Where most of the products we evaluated were centered on live virtual meetings, eRoom is first and foremost an online collaboration workspace that offers meeting functionality as one of several collaboration tools.
Perhaps as a result, eRooms virtual meeting tools were more rudimentary than those of the other products we evaluated. Using eRoom, we could chat, use a whiteboard collaboratively, shift control among meeting participants and guide participants through PowerPoint slides or other documents.
While engaged in eRoom meetings, presenters could also share their desktops, thereby presenting to a group any materials they chose.
However, eRoom 6.0 offers no facilities for VOIP or video, nor does eRoom host teleconferencing services. Groups holding virtual meetings with eRoom will have to arrange for their own audio services.
Beyond its chat feature, the eRoom meeting tool is relatively short on attendee feedback capabilities.
Our judges agreed that for tasks such as project management, or for meetings in which members are actively working on documents and the like, eRoom is an excellent option.
Once we got the hang of the interface—its chock-full of different collaborative tools—it was not difficult to set up ad hoc and planned meetings or to manage files, access control and user lists.
Upon logging in, we could choose between browser-only and plug-in-based means of accessing eRooms. The plug-in is required for desktop sharing or to introduce items such as PowerPoint slides into a meeting.
eRoom 6.0 supports Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 and up or Netscape Communications Corp.s Navigator 4.7x. It runs on Windows 95 or better, Apple Computer Inc.s Macintosh 9.x or OS X 10.x, Solaris 8, and HP-UX 10.20.
eRoom 6.0 costs $16,995 per server and $249 per user license for self-hosted eRoom servers. The company plans to offer a hosted version later this summer. Companies deploying eRoom will have to factor in the cost of audio separately, as this is not included with the product.