Skyping into the future?

For years now in the Cross-Cultural Rhetoric project, we’ve been using Marratech for our primary video conferencing platform.  We love the collaborative whiteboard feature, the ability to have multiple connections at once, and the fact that it has been available as a free download for our CCR partners.

However, in late 2009, Google (who purchased Marratech in 2007) announced that they would no longer support the platform.  Although we have been able to work around this issue for the last few months, we have also begun to scout around for a new video conferencing tool.  We’ve played around with polycom, with TokBox, and even a little with iChat.

Skype has always been a logical option, especially since so many of our students use it in their personal lives to connect with friends and family.  But, until now, the fact that it could only be a one-on-one connection was really limiting.

… which is why we were so pleased to see this story in Engadget on May 5, announcing Skype’s plans to integrate 5-way calling into their platform.  There are still a lot of questions to be answered (when will it be released? how much will it cost? how buggy will it be?), but it looks like a promising solution to our Marratech problems.

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