WebEx Meeting Center

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

WebEx Meeting Center

WebEx Meeting Center provided for online meetings as well as any of the products we evaluated, but the feature that stood out most for us, the WebEx Document Viewer, was located offline.

Users can save meeting content in a format proprietary to WebEx for later, offline access through the Document Viewer. For example, we converted and uploaded a PowerPoint slide set from a machine with PowerPoint installed and then shared it with a machine without that application installed. After the meeting, we could open, annotate and save that document on our PowerPoint-less system, all while disconnected.

The eVal judges liked the Web tour feature in WebEx, which enables presenters to allow or disallow live links and to annotate atop Web pages being presented.

Support for meeting recording in WebEx is handled on the client side, as WebEx is a peer-to-peer-based product.

WebEx includes support for chat and for hand raising, as well as for polling and whiteboard functions. The whiteboard annotations from each attendee appeared in a different color, which was nice.

WebEx includes some support for VOIP, which we did not test, as well as for video, which we did.

The video quality we experienced in WebEx was about on par with what we experienced in the other video-enabled products we tested.

Companies looking for full-fledged videoconferencing wont find it here alone, though. Rather, the video in WebEx and the other products we tested is better suited to serve as a supplement to Web- and voice-based collaboration features. Sometimes even a rather grainy picture can be worth a thousand words.

WebEx impressed our judges with its application-sharing functionality, but several of them experienced performance and stability problems when the representatives from WebEx displayed a rotating, three-dimensional CAD object.

WebEx runs either with a C++ Windows-only client or through a Java applet. WebEx extends support to Mac OS systems, either through this Java applet or through a 3.5MB Mac OS application.

The standard WebEx subscription is $100 per concurrent user per month for unlimited meetings, and the Pro subscription, which adds full desktop sharing and record and playback, costs $200 per concurrent user per month. Audio costs start at 5 cents per minute per user.

Alternatively, WebEx offers a pay-per-use plan for 45 cents per minute per user, or 50 cents per minute with WebEx teleconferencing.

A Labs analyst since 1999, Jason Brooks was previously research and technology coordinator at a French economic development agency. In addition to productivity applications, Brooks covers client operating systems and the mobile and wireless space. He is at jason_brooks@ziffdavis.com.

Additional reporting by Debra Donston

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 jbrooks@eweek.com.

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