Last week during Brainshare EMEA we shipped a new version of Novell Conferencing. We have been using it internally in Novell for a little while already and it makes the setting up of conferences, and the sharing of content, a breeze. The product is very feature rich, and has an aggressive roadmap. I wanted to share with you some more details about the product, and links on how to access it.
A huge differentiator of this product is that, as a participant, I never need to install software on my desktop – everything happens through the browser. As I look at my own experience when joining conferences from other vendors, I need to install some desktop application, which remains in my system tray forever more. If I am on the road, at someone else’s house, or just don’t have my laptop with me this can be problematic. Even to set up a meeting you don’t need to install anything, though you will need to if you want to share your desktop – a small plugin gets installed, which allows you to start and share content with a single click.
The product also includes integrated audio and video. When you join the conference you will be prompted to use any available web cam and microphone for the audio and video portion. You will also be able to see other conference participants on their videos. As for the ability to share content, I already mentioned the 1-click start and desktop share, but it’s also possible to share documents and a whiteboard. Attendees are able to use whiteboarding tools to take notes on the white board, or scribble all over stuff and say hello world – which some of my colleagues seem to have a penchant for – no names.
You can also record the entire session. When the session ends the moderator will get an email with a playback URL that others can use to review the meeting. You can also embed a video of the session in a web page, which makes the sharing of content, or product How-To’s really easy. There are lots of other features, including chat.
As you have seen in a couple of other blogs we have already done some work to integrate this new version into our existing collaboration products, but let me spell out what some of the integrations are. Firstly, we made it possible for users in GroupWise to send a conferencing appointment. On the existing appointment view there is a new tab, Conference, which allows users to specify all of the Novell Conferencing options that they want active. When they send the appointment the recipients will see a Join link that will take them right into the meeting, and the sender has a Start link, which will begin the meeting. We also integrated the appointment in the Conferencing Lobby, so users can see upcoming meetings in their browser. These integrations are in GroupWise 8 SP2. To enable them the administrator needs to specify the URL to the Conferencing server in GroupWise Client Options.
The other integrations are into Novell Messenger (aka GroupWise Messenger). Version 2.1 will ship with the ability to quickly start a meeting with selected individuals. The user highlights contacts in their buddy list and then chooses Start Meeting. This sends an invite popup to the users and they will join directly into the meeting.
We are delivering this product through a partnership with Dimdim, who already have over 5 million users of their service, and host millions of meeting minutes every day. Right now this is a hosted offering – as an administrator there is nothing for you to install, so it is incredibly quick to get up and running on the service. The product is licensed per room. You purchase a room, which is associated with a user, and you specify how many participants you want to be able to join the room – up to 20, up to 50 or up to 1000.
You can access a 30 day trial here
You can read more about the product on our product page
We have also included some competitive information for Webex and GotoMeeting and I know you will find the pricing incredibly compelling. The price point, and the ability to hold effective meetings without the need for travel, leads to an excellent ROI on the product – think about this, if you are able to cancel a single trip because of your usage of Novell Conferencing you are already in net profit. Even if you use a competing product today I know that you can see significant savings with Novell Conferencing.
So kick the tyres on the 30 day trial and let me know what you think.