Uberconference Drives A Stake Through Legacy Audio Conferencing

Uberconference, the TechCrunch Disrupt winner, opened the doors to their visual audio conferencing service early last month. After a quick trial of it yesterday in TvB’s advanced testing labs, I agree with the judge’s wisdom: Uber earns its prize money. It’s hard for me to get too excited about telecom zombie technology that never seems to die, but this startup has put together a simple, useful, and real-world audio conferencing app.

Anyone who’s ever been in a corporate-style conference call knows that after the fourth person joins, your neuro-circuits for associating a voice with a name are overwhelmed. By the sixth or so person, you’ve become an audience member to a talk show as the host and one or two members of her support cast do all the chatting.

Uberconference really does change the dynamics of these calls with its visual interface showing you WHO is currently talking. So somewhere in the middle of these large group calls (and after your mind has wandered off to consider dinner plans for the evening), you’ll at least know the name of the person you are about to interrupt with an insightful question and remark. And who knows, maybe then you’ll get the spotlight and take over the show.

In a limited test with a member of my sales staff, the Uber software blinked our respective avatars on and off as we switched roles between listener and speaker. Will it work under real-world conditions as callers shout into their cell phones while driving their convertibles?

Probably not. But I suspect for most group calls under reasonable audio conditions, Uberconference will perform just fine.

One great new feature they’ve added is the convenience of using your Chrome browser to handle the audio as a VoIP call. It performed as advertised when I tried it.

Uberconference supports both scheduled and on-demand conference calls. Its freemium model allows a 5-person call, but you can earn credits by importing contacts from Facebook, Linkedin, and Google+ to bring that number to 17. Or you can go Pro ($20$10/month) to boost the conference size to 40, along with features such as call recording and local numbers.


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