TokBox, Porn, Video Chat, And A Missed Opportunity

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Last night I received a nice email from TokBox, the video chat company, about new features just released. A year ago, when I first tried out the platform I was pretty excited.

TokBox is offering a simple to use video chat, that is now embaddable in third party sites. It is also offering the ability to create threaded video conversations, chat, and public messages. And the good thing – it works like a charm.

These features are important to every video site, conference, or event. As we are working now on a major virtual event, I was delighted to see that these guys are still alive, even though they suffered recently and fired half of their engineers.

However, at the current state, I will never use it for business, nor recommend it to my customer.

Their site, though technically works great, is ridden with content that I wouldn’t like to see my customers associated with – from teenagers to pseudo  adult content.

Reliable, socially distributed, embeddable video chat solution is defeinetly needed in the industry, especially after Seesmic turned its back to this market and focus on the Micro blogging market.  But no one in its right mind will put its content with teenage girls and questionable content.

If TokBox’s business model is video chat UGC, I personally don’t believe in it, but it is just me. But if they want to attract high profile customers, they need to do a clean up, and get more resources to manage the content in their platform, or create a seperate brand and site for these customers.

Call For Speakers – 2025 – Tech, Standards, Work, Life

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How will video and collaboration technology impact your life and work in 2025?
This is the question we will try to answer on IMTC‘s annual event, taking place on the 17th and 18th of November, 2009.
With telepresence, online collaboration, social TV, and standardization advancements, our cubicle and living room will never look the same.

In IMTC we practice what we preach. Therefore, we decided to have a full blown virtual event, utilizing commercially available products and technologies.

Are you a thought leader in visual communication, online collaboration, social TV, the future of the living room, or any area that is relevant to collaboration, video or communication? Come and speak at our event – without leaving your office, via video conferencing, chat and remote presentations.

Here are some of the topics we thought about – but please feel free to contact us with additional relevant topics:
1. HTML 5, standard web video delivery and its effect on the value chain
2. Online collaboration status
3. Metadata and what it means for media companies and users
4. HD voice
5. Democratization of video conferencing and Telepresence in the living room
6. Social TV
7. Triple play in the living room – what’s next?

As a speaker you will be requested to send us your proposal, and write a short blog post about your topic that will be published in relevant blogs.

Interested? Email us at kfir AT pravdam DOT com with 2025 in the subject line.
Please send us your proposals by September 30th.

Virtual Events – So many Questions, Not Enough Answers

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How can you create an engaging, interactive, virtual conference, that will keep people interested, even though they are hundreds of miles away? This is the challenge that we at IMTC is facing this year, while planning its annual event.

IMTC’s Annual event is a meeting point of industry experts in the fields of video communication and interoperability. This year we decided to do a full day conference virtually, using available technologies. We are doing it because of three reasons:

1. This is the conference of the future: Though nothing can replace a handshake, virtual conferences are appealing from economic and efficiency perspective

2. This is what we do: IMTC is all about collaboration, unified communication, and content delivery. Virtual conference is best way to practice what we preach. We also would like to support our members by letting them showcase their technology in real life scenarios, and not only in booths and exhibitions.

3. This is the right thing in the current economic climate: With companies cutting their travel budgets, we should, as an industry organization, enable as many people possible to be a part of the experience. Virtual conference is a great solution for those who can’t travel, but still interested in the content or participants of the event. Also, in times when companies invest a lot in order to reduce their carbon footprint, virtual events are the way to go to help our planet a bit.

So what is the biggest challenge?

For me, the biggest challenge is not technical, but the experience :How can we prevent the conference from turning into a string of webinars or a list of audio presentations?How can we encourage people in the “audience” to interact with speakers and with each other?What should be the role of social platforms in the event?And how to make an extraordinary event, that pushes the boundaries of virtual conferences, with a shoe string budget?

Luckily, I am a part of a great team that is trying to make this project a reality, including Anatoli Levine from Radvision, Andrea Basso from AT&T, Shantanu Sarkar from Cisco, and many other volunteers.

Want to be a part of the effort to create the conference of the future? have a relevant technology? Consider this as an open call for the industry and drop me an email at kfir AT Pravdam DOT com

Published originally at IMTC’s Blog

3 Free Tickets to TWS2009 [UPDATE]

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I am excited being a judge and participant in TWS2009, as well as interviewing Dave Sifry on stage. If you are excited from this event too, I have 3 free tickets to give my blog readers. Please RT this post and leave a comment if you are interested. Young entrepreneurs and students are especially welcome.The winners will be announced tomorrow morning CET, so hurry 🙂

Even if you don’t get a free ticket, you can apply for 40% discount  tickets  here:
Since there are only limited amount of such tickets, make sure you don’t miss that opportunity.
Here is some more information about the event: More

TWS 2009 – Join the Competition!

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Like last year, I am a judge at TWS 2009, Israel’s web start ups competition. Among the judges are Brian Solis, Meir Brand (CEO of Google Israel), Deb Schultz, Ayelet Noff , Jeff Pulver, and others.
Submit your startup by the 24th of June (yes! in two days!).

The event is taking place on the 13th of July.

See you all there!

Talking with Al Gore in My PJ

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Al gore giving his global warming talk in Moun...
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I was sick last week, and that’s why I didn’t post anything lately. Now I am back to work, and this blog will be updated as usual.

Digitas produced a great event called Digital Content Newfront couple of weeks ago, as a part of NYC Internet Week.

And I was an active participant, even though I was thousands of miles away.

The event covered brand marketing strategies, and was keynoted by Al Gore, who discussed Viewers Generated Ads, a strategy that let viewers create ads for brands. Mr. Gore talked extensively about the need for authenticity in brand marketing, a tricky topic for cigarettes and oil companies.
I was interested to hear Al Gore’s take on that – so with a simple twit, I’ve sent a question to the conference, from my living room in Israel. My friend Jon Burg who was moderating incoming twitter questions, asked the question at the event – and Gore responded simply by saying that they don’t work with such companies. I was a part of the whole thing as I watched the live video feed from NYC.
The amazing part of the story is not that I was able to see a video stream of a remote event and ask a question. This was done before with ustream and The important point here is that these technologies are now mature enough:

  • The video feed was crisp and almost without any buffering. From urls of the event I believe it is the work of Bitgravity, an affordable HD CDN.
  • The room was covered with multiple cameras using Tricaster , a low cost video mixer.
  • And Twitter was pretty stable.

So I was in my PJ, at home, talked with one of the brightest minds, Al Gore, all thanks to usable, affordable technologies.

The Physical walls are falling. The only barrier for communication is willingness.

A Look At Japanese Media Market

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Japan was always a mystery for me. Its culture and industry is so different from the American and European  markets that I am well versed in. That’s why I spent some time talking with a friend who knows a thing or two about the Japaneese media market, Levi Shapiro. Levi worked in several Japaneese and media companies, so he knows the market pretty well.

Levi, what is your experience in the Japanese market?

I spent 6 years in Tokyo working in the Overseas Marketing Division of Toyota Motor Corporation. In addition, I have helped a variety of Western digital media and mobile companies with Japan market-entry. My consulting firm, TMT Partners, has an affiliate in Tokyo.

What makes the Japanese media so different from the US? and from Europe?

Japan is a highly concentrated market. For example, DoCoMo controls 50% of the mobile market, Dentsu handles more than one quarter of the $34 billion spent on advertising per year, and Yahoo Japan owns more than 60% of its sector. The limited fragmentation means that the best path to market is often collaboration with a local partners. For example, one of the reasons Yahoo Japan has such a dominant position in Japan (#1 portal, #1 in search and #1 in auctions) is their joint venture partnership with Softbank.

140 Character Conference Around The Corner

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140 Character Conference, Jeff Pulver’s latest event is taking place in Mid June. The speaker list is very impressive, and encompasses some of the biggest names in Twitterverse and most forward thinking marketers around us.

If you are in NYC or tristate area – I recommend checking out this event.

Short Vacation

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I am taking a short vacation and returning on the 18th of April. Real vacation with (almost) no twitter, Facebook or blogging… I will check emails once in a while and you can sms me for urgent issues. See you soon…

Social Media: Halifax Does Podcamp

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podcamp_small.pngI  was happy to hear that Halifax is hosting its first podcamp tomorrow, and asked one of the organizers, Craig Moore, AKA Spider VIdeo, to have a short chat about the event. For you’ve never been in one, Podcamp is a un-conference (meaning, a gathering where all content is decided upon and created by the participants), focused on social media, podcasting, and online video. As a community oriented event, it is much more engaging than the regular smart-guy-standing-behind-a-podium-and-everyone-are-listening-or-checking-emails kind of event. I had the pleasure to attend and present in two of these events worldwide – and trust me, it is a lot of fun.