07 May 2009

Web conferencing services

An idea to cut travel and your carbon footprint. The following services allow everybody to be 'on the same page' during a long-distance meeting.

1. GoToMeeting
Free 30-day trial.

2. Adobe Acrobat Connect
Free 15-day trial.

3. WebEx
Free 14-day trial

They work on the same principle. Install the application on the host machine (e.g. a laptop that you will use on the day). Having registered in the service, you generate a code that is sent to the participants. They simply click on a link, enter the code (or this is automated), and then watch whatever you show them, via their web browser.

The host PC controls what is visible on the other machine (a spreadsheet, video etc.). The host can also hand the controls to any of the participants. The host controls what the participants see: just a window from the host PC, or the whole screen.

Both services enable participants at up to 15 locations to join. Additional facilities include voice (VOIP) integration, and instant messaging (chat windows to ask questions, send messages between participants etc.). Webex even enables users to log in from a smart phone.