is the award-winning provider of Internet video communications for both the business user and consumer. The company offers two services: (1) “SightSpeed Business”, the world’s first high quality, cost-effective and hardware-free video conferencing service for all businesses (including SMBs); and (2) “SightSpeed 6.0”, the most widely praised consumer-focused video chat service that turns a PC or Mac into an easy-to-use video phone to communicate with friends and family around the world. SightSpeed's services are SIP-based and standards-compliant, and the company’s revolutionary human perception based technology is patented and based on more than ten years of research and development originating out of Cornell University.

Founded in 2001 and based in Berkeley, California, SightSpeed is a privately held
company funded by The Roda Group, best known for launching Ask Jeeves and
PolyServe. For more information about SightSpeed, visit www.sightspeed.com.




Also, for more background about our important new release, please check out my earlier blog post.

Hulu Hoopla -- Who Knew the Initial Buzz Would Be Favorable?

News Corp and NBC-Universal's hoped for YouTube "killer" -- Hulu -- finally goes live today. And, while many are skeptical that Hulu can make a dent against YouTube -- and have written it off in advance as simply another misguided attempt by the major studios to harness the power of the Internet -- some early reviews are positive (including by the Los Angeles Times).

Hulu does have some powerful things going for it:

first, major distribution -- Hulu's content will be syndicated across most of the major Internet sites;

second, compelling usage rights for users -- Hulu users can embed entire television programs, or just clips, in their blogs and websites;

third, no download needed -- unlike Joost and other television-like sites on the web that require downloads, Hulu does not and works in any web browser.

I tried to take a look at Hulu myself, but the service is still in private beta and is available by invitation only at this point (i.e., apply via email on the Hulu website).

The companies behind Hulu certainly have a lot riding on its success -- including Providence Equity Partners, which took a 10% stake for a $100 million investment (setting a pre-launch valuation at a cool $1 billion).

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