SightSpeed was a participant on the Birds of a Feather Hot Apps session I moderated at VON, and their President, Scott Lomond, gave a great demo of how easy it is to use and how well it works.
Following up on this, I spoke with SightSpeed's CEO Peter Csathy yesterday about where they're going. There's definitely momentum building here, simply because it works very well, and doesn't use up much bandwidth, allowing it work across a more diverse set of network conditions than other video offerings.
Their basic package is free, and 2 video-enabled parties can get a video call going as easily as a voice call. You can also leave short video messages, up to 30 seconds long. This alone is all well and good, but what makes this more of a Web 2.0 application is the multi-party voice and video capabilities, which come with the paid edition, which costs $4.95/month.
Now you're talking community building and social networking, at least for the Internet set. It's not something I'd run out to do, but it's totally intuitive for my kids, and I can really see how it will be very fun for them. Layer some advertising on this, and when the mobility features come, you've got a business here. So, just as Skype built its brand on ease of use and functionality, SightSpeed is doing the same with video.
Of course, all the IM platforms will move to video, so the challenge for SightSpeed is to decide if they can build a viable brand and community themselves, or whether they should partner with one of the big guys.
I'm certainly not alone watching them. Hat tip to Andy for posting about Ken Camp's interview yesterday with Peter.
One comment there resonated strongly for me - the utility of SightSpeed for the deaf community. We don't usually think of people with mind/body impairments as markets, but in this case it's totally valid. My youngest brother is deaf, and I've grown up around deaf culture, which has an incredibly rich mode of expression in sign language. I always find it amazing to watch a group of deaf people signing away, carrying on multiple conversations without a sound being made. It's like mimes doing IM, but much more interesting. I have no doubt there's a market there, and am going to tell my brother about this when I see him this weekend.
Adding to the mix, Alec Saunders posted his experiences with SightSpeed last week on his blog.