Video Chat Looks More and More Like a Service at CES 2013

Having an internet connected device doesn’t really mean a thing if you don’t use it to access content or connect with others.  And with ready access to wireless networks, BYOD and the resurgence of chat services, it’s no surprise that CES 2013 has brought a range of new video chat tools to the market.  Here’s a few that made it onto our radar.



The Viewscape strategy was introduced by Cisco a couple of years back, but it wasn’t until now that the company officially laid out its blueprint.  At CES 2013, Cisco unveiled plans to decongest data being delivered to consumer televisions with Videoscape Unity, delivering a new kind of video experience.  Aside from mulitscreen, personalized and synchronized features, Cisco is banking on the social aspect of the service to deepen viewer engagement with virtual viewing parties, real-time IM, and video chats around linear video and more.

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ooVoo, the service that offers free video chatting and instant messaging, has upgraded their offering with a new feature called “Watch Together.”  The new feature is based on Google+’s Hangouts, which allows people chatting with each other to enjoy the same video simultaneously.  While Hangouts only allow 9 people to enjoy the same video together, ooVoo supports 10.

According to ooVoo President Jay Samit, Watch Together has been the most requested feature for their service.  The feature not only allows people to watch videos together, but also search for YouTube videos inside ooVoo, allow other chatters to change what the group is watching, and anyone in the group can even control video playback.  Watch Together will be available first for Windows users, and will soon come to Mac, iOS and Android users.


Biscotti Inc., the company that delivers HD video calling products, will be showcasing Biscotti XS, the newest member of their line of HDTV-based video calling appliances, and the new MyBiscotti Cloud Services that includes video mail, multiparty calling and PSTN interoperability, at CES 2013.  Biscotti XS features hardware and software enhancements such as high-performance Wi-Fi, ethernet connectivity, a Multiport Power Adapter with international power blades, keyboard remote control, universal mount and worldwide regulatory approvals.

“Biscotti is reinventing the video calling experience,” said Dr. Matthew B. Shoemake, CEO and Founder of Biscotti. “Video calling should be just as simple as voice calling. The Biscotti and MyBiscotti Cloud Services we are demonstrating at CES provide our customers with a convenient and comfortable video calling experience, allowing our customers to make and receive video calls as easily as picking up the phone or sending a text.”


Personify Inc. is taking video chat to a whole new level with Personify Chat.  The service allows you to share your environment with people,  so you share a similar experience.  For lack of a better explanation  “It’s like a virtual green screen — almost as if you’re the weatherman with all the content in the world as your backdrop,” Personify CEO and co-founder Sanjay J. Patel describes.

Aside from that, Personify Chat lets chatters share visual cues like facial expressions and body language, which allows them to provide honest and emotional feedback, something that’s hard to come by when using most text-based chat tools.