Tech Theme For The Month – Videoconferencing

Wow – I had a deeply awesome week off the grid.  I really really really needed a break.  I had a magnificent birthday (thanks Amy and everyone who came and hung out), ran for 10 days straight (including Thanksgiving – boy does it feel awesome to be running again), and finally got enough rest to feel normal again (or at least as normal as I ever feel.)

As with most birthdays, I spent a lot of time reflecting on turning 45.  I’ll toss out some posts about this in a bit, but one thing I realized was that I haven’t been going as deep as I’d like on specific technologies recently.  We had a Foundry Group offsite the past two days and discussed the idea of more “nourishment of our inner nerds” and I’ve decided to try something new.

Each month I’ll pick a “tech theme” and explore it deeply.  Some of these will be practical (e.g. stuff I want to implement now) while others will be less so (e.g. stuff I want to learn more about in the context of the investing I’m doing.)

The theme for this month is videoconferencing.  This is one of those technologies that has been a “it will happen next year” thing for a long time (15 years)?  I remember trying CU-SeeMe in 1995 to try to deal with (unsuccessfully) my east coast / west coast travel.  Over the years I’ve bought and tried numerous dedicated video conferencing solutions.  Until recently, it didn’t feel like it was quite there.

Skype was a huge breakthrough for me in the past two years.  I’ve used it regularly and have found it incredibly effective for one on one video conferencing.  But I need something more robust for “board level” video conferencing, especially multiperson.

It feels like all the pieces are finally here.  So – I’m going to figure it out and put some money against it as part of my December 2010 tech theme.

If you have suggestions, experiences, or configurations that work for you, I’m all ears (and eyes).