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Article


August 30, 2011 | by D. Craig MacCormack

America Online has joined the crowded video chat space, launching a beta version of a service it calls AV.

The question now is whether the service has the juice to compete with some of the well-established services and whether integrators will welcome the video chat newcomer into their toolboxes.

AOL is touting AV as the “easiest video chat experience ever,” saying users can chat for free with up to four people; instantly invite friends, avoid pesky log-ins and share pictures on social media services such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr.

Many of these perks sound familiar for those who’ve used other video chat services in the past, so you’ve got to wonder who exactly will use AV. Maybe the service’s name was a not-so-transparent attempt by AOL to appeal to commercial integrators and CE pros alike, but we’ll see if it works.

Or could it be that the market for AV is limited to the dinosaurs like me who, for some reason, have held onto their AOL email address for all these years? In that case, perhaps commercial integrators can target senior centers and other places where technology is more of a luxury than a necessity. Of course, the fact you only have to be 13 makes me wonder about that too.

So, the answer remains almost as elusive as the question of how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.

Have you heard about AV? What do you think of its potential? Will you recommend it to customers?

About the author

Craig MacCormack is a veteran journalist with more than 15 years experience covering local and national news and sports as well as architecture and engineering. He joined Commercial Integrator in January 2011. Follow him on Twitter: @CraigMacCormack.
View all posts by D. Craig MacCormack
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