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EyeBeam Review - Full-Fledged VoIP Softphone App

Overview

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EyeBeam Review - Full-Fledged VoIP Softphone App

The EyeBeam Interface, Courtesy Counterpath Corporation

EyeBeam is a full-fledged SIP-based softphone VoIP app that allows you to have a sophisticated voice and video communication experience whether you are an individual or part of a business. It is more of a multimedia communicator than a simple VoIP app. Being a third-party SIP-based app, EyeBeam is not attached to any VoIP service, meaning that you need to have a service to tie to it. This also means that you are free to use any VoIP service that supports the SIP protocol. It is a great tool for advanced users and VoIP administrators.

EyeBeam is one product in the line of SIP-based softphone VoIP apps proposed by CounterPath, the other products being entry-level X-Lite and more sophisticated Bria. EyeBeam has more features and is richer than X-Lite in many ways, since X-Lite is free and EyeBeam has a price. X-Lite is intended to entice users to upgrade to paid versions of the CounterPath products. EyeBeam is different from Bria in the sense that Bria is more contact-centered and therefore better poised for business and corporate environments and collaboration, while EyeBeam offers more of what is required and expected of a properly said full-fledged VoIP softphone app.

Pros

  • Full-fledged multimedia communication tool.
  • Relatively light on resources.
  • Great amount of features, including performance management, multi-party voice and video conferencing.

Cons

  • The price tag
  • Some users have complained of instability

Features and Review

The interface. The EyeBeam interface is quite uncommon, with a center dial pad and pseudo screen and two panes that open on the sides, one for the contacts and one for video calling. The interface is quite rich in controls with all the basic features ready for the click, helping user-friendliness considerably. The expanded panes can be retracted any time to leave a clean softphone figure on the desktop.

Setup. Installation is straightforward and a breeze. It is also straightforward to set up SIP and other configurations and in little time, one is ready to get going with voice and video calls shortly after installation, and provided all necessary credentials are in hand from service providers and from network personnel.

Basic features. EyeBeam obviously has more features than the basic X-Lite. These include call forwarding, call transfer, call history, enhanced contact management, presence management and instant messaging (IM), voice and video calls, voicemail among others. Among the standard features that EyeBeam has are two that look quite interesting to me, and worth mentioning here. They are the following:

6 lines. With one softphone app installation on a computer, you can manage up to six communication lines. The implications of this feature are great, and that makes it a good tool for home, office, personal, Internet and internal network communication integration on one single point, although it requires an amount of dexterity not to confuse yourself among the lines. Also, you can log in with up to 10 VoIP service providers.

Voice and video recording. This is a great feature that you don’t get with many VoIP apps. You normally have separate call recording tools. Audio calls are saved as .wmv files and video calls as .avi files.

Conference calls. You can use EyeBeam to communicate, using either voice or voice, or both, with more than one person in the same conversation. A conference call may include up to 7 parties, that’s you with six other persons.

Outlook integration. You can import, export and manage your contacts with some juice from dedicated applications like Microsoft Outlook (for Windows users of course). You can also export and backup your contacts to it or to Excel.

Audio and video codecs. A long list of audio and video carrier-grade codecs, for narrow and wide-band, are included in the application, with rather advanced options for the user to choose and configure them. These codecs include G.729, H.263 and H.264. More interestingly, in the case you are not codec-savvy as is the case for most of us, there is automatic selection of the most appropriate codec for a given situation based on network conditions, available bandwidth and the other party’s calling capability and resources.

QoS. EyeBeam offers quality of service management, with options for the QoS of audio, video and signaling. You can set your DSCP/TOS value and select the service type for each.

Security. EyeBeam offers privacy settings with filtering and some other standard security features. It also supports encryption with a series of options that make it adequately flexible.

System requirements. EyeBeam is not very hungry on resources, compared to its other counterparts like X-Lite and Bria. A modest Pentium II processor suffices for audio-only use with only 128 MB and 15 MB hard disk space, while only twice that memory is required for all features including video.

Customization. CounterPath also builds custom-written VoIP apps. While EyeBeam is not an example, but more of an off-the-shelf softphone application, there is an appreciable level of customizability. You can have skins for the interface and an SDK (software development kit) for a fully customized solution. You can even have a softphone app that bears your name, to be used in your company, or a market name to be deployed among your registered users along with a private-labelled service you provide. Besides, many of the existing software-based VoIP service providers offer softphone apps they have bought from CounterPath based on the EyeBeam architecture. Of course, price variations follow.

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