In the next two weeks or so there will be some exciting new features coming out in Novell Conferencing. When you first log into your account you will see some new menu items – Files, Polls and WEB content. Let’s look at these in more detail.
- Files – In this update of Conferencing you will get four gigabytes of online storage space where you can upload, store and share documents. Some of the feedback from early adopters was that it was inconvenient to upload presentations and files at the beginning of each meeting and that it would be more useful to upload them well in advance and have them sitting there and waiting. You will soon be able to upload files at your leisure and simply call them up on demand. Once they are there, you can also provide a link to your attendees where they can download the files for themselves. Additionally, the files types that are supported has also been increased from just .ppt and pdf to also include some of the newer Microsoft Office files. (Don’t worry – OpenOffice formats are on the roadmap)
- Polls – you will now be able to create Polls and then share then out to your conference attendees to get instant feedback. Poll results can optionally be published in real time so that the sessions are more interactive.
- WEB Content – This is an exciting new capability. Soon you will be able to share multimedia files from the WEB. Out of the box YouTube and Picassa will be supported but you can also script your own media or other server repositories. When you elect to play one of these, the attendees’ PCs will play the media files under your control.
- Video Chat – this is something that you will only see once you start a meeting. You can now have up to four participants as part of a video chat. (Unfortunately I do not have any cameras but from the screenshot below you can get the idea)
Related to this, the Flash controls have been significantly simplified. For those of you who have been bridging Conferencing into an audio bridge or have been doing other things that required working with these controls, you will greatly appreciate this new interface.
- Application Sharing – This is another new feature that many people have been asking for. Instead of being able to only share your Computer Screen, you can now share a single Application or just a selected Region of your screen. If you select Application, you will be presented with a list of all running applications and be asked to select one to share. If you select Region, you will be given a movable and re-sizable viewfinder that you can position over the selected region of your screen that you wish to share.
The update to these new features will happen over the course of a weekend. Stay tuned and check your Conferencing account on Monday mornings to access these new capabilities.
Please note that these screenshots were taken of the beta version and may change slightly when released.