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By Michael Caton  |  Posted 2004-11-15 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Raindance differs from the other services we reviewed by providing a single application for both managing a meeting space and hosting Web conferences. In fact, Raindance behaves more like a desktop application for presenters and participants than a hosted service. During tests, Meeting Edition put tools for exchanging information close at hand, making the service a good collaboration tool. However, these additional features come with additional complexity, compared with competitors.
The sword that cuts both ways for this product is file management. On the one hand, users have complete control of files because Raindance does not store documents on its systems. On the other hand, this makes it much more difficult to create, share and control presentations for groups such as sales teams.
We could point Raindance to a mapped drive, so companies could share presentations from the network, but good reporting on presentation usage will be disconnected from information on Raindance usage. For companies that want tight control of documents, Netspoke is the best option. We did like Raindances focus on making the most of user-to-user interaction. For example, we could share vCard information with attendees, who could grab that data by clicking on a presenters name. In addition, the pane along the bottom of Raindances user interface can be used (at the participants discretion) to display images of meeting presenters and attendees, as well as slide thumbnails. This private work-space pane organizes nearly every function of the application, from documents to application sharing. While competitors typically use elements organized on the side of the screen with tabs, Raindance combines application control elements in a side pane with the private work space to control what the presenter shares with attendees. We think the trade-off in screen real estate is worth it because larger icons can minimize accidental clicking.
Mastering the basics of Raindance will require minimal training for most users, but making the most of more-advanced features will require training for all users. Raindance Meeting Edition is available under three pricing models: The $125 per-seat per-month flat fee allows five user attendees, with audio charges at a per-minute rate; the per-connection unlimited license costs 38 cents per minute, with audio conferencing charged at a negotiated per-minute rate; the named-user flat fee is available in five- or 10-attendee packages, at $249 and $399 per month, respectively. This license includes corresponding audio conferencing rates of 20 cents and 18 cents per minute. Click here to read a review of Genesys Meeting Center.
Click here to read a review of Interwises ECP Connect.
Click here to read a review of Netspoke Conferencing Hub. Check out eWEEK.coms for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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