Changes to video messaging

As we started listening to users and working out how we could make TokBox the simplest group video conferencing service on the web, we realized we’d have to make some difficult decisions.  One of those was to remove stand-alone video messaging functionality and instead to integrate video messaging more deeply in to our video conferencing experience.

Now video messaging has two roles.

The first is for video invitations to Video Meetings and Video Conferences. When you schedule either a Meeting or Conference, you will have the option to record a short video welcome message for participants.  Participants will see this message in the email invitation they receive for the Meeting or Conference.  They will also be able to watch it if they arrive at the Meeting or Conference early.

The second role is the equivalent to leaving a voice mail.  When you call someone and they do not answer you can leave them a short video message. They will receive an email with the video message, or they can watch it by looking in “Messages” on TokBox.  All video messages you receive are stored for 60 days, with an option to store them for a further 60 days when they are close to expiration.  You should know however that you will only be able to watch video messages you have received, not those you send after today.

If you’re concerned about what will happen to video messages that you have sent or received in the past, don’t worry.  Video messages you have sent before today will remain in your Messages for the forseeable future.  Video messages received before today will be kept for 60 days as above, with the option to save for another 60 days.

We realize that many of you have enjoyed sending video messages in the past, but hope that you can appreciate that they do not play a role in our larger mission of being the simplest group video conferencing on the web and we hope that you will continue to enjoy real-time video conferencing.

Micky

National Small Business Week: Social Media and Small Businesses

National Small Business Week kicked off in Washington, DC this week and it looks like the next few days will be jam-packed for those attending.  Discussions range from the impact of Small Businesses on America’s economy to Innovation and Social Media, and of course they will be announcing the winner of National Small Business Person of the Year.

I for one am particularly interested to hear what they have to say about Social Media and Small Businesses.  Recently I have been talking to businesses of all sizes about how they are leveraging Social Media in more and more innovative ways.  One trend I see emerging is the use of new Social Media tools to build deeper relationships with customers, one that goes beyond 140 characters and one that drives true engagement with the brand.

I thought that in the spirit of National Small Business Week I would share some of the innovative ways in which TokBox is being used to do that with you.

Real Life Plus is a virtual world that is actively engaging with their community to build their product.  They haven’t launched yet, but they regularly get their community together on TokBox, using Broadcast Video Chat, to get feedback on features, to generate new ideas and keep their ears (and eyes) to the ground on what is happening in the gaming world.  They simply circulate the chat URL and everyone hops on!

Long-time TokBox user, Scott Jordan from Scottevest, uses TokBox video messaging a lot to send video messages to his users rather than just emails. Whether he is trying to introduce a new product or answer a customer question, it helps to put a face to the brand and makes him stand out from the crowd.   We were also interested to see self-confessed Marketing “geek” Lorraine Ball talk about using TokBox in the same way on the Marketing Tech Blog only last week.

The Marketing “geek” in me thinks that one of the most powerful ways to use TokBox to engage with customers is for customer service.  My own personal belief is that customer service is one of the most powerful tools that any marketer has.  If you receive high-quality service you not only form a positive opinion of that brand, but you’re also more likely to tell your friends about it.  Couple high-quality service with being able to offer that service face-to-face, rather than via ‘phone or email, and I think you’re on to a winner.

We have been experimenting with doing this ourselves, hosting Broadcast Video Chats on TokBox for anyone to join with their questions, comments or ideas.  We’ll be doing another one of those this Friday at 11am PST, so feel free to join us to talk about innovative ways in which you use Social Media tools, including TokBox, or simply to share your ideas with us! Just click on this link to join the call  http://www.tokbox.com/Micky/TokBox-Community-Call

I look forward to talking to you then.

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

How the Grinch stole (temporarily) Video Messages

To kick off his holiday season, the Grinch broke into our office and made off with some of your video messages. Fortunately  we’re on the good list and Santa is working with us to recover them as quickly as possible.

On a serious note, some of you may have noticed a black screen that displays a “Connection Error” or “Loading” message when you try and play any video message recorded before today.  We are now working to resolve this issue and restore all your video messages and we’ll update you as soon as this has been resolved. Sorry for the scare and as always, feel free to send any questions to contact@tokbox.com. (If you have the email address of the Grinch, we’d also suggest sending him a note)

Cheers,

Lauren

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Having issues with the Tokbox Facebook Video Chat Plug-in?

Since we’ve recently had some intermittent issues with our Facebook Video Chat Plugin – possibly due to a UI change by Facebook – I did want to highlight that you can still make a video call or video chat with your Facebook friends using Tokbox. Even if you aren’t using Mozilla Firefox, or if you’re currently having problems with the chat plug-in, you can still invite friends to a video chat using Tokbox without using the plugin (these directions means you can use Internet Explorer or Safari as well).

Here’s how:

  1. Go to “Create a video chat” on the left sidebar (logged in at Tokbox.com).
  2. Go to “Invite Friends”.
  3. A screen with various options will open up.
  4. Choose the Facebook option.
  5. Click on “Share Link” to post the call url to your profile or to send the call url to  a specific friend. Your Facebook friends would simply need to click on the link to join the call (your friends don’t need to have a Tokbox account).

Note: You can also simply grab the url if you want to send it to someone via Facebook chat as an additional option. The party (parties) would simply need to click on the link to join your video chat.

Also see: Tokbox Facebook Fan Page and Sending Video Mail Messages on Facebook.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Damon Billian

-Damon

Tokbox UI Changes: How to…

Tokbox made many changes to our UI a few weeks ago for doing things like placing video calls, so I thought I would do a  very quick blog post on “How to…” do things like place a video call. Links to visuals are included for many of our key features below.

How to create a video conference or multi-party video chat

How to create and send a video mail message

How to start a video call or chat

Other recommended links:

How to add your IM accounts toTokbox (allows you to video call, conference or IM friends from other IM services)

Detecting your webcam and microphone (or helping a friend detect their webcam and microphone)

Setting Privacy Settings (protect yourself from unwanted calls and chats)

If you have any questions, or if you have any suggestions for improvement, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly.

-Damon (video mail is the best option).

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Damon Billian

New Stuff: Enhancements to the Tokbox user interface for managing your account and contact list

We know how much you love to chat with your friends over IM and over the last few months I’ve been hearing from lots of you about what you’d like to see changed in our IM client. I’m pleased to say that the first phase of these changes are live for you all to enjoy.

So, just in case you haven’t discovered them all yet, here’s a run down:

*Adding friends from your IM buddy lists and email address book just got easier. Simply click on “Add” at the bottom of your TokBox contact list and start adding whole address books or individual friends

*Once you’ve added your friends you can edit how their names appear in your contact list. You no longer have to remember who the friend with the screen name Superstar1 is, just edit away by clicking on “Edit” at the bottom of the TokBox Contact list and then the pencil beside the relevant name

* Now you’ve got this many friends to IM with, the likelihood is that you are chatting with more than one at a time. Now, you can chat with all those people within one tabbed window. Simply click between friends. You’ll know you’ve got a new message thanks to the red alert and also the funky new sounds we’ve added

* And remember, if one of those friends becomes too much to deal with, you can simply remove them by clicking on “Edit” again and then the minus sign next to their name

Those with keen eyes, might also spot the changes we made to the left hand side bar to try and simplify the ways in which you can contact your friends and receive your messages.

To make a video call or send a video message, click on “Create a video” and select what you want to do and to check your messages click on “Messages” and you’ll find everything from video messages to missed call notifications.

Finally, to manage everything from your profile page to your privacy settings, click on “My TokBox” and you’ll find everything you need.

I hope you like the changes, but if you have questions or feedback, please feel free to contact me directly.

-Damon

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Damon Billian