Spoiler: yotribe is new, slim and against all expectations very relaxed to use. The fact that it can currently be tested for free is an additional bonus.
How it starts
The whole thing starts with an “application mail” from the provider. Not everyone is admitted immediately, you get on a waiting list with an alarmingly high waiting number. yotribe cunningly promises faster processing if you invite 3 friends as well. As a multi-account holder no problem - 2-3 days later comes the redeeming start link. The host must first set up a room by logging in via it and setting up the meeting room in such a way that the planned event is well supported. This is essentially
- Creating and uploading the site plan and
- Determine whether a room password is used.
The participants arrive
All participants enter the workshop via the room URL generated in this process.
Yotribe currently supports Firefox and Chrome, on iphones only Safari (but without its own video transmission).
The first time you enter the workshop, you also have to create an account as a participant. This account is then saved in the browser as a cookie so that you don’t have to log in again afterwards.
After the cookie confirmation, you enter your name and create a selfie, which will be used as a person icon in the conference.
If you have several webcams in use, this is the place where you should select the cam you will use later. At the moment yotribe can’t offer a later camera selection - only deleting the yotribe cookie will help.
Afterwards there are two pages where sound and microphone are checked. If both are answered positively and the assigned room password is entered, you can start. You enter the workshop room, where others might already be. If you approach a person or a group within earshot, the videoconference with this person or group will automatically start. If you continue walking and leave the circle, it will go off again. The color of the circle is random and has no meaning. The designed map is ultimately only visual, as the circles function over the entire surface regardless of the background.
You move through the room by pushing your personal icon with the mouse or cursor keys - a certain Pacman feeling comes up :)
Camera, microphone, screen sharing controls and the chat tool, which is hidden behind the speech bubble on the right, are occupied as usual with conference tools. An “Icebreaker” function allows you to enter a question to others, which must then be answered during the meeting.
In addition, there is a “Broadcast” mode in the toolbar on the right, which requires the host password to start. The first person to start a broadcast will interrupt all conversations (participants stay where they are) with a 10 second warning and will have exclusive speaking rights. Up to 5 other presenters can also join in on the stage. Only when the last person has left the broadcast are regular conversations possible again.
Lessons Learned at yotribe
The site plan is a bit bumpy when video conferences are on and off and the monitor is too small to display everything at the same time. If necessary, we recommend that you reduce the size of the whole page in your browser until these effects no longer occur (Ctrl and -).
Unfortunately yotribe does not yet support mini-screen views for screen sharing, so you can see either the group or the workspace. Owners of 2 monitors are of course at an advantage here.
At the moment yotribe is still in the testing phase, so no fees are due yet. These will be moderate later, the company is talking about 2 EUR/participant for 2 hours or 4 EUR for a whole day. It remains to be seen what other features will be added before the payment barrier goes down. yotribe is already well usable, for a full-fledged operation some important features are still missing. The positive thing is that it is a German company, so the usual data protection discussion might be a bit more relaxed.
My wish list:
- Being able to select a new camera
- Being able to define circles in a fixed location
- Continue to display Circle screens during screen sharing
- Password for broadcast independent of host password. Even better: Enable the broadcaster to bring participants “on stage”, i.e. invite them spontaneously to the broadcast (similar to Remo)
- Zone into which participants can go when a broadcast starts to end their conversation.
- Possibility to place clickable links in the room
- Possibility to “connect” several rooms with each other, e.g. by walking out of one room at a definable place, you automatically get into another room.
- Management API