TrueConf: a Safe Alternative to Skype for Enterprises

Alexander Galvita
August 6, 2014 Alexander Galvita Categories: Reviews

TrueConf vs Skype

How may TrueConf be compared to Skype? Let’s test and compare the basic functions of these video conferencing solutions.

Skype is a cloud-based service which requires a constant Internet connection, thus we will be comparing features of its client applications with TrueConf Online, the cloud service by TrueConf.

In addition, we can offer our clients the on-premises server TrueConf Server — a modern UC&C system, which suits both to SMBs and enterprises. TrueConf Server client applications are similar to TrueConf Online, but feature a higher quality, capacity and enterprise features like Active Directory or multi-tenancy.

Audio and Video Technologies

TrueConf & Skype use “hybrid” Opus audio codec by default. It’s very flexible, provide great quality and was specially designed for HD Audio VoIP communications. It can be wide band if bandwidth is sufficient and shrink at the next moment to half of the bandwidth if needed. But the best thing of it is low latency encoding, which is the corner stone of real-time communications.

For video coding, TrueConf uses VP8 codec with self-developed SVC (read more) extension over it that brings high-quality video and provides stable and felxible workflow during multi-point sessions no matter which network conditions or endpoints capabilities are (slow or powerful, desktop or mobile, connected over 4G or LAN). Of course participants can freely choose videos layout & size without affecting server or other participants performance. SVC is a key for good multi-point video conferencing experience nowadays, lack of support of it require either a very expensive MCU-based infrastructure, burden user’s endpoints with additional encodings (rise CPU load) and most importantly limits quality of a multi-point conference in favor of a participant with weak channel, camera or CPU.

What you’ve to know is that Skype as a massively used service don’t rely on expensive MCUs and use switching instead of SVC during multi-point conferences. It’s a cause of it’s problems in handling large conferences with more then 4 participants or mixed conferences with PCs and Mobiles.

We hope it will be fixed soon as Skype is making a great deal on adopting video as a main communication medium instead of text or voice, which really helps doing business for all video conferencing vendors on a market.

Administration

Skype requires Internet connection. Forget about on-premises Skype-powered video conferencing solution within your LAN/VPN.

In other hand TrueConf Server was initially designed to enable corporate networks with UC&C capabilities. The server is self-managed by the system administrator, so any problems with the software can be solved quickly. The users do not depend on the availability and the speed of the Internet connection. At the same time, TLS and AES-256 encryption provides reliable security and prevents problems, such as theft of your users credentials, unauthorized recording or listening to conferences, as well as the interception of traffic. Of course TrueConf native client apps can as easily as Skype get through corporate NAT/Firewall or Proxy so your remote participants won’t be left alone.

How to install TrueConf Server in just 15 minutes?

Scheme TrueConf Server

Follow the links to read more about working in a private network and security.

Business Oriented Protocols

In TrueConf software, we supported a number of protocols that 1) facilitate the administration, 2) allow connecting to IP-cameras, 3) reduce the load on the server, and 4) provide stable work even on weak equipment:

LDAP — automatic synchronization of the user data;

RTSP — broadcasting image from IP camera directly into the group video conference;

UDP Multicast — sending traffic directly from one user to another bypassing the server;

SVC — scalable video coding.

Scheduling and Inviting

Schedule conference

Administrator of TrueConf Server can schedule conferences in advance on the server side, specify the date and time of the upcoming event and invite participants. Each user will receive an email notification with an invitation.

Moreover, the conferences can be scheduled on a regular basis. Find out more.

Security

In 2014 it will be a big mistake to believe in security and privacy of popular services like Skype. Big brother was here and will be here no matter if you trust him or not.

Video Conferences Modes

Multipoint conferenceApart from 1-on-1 FullHD video call, TrueConf and Skype allow creating group video conferences.

The only mode of group video conferencing in Skype is a symmetric conference with a maximum of 25 participants (where all see each other, 25-on-25).

TrueConf has three group modes available:

  • Virtual Meeting (4-on-120 in TrueConf Online and 6-on-250 in TrueConf Server) — role-based conference for up to 250 participants!
  • Multipoint Conference (9-on-9 in TrueConf Online and 25-on-25 in TrueConf Server) — symmetric conference in Ultra HD quality.
  • Video Lecture (25-on-1) — assymetric conference mode for educational purposes.

Connecting to Conferences from a Web Browser

TrueConf Server also allows conducting web conferences using modern WebRTC technology.

WebRTC conferenceWebRTC support allows users to connect to a conference organized on the server directly from web browsers, such as Google Chrome, Opera or Mozilla Firefox, even if they are not registered in TrueConf.

Such guest users will be able to fully participate in the event – those who are in the conference will be able to see and hear them. Read more.

Collaboration Tools

TrueConf features a wide set of collaboration tools. Apart from the tools that are available in Skype (such as Address book, Presence Status, Call History, Private and group text chat, File transfer, and Desktop Sharing), TrueConf offers SlideShow, Whiteboard and Desktop Sharing & Remote Control.

Slide Show and Presentations

TrueConf SlideShow Feature

This feature allows showing slides, photographs, drawings, tables, and other graphics and/or text documents during a video call. Read more.

  • Available in TrueConf Server and TrueConf Online.
  • There is no such feature in Skype.


Whiteboard

trueconf-whiteboard-toolIt gives the opportunity to draw, write and edit text or graphics using a variety of tools in a separate window during a conference. Read more.

  • Available in TrueConf Server and TrueConf Online.
  • Not available in Skype.


Video Recording

video-call-recording

  • TrueConf allows to record video conferences in the client application and on the server side (using TrueConf Server).
  • In Skype, you cannot record a video conference without third party software.

Comparison Table

Comparison table

  • Steve Dosan

    In addition to TrueConf, you may also have a look at R-HUB desktop video conferencing servers. It works well.

    • Hello Steve and thank you for this hardware suggestion. How does it differ from Vidyo appliances?

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