The changing face of TokBox

Today is a big day for TokBox.  We released a new version of TokBox that is the culmination of several months of hard work by our product and engineering teams.  This updated version of TokBox comes in response to all the feedback we’ve received over the last 3 or 4 months, about how we could improve things and truly become the simplest group video conferencing service on the web.

I wanted to take the time to explain not just what we’ve changed, but also why we did it and to invite your feedback.

The changes we made fall in to a few key categories.

  • Signing up to TokBox – We have re-organized our product line up so that you can make a straightforward choice about which product is right for your group video-conferencing needs, either Video Chat, Video Meeting or Video Conference.  All of these products are available via an affordable, monthly subscription with additional upgrades available such as increased audience size or dial-in functionality. See more on our Features & Pricing page.
  • Adding contacts to your TokBox account – There are 3 ways to add people to your account – connect to an existing IM or Facebook account, find people you know on TokBox, or invite people you know to join TokBox.  Our new contact list aims to make this quicker and easier. Find out more.
  • Inviting people to a TokBox call – There are also multiple ways to invite people to join a TokBox call – invite someone from your contact list, send out an email, share the call URL or even promote the call via Facebook or Twitter. See more.
  • Scheduling calls in advance – This functionality is now only available or even visible if you are a subscriber to either our Video Meeting or Video Conference product. For more information on subscriptions and pricing click here. (Currently you will need to sign up for a new account (using a new email address) to upgrade to Video Meeting or Video Conference, but we should have that fixed in the next couple of weeks so you can simply upgrade your existing account).
  • Organizing a call with an audience (formerly known as Broadcast Video Chat) – Earlier this year, we launched the ability to “add an audience” of up to 200 people to your video call.  We called it Broadcast Video Chat.  We have now called this product Video Conference. Same functionality, different name and more cost effective price. Find out more.
  • In-call features – The one change here is that the ability to share SlideShare presentations and collaborate on documents is now a premium feature, available with subscription to our Video Meeting product.  Sharing YouTube videos or Picasa/Flickr albums remains free with our Video Chat product.
  • Sending video messages – Video messaging functionality is now the TokBox equivalent of leaving a voice mail.  If you call someone and they do not respond, leave a quick video message.  You won’t be able to send stand-alone video messages anymore. See more.
  • Managing your TokBox account – All of the controls for managing your account have been grouped, under the rather obviously named “Account” in the top right hand corner of the page.  Here you can updated your profile, manage your subscriptions, change your camera, mic and privacy settings and even log out of TokBox.

Some of you may have experienced some of these improvements already as we have been testing them with select groups of users over the past few weeks to try and work out what was and wasn’t working.  If you have, we hope you enjoyed them and if you haven’t yet, we hope you do.

Obviously, I hope that you think that all the changes are improvements, but I can’t promise that we got it all right first time.  So, please send us your thoughts to feedback@tokbox.com or join me and the TokBox team in a TokBox call on Monday July 26th at 6pm PST to tell us directly what we still need to work on. Click here to join.

Micky and the TokBox Team

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Inviting people to join your TokBox call

One of the key parts of organizing or hosting any event, is inviting people.  When it comes to inviting people to your Video Chat, Video Meeting or Video Conference we wanted to make it really simple.  So, here are things that we did that we hope will make it easier to invite people to your call, particularly a group of people.

Now, when you start a call by clicking on “Call now”, you will see one of two invite screens.

The first screen (click to enlarge the image below) is what you will see if you have added contacts to your TokBox contact list (which we recommend you do).

Simply click on people in your contact list and they will be added to the call.  If there is someone else you want to invite, but they are not in your contact list, you can simply type in their email address.  Click “Invite contacts” and if they are an IM contact it will call them immediately and if they are only an email contact we will send them an email with the link for your call and any message you have added.

You can still copy the call URL and send it round, or even post it directly to Twitter and Facebook too by clicking on those icons in the invite screen.

If you don’t have any contacts in your TokBox contact list, you will see a different screen (below).  This simply allows you to add email addresses and once you click “Invite Contacts” we will send them an email with your call URL and any message you have added. As simple as that.

As always, let us know if you have any questions by sending an email to feedback@tokbox.com.

Micky and the TokBox Team

A new way to add contacts to your TokBox contact list

One of the questions we most often hear at TokBox is “How do I add contacts to my TokBox contact list?”, so the whole TokBox team really wanted to make that simpler.  We think we’ve made the first steps with the new contact list.

There are three ways to add contacts, all accessible directly via your contact list:

  1. Connect to an existing IM or Facebook account
  2. Add people you know from TokBox
  3. Invite individuals to join TokBox

1. Connecting IM or Facebook accounts

Click on one of the logos in the contact list and the click on “Add” and you will be asked to enter the user name and password for the account you want to add.  Your contacts from that account will be added to your TokBox contact list.

2. Add people you know from TokBox

If you are looking for an existing TokBox user, enter their name or email address in our search box.  Once you have your results, you can add them as a contact.


3. Invite individuals to TokBox

If someone you know is not a TokBox user, then you can click on “Invite” in the contact list.  Enter their email address and they will be invited to join TokBox.  Once they do, they will appear in your contact list.

We hope this helps and as with all the other changes we have made, feel free to send us your thoughts and ideas to feedback@tokbox.com.

Micky

Adding contacts to your TokBox contact list

One of the questions we often get from existing TokBox-ers is “How do I add contacts to my TokBox contact list?”, so I thought it would be worthwhile sharing the basics here.  In short, there are two ways you can add contacts 1) one at a time 2) entire contact lists.

Starting with adding individuals one at a time, here are the steps.

If you are looking for an existing TokBox user, enter their name or email address in our search box.  Once you have your results, you can add them as a contact.

If they are not a TokBox user, then you can click on “Add account” at the bottom of the contact list and choose “Add contact”.  Enter their email address and they will be invited to join TokBox.  Once they do, they will appear in your contact list.

Next, if you would like to add an entire contact list, you can add lists from Gmail/Gtalk, Yahoo, AIM or MSN Messenger.

Simply click on “Add” at the bottom of your contact list and choose “Add account”.  You will be asked to enter your user name and password for the account you are adding.  Once you do that, all the contacts from that account will appear in your contact list.  You will then be able to see when they are on or offline and be able to easily call them or send them an instant message.


We hope this helps and as always, feel free to send us an email at help@tokbox.com if we can give you any other pointers.

Micky

Ash cloud disrupted your meeting? Here’s the TokBox Meeting Emergency Kit

Over the last week we have been watching the news as the volcano eruption in Iceland has caused major chaos across Europe, leading to cancelled flights, missed meetings and low turn-out at conferences.  While many may be rejoicing in extended vacations and boring meetings they no longer have to attend, we realize that many of you are going to miss crucial meetings.  That’s where our Emergency Meeting Kit comes in to play.  Basically it tells you everything you need to know to organize a video meeting or conference at the last minute.  We thought it would be helpful to publish the contents below.

TokBox Meeting Emergency Kit – A Simple Quick Start Guide to TokBox Video Meetings & Conferences

If something has got in the way of your meeting or conference, don’t worry.  You don’t need to go and find an expensive video conferencing suite, or even invest in any new equipment.  All you and your meeting or conference participants need is an internet connection, a webcam and this handy guide.

There are three different parts to the guide depending on the type of meeting you need to hold. Click on the link to be directed to the right part of the guide for your meeting:

1. Informal group meeting

2. Group meeting with an agenda

3. Larger group meeting with presenters and an audience

We hope this helps keep your meeting or conference on track and remember, if you need any help getting your meeting started, we’re here to help.  Send us an email to help@tokbox.com

Micky

TokBox Meeting Emergency Kit: For Informal Group Meetings

Below are the 5 simple steps to get you and your team (of up to 20 people) up, running and ready to go with your first video chat.

1. Go to tokbox.com and sign up for a FREE account. No download is required.

2. Click on “Start Video Chat”

3. Click on “Invite” and “Share URL”. Copy the URL

4. Send a video message, email or IM with the URL to all participants

5. Participants need simply to click on the URL you have sent to join the chat.  They don’t even need to sign up

That’s it!  Your meeting has started.

If you need more information, you can watch this video or as always, send an email to help@tokbox.com.

Micky

Re-inventing large-scale video chat

For some time now many of you have been telling us that you want to have more than 20 people in a call.  Now you can.  Today we launched a new feature, Broadcast video chat.

Broadcast video chat allows you to have 12 people on-screen (essentially in the video chat) and up to 200 people in the audience.  But that’s not all.  We know that the audience has something to say, they don’t just want to sit there and listen, they want to contribute.   With TokBox Broadcast video chat they can.  They can either request to go on-screen or they can submit a video question to the moderator who can then decide whether or not they want to play it for everyone to see.  Then of course, there is text chat.  Everyone can share their ideas here too.  It’s one large, fluid conversation.  You can see more about how it works by watching our demo video or by joining a Broadcast video chat with me and some other members of the TokBox team today, Wednesday 31st March at 2pm PST.  Simply click here.

Each chat will cost the organizer (and no-one else) $18.99 per chat, or only $12.99 if they are already a subscriber to moderation and scheduling.  Start your call and we’ll send you the bill later.  Don’t worry though if you only need 20 people in the call, that will remain free.

The ways in which you can use Broadcast video chat are endless – seminars, talk-shows, conferences, company meetings, press conferences and more.  We’d love to hear about some of the ways that you think you can use it.

Micky