Vidtel and WBS Connect Introduce Innovative Video Calling Services

By Mariette Johnson Wharton, VP of Marketing

WBS Connect, a Colorado-based global technology services company today announced it has entered into a strategic partnership with premier video communications service provider Vidtel. Together WBS Connect and Vidtel are addressing the growing communication needs of small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with a powerful video calling service that greatly increases worker productivity while also shrinking business travel expenses. And unlike other video calling technology that can be expensive and cumbersome to implement and use, the WBS Connect and Vidtel service offers truly universal and unrestricted video calling.

The new video calling service links together any video-enabled device on any network across the globe, enabling customers to make seamless video calls to remote offices, partners and customers world-wide, easily and cost-effectively. In addition to video calling, customers can also use their robust VOIP phone to make and receive regular voice calls to anyone in the world with a telephone number (i.e., mobile, international, local and long distance calls).

“We are excited to be working with WBS Connect, a company who clearly understands the business video communications industry”, said Scott Wharton, Chief Executive Officer of Vidtel. “We believe WBS Connect has a unique perspective on how to overcome the business challenges facing small and medium-sized business. The WBS team has proven again and again that they are innovators by delivering high-definition video conferencing products over their global network IP network and we believe they are an ideal partner to help us cultivate the growing technology category of video calling.”

With the addition of video calling services to its portfolio, WBS Connect now offers a complete suite of premium and affordable Business Video Communications solutions, which also includes high-definition video conferencing and web collaboration solutions. These Business Video Communications solutions are all delivered over WBS Connect’s extensive technology framework, built throughout North America, Europe and Asia. With WBS Connect’s worldwide Internet operations and the team’s networking expertise and full-service support options, WBS Connect and Vidtel are helping businesses become competitive with a smarter approach to business communication.

“For too long small and medium-sized business have been lost in the shuffle between traditional phone service, high-end video conferencing services and low-quality PC-based video chat options,” said Scott Charter, managing partner of WBS Connect. “By working with Vidtel we are closing the gap by expanding access to robust video calling services that are the truly the future of business communications. Video phones will replace traditional phones on everyone’s desk and will help to enhance productivity and improve communication as only ‘face-to-face’ conversations that capture body language and facial expressions can.”

See a demonstration of these innovative video calling services at ITEXPO, Feb 2-4, 2009, at the Miami Beach Convention Center, Booth # 227.

About Vidtel
Vidtel is a video communication provider that offers video phone calling, video mail and regular phone calling for less than the cost of your monthly phone service. Vidtel’s vision is to make video calling as easy as a telephone, as smooth as TV and as inexpensive as a daily newspaper. Users can easily make and receive video calls anywhere in the world with Vidtel and a broadband connection. Vidtel provides you with everything your regular phone service can do, including a regular telephone number. Vidtel offers full-motion video for the experience of being there and live customer support. For more information, visit Vidtel Small-Medium Business.

About WBS Connect
WBS Connect is a privately-held provider of worldwide technology services. The company leverages multi-gigabit commitments with IP transit carriers to offer direct connections with no AS hop in the United States, Europe and Asia. WBS Connect also offers colocation, storage, and expert managed network services. WBS Connect has a presence in carrier neutral data centers in Amsterdam, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, NYC, Seattle, and Toronto. For more information visit WBS Connect.




Video phones in telemedicine

By Mariette Johnson Wharton, VP of Marketing

Remote patient care is a wonderful application of video phone technology.  For the last three months, Northshore Medical Center in North Miami has had in place an innovative method for treating stroke victims: teleneurology.  North Miami reportedly has one of the highest per capita instances of stroke in the country and immediate treatments saves lives.  If one of the staff neurologists is not available to treat patients, the video phone solution can allow a patient to be seen virtually and treated instantly. Read more at Northshore Medical Center Teleneurology. So far, 50 patients have been treated with this approach. Looking forward to seeing many more such rewarding uses of video phone technology in the near future.

Photo by Brian Connelly.


Have You Seen the Video Phone Wristwatch?

By Mariette Johnson Wharton, VP of Marketing

Unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this month…Our sons’ dream come true…a video phone watch! 

Finding Ways to Spend Less on Phone Service

By Mariette Johnson Wharton, VP of Marketing

We’re noticing a trend with our customers that is probably similar to the overall population.  Not surprisingly, given the state of the economy, many are taking a long, hard look at their phone costs and weighing how much value their home phone service is offering.  With most using mobile phones, the costs pile up.

One conclusion we’ve seen some of our customers come to is that they can save money by replacing their regular phone service with Vidtel. If people are paying $40 or $50 or more  a month for phone service, they can save money with Vidtel.

We figured that most people would go for the $99/year ($8.25 a month) for video calling and then once they discovered how easy it was to use the service and how rewarding the quality was, they might upgrade to the plan that also includes unlimited calls in the US and Canada for about $21 a month ($249.95).  It’s great to know that some people are finding our “premium” plan of great value, too.

One customer in Virginia reports he pays $39 a month after all the taxes are included for basic service and 50 calls a month. He switched to Vidtel, calculating that he could save money by upgrading his phone line to include unlimited video calling and video mail with Vidtel.  After hearing reports like these, I decided to shift our messaging…Get more for less!

Phone Service With Video

video-phoneBy Scott Wharton, CEO

For 13 years, I’ve been on the leading edge of VoIP technologies and launched the first Internet Phone service to the world in 1995. For the last several years, I’ve been interested in the potential for video over IP to deliver the promise of conveniently seeing loved ones far way.

From working with the who’s who of telecom companies around the world, I knew they wouldn’t be offering the service anytime soon. My dream is to fill this gap and offer simple, convenient and universal video calling to anyone with a broadband connection.

We’ve received excellent feedback from users regarding how easy the service is to use and how great it is to be able to see people and interact with them, without needing a computer.  Customers are  pleasantly surprised by the quality – full motion video! People have overwhelmingly said we have changed their lives by helping them see what they’ve been missing.

We think you’ll love how it brings your friends and family closer.

The Vidtel service plans start at $14.95 per month and you get unlimited video calling, a phone line and great features like video voicemail and call waiting. We’re so confident that you’ll love our service that you can try it risk-free for 30 days.

Upgrade your phone service to video and start saving money!


Video Calling: Why Now?

By Mariette Johnson Wharton, VP of Marketing

The History

For at least a century and probably millenia, people have imagined a technology for seeing and talking to others miles away.

A video calling vision from 1910.

The challenge, of course, has been matching reality to the dream. For decades, attempts at making video calling appealing were a big disappointment. Three critical factors were the culprit: quality, cost and convenience.

More than 50 years ago, the pioneering picture phone was invented. AT&T’s version was first unveiled at the New York World’s Fair and Disneyland in 1964.

People loved the concept but it was too confusing, too expensive ($900 a month for 30 minutes in today’s dollars) and too low in bandwidth (freeze-frame) to move beyond a demo.

  • Quality
    Connection speeds were excruciatingly low, resulting in low-quality (frozen or choppy) video and audio. Video on dial-up could not have been fun.
  • Cost
    Costs were impossible. In the 1960s, a video call was $60 a minute (in today’s dollars). In the 1970s, it was $900 for 30 minutes (in today’s dollars). Even the 1990s, video phones themselves were cost-prohibitive ($1500).
  • Convenience
    Early attempts at video calling were insanely inconvenient (callers sat in tiny booths and followed confusing prompts). Later attempts required people to use IP addresses instead of calling regular phone numbers.

No wonder it didn’t catch on.

Video conferencing has been in popular culture for the last four decades.

Think TV’s The Jetsons, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, or the Dick Tracy comic strip where video communications are everywhere.

In today’s TV show Go, Diego, Go, five year-olds use video watches! (Frustrated by their inability buy them, our sons made their own video watches.)

Video Calling: What Has Changed?

video-phoneBy Mariette Johnson Wharton, VP of Marketing

Everything. Video phone calling services are no longer choppy, expensive and awkward. Consider the barriers from earlier video calling attempts: Quality, Cost, and Convenience.

  • Quality
    Today, we don’t have to suffer from slow connection speeds. High-speed broadband connections (e.g., DSL and cable) are ubiquitous in many areas. Vidtel’s service runs over broadband connections, which coupled with higher video phone quality, enables Vidtel’s video phone service to offer clear audio and smooth video. (We also manage the network at the core to ensure quality).
  • Cost
    Video phones have come way down in price and way up in features and functionality. (The Vidtel video phone is $199.95.) Today, you can get video calling, video mail and all the traditional phone services for the same monthly price or less ($29.95) as just your regular telephone service. Or, if you just want video calling, video mail and a la carte calls, it’s only $14.95 a month.
  • Convenience
    We made video calling dead simple. It’s as easy as using a regular telephone. Just plug and play. We use real, 10-digit phone numbers or you can call from a directory in the phone. Compared to the hassle of traveling or using a computer for video chat, you can’t beat Vidtel’s video communications service for convenience.