By Jason Brooks  |  Posted 2002-07-01 Print this article Print


Latitudes virtual meeting solution, MeetingPlace, is tailored to the teleconferencing services in which Latitude is rooted. As with the offering from Genesys, the result is audio that benefits from the stability of standard telephone lines but that enjoys close integration with the Web portion of a Latitude meeting.

As with the offering from Genesys, the Latitude service could dial out to meeting participants, and meeting attendees could retire to a breakout room to pursue off-topic discussions. Many of the judges cited the breakout rooms as a feature they wouldnt have thought to ask for but also as compelling and a key advantage for the systems that offered it.

We could add PowerPoint presentations to our Latitude meetings, much like with the rest of the products we evaluated: We selected a presentation, which was then converted and uploaded for broadcast to attendees.

However, MeetingPlace did not provide any sort of progress indicator—an annoying omission since it can take some time to upload a large presentation. MeetingPlace does not preserve PowerPoint builds or animations.

MeetingPlace also does not include support for video, nor does it offer any whiteboard or annotation functions. Unlike video, these tools are virtual meeting staples and are conspicuous by their absence.

Meeting presenters can opt to use the central window in the MeetingPlace interface to present slides or to share applications from their desktops. Presenters can switch between the two at a buttons click. Attendees may also switch between those two modes at will. However, this caused confusion at times during our tests, as eVal judges lost track of which module the presenters were presenting in.

Latitude was well-integrated with Outlook. As with some of the other products, MeetingPlace meeting invitations appeared in Outlooks calendar. However, MeetingPlace went further by allowing us to drag these meeting entries to new times and have MeetingPlace reschedule the Web and teleconference portions of the meeting, as well as notify attendees of the new time.

The preferred platform for MeetingPlace is Internet Explorer and Windows, but we were able to view the presenters shared applications, as well as participate in chat sessions, from a Linux system running Mozilla. We could not share our Linux desktop, however, nor could we participate in slide sessions using this setup. MeetingPlace extends a similarly limited measure of support to Macintosh.

The audio portion of MeetingPlace meetings may be recorded and made available as a WAV file.

MeetingPlace costs $150 per concurrent user per month for unlimited voice and Web conferencing for one to nine user licenses; $135 for 10 to 24 user licenses; and $125 for 25 to 100 user licenses. The system may be purchased and run in-house at a cost of $1,800 per user license.

As Editor in Chief of eWEEK Labs, Jason Brooks manages the Labs team and is responsible for eWEEK's print edition. Brooks joined eWEEK in 1999, and has covered wireless networking, office productivity suites, mobile devices, Windows, virtualization, and desktops and notebooks. JasonÔÇÖs coverage is currently focused on Linux and Unix operating systems, open-source software and licensing, cloud computing and Software as a Service. Follow Jason on Twitter at jasonbrooks, or reach him by email at

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