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VidWatch eases the videoconferencing hassles

The company rents out server space and monitors online discussions, a useful form of virtual face-to-face communication for consumers and businesses.

Online videoconferencing provides a form of virtual face-to-face communication for consumers and businesses, but the logistics involved in hosting such conferences often prove too demanding--which is where a company called VidWatch comes in. essentially rents out server space to individuals or businesses with a digital video camera. In addition, the company monitors online conferences for educational and business customers, to make sure that the participants behave appropriately.

Many organizations are deterred from hosting chats online by the prohibitive cost associated with videoconferencing. In addition to acquiring costly server computers, these groups need help in hosting and managing online discussions.

"What we are trying to do is make the benefits of Internet videoconferencing real for the consumer and businesses trying to build a community," said Peter Haymen, vice president of business development for VidWatch, noting that the company's offerings mesh perfectly with businesses looking to broadcast shareholder's meetings and other events online.

But like any other grand Internet vision, online videoconferencing may be hampered by bandwidth problems, as well as the fact that many consumers don't have PCs, Haymen conceded. But high-speed Internet access will only grow more prevalent, he asserted.

"The traditional obstacles to people having a satisfactory online experience are going away," he said. "They're going away for some people more slowly than others."

Aside from bandwidth issues, the cost barriers to acquiring the necessary hardware and expertise are also rapidly melting away as all types of computers continue to decline in price.

Haymen believes that the company's additional services, including monitoring video discussions, will continue to be lucrative even as individuals gain access to more powerful computers.