Group 17

TC-2111-MainIcon.pngTalkcast is a new form of Web conferencing, brought to us by TalkShoe, which uses a mixture of voice technologies to support thousands of different participants who can use cell phones, landlines or VoIP in real-time voice conference. It also incorporates both live and recorded telephone-quality voices, is accessible via a full range of phone connection types, integrates voice and chat, and can be made either public or private. People have gone on record by saying that the service offers much greater flexibility and better reach than a normal radio. Talkcasts article

Talkshoe offers a web based service that will allow people to participate or listen in to tele-seminars, or discussions using a computer, cellphone, regular phone or VOIP phone (including Skype).
There are two types of service offered — public and private. Private ones can be used for company meetings, discussion groups, training and marketing. The basic service is free...

How does it work?

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Here is an example how one person is using it:
On July 6, 2006 Ron Morris, a professional radio talk show host, created a live Talkcast of The American Entrepreneur radio show using TalkShoe. The weekly radio show used the TalkShoe website for Live Talking and Chatting with his audience. A podcast recoding of the show is on the website.
The show will air each week live on Saturday morning from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. “TalkShoe’s concept is groundbreaking. It gives me the ability to reach a broader audience, and to better interact with live participants,” Ron Morris, commented.
To listen to Ron's recorded shows go to:

talkshoe.jpgChat- Talkcast software gives a host the ability to control the recording of the show as well as control the mute status of those phoned in. callers can listen to the show or they can indicate that they wish to speak. The system also allows for callers and host to chat via text messages during the show

TalkShoe uses a horizontally scrolling chat method. It also color codes the messages so that responses appear in the same color as the original thread allowing for easy in following conversations. This method is preferred over vertically scrolling chat such as instant messengers.

This text chat was designed so that listeners can have side conversations to give related information or as a way for muted listeners to respond to a question. This was placed in for conviniance but is not necessary for listeners or guest to use the client in order to connect by phone.
(TalkShoe Live! Screenshot)

TalkShoe adds many features to traditional conference calls:
  • Hundreds of talkers using hardwarde bridging
  • Multiple access methods: phone, cell phone, VoIP, or Skype
  • Simultaneous listen-only streaming over the Internet, allowing thousands of live listeners.
  • Integrated text-chatting
  • Host control
  • Free recording and hosting of Talkcasts/podcats
  • Directory listing
  • Hosts are paid to create Talkcasts
  • Ads can be shown and played during the full article

Different tests have been run and they show that different recording equipment affects the results of the talkcast.

Cost and Payment - Talkshoe currently offers payment to hosts of $5 dollars for the first ten shows they host and additional $4 for each 100 downloads. Users currently connecting using SIP (session initiated protocol) will soon have to start paying a $4.95 monthly fee.

Criticism - many users complain that the horizontal chat style of the talkcast can be very confusing at times, as most people are used to a vertical scrolling system. TalkShoe has replied saying that while they are still looking for ways to improve the layout and style, they find that it is easier to keep track of conversations in its current form, as people don’t have to constantly scroll up and down losing who replied to whom.

There have also been complaints that the quality of the recordings is sub par. Currently they are rendered at 8 kHZ (standard telephone connection quality). However in the future Talk shoe plans to increase this quality for those using VoIP.

Competition - Skype is the leading developer of VoIP technology. Their service is so far more popular and receives much more publicity. Although it does not offer as many conference features as Talkshoe, it does offer group chat of up to one hundred and conference calls of up to nine peope.
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