Striving to Make a Mark - Page 7

PlaceWare Conference Center

Several judges entered the testing having used PlaceWare, and theyd been pleased with its performance. As one of our judges remarked, "What can you say but that it works?"

However, although some judges said the PlaceWare interface was one of the cleanest we evaluated, they also noted that it lacked the sort of emoticon functions that were so appealing in Centras and Genesys products.

Gannetts Gunnerson added that the product had "begun to show its age" and wondered if there was something that could be done to make the interface easier to use. In collaborative mode, for example, meeting attendees have to direct their questions to PlaceWares chat module or ask them over the phone, rather than with the sorts of emoticons so well-liked by the judges in other products.

We could share either the view of an application—which is what most of the other products did—or share control of an application with another user. This part of the application sharing is handled well. The sharer can cancel sharing at any time by hitting escape. The sharee can either view the shared application through a window in the PlaceWare interface or opt for a full-screen view of the shared application.

PlaceWare offers one-way streaming audio, as well as teleconferencing services, but the integration between the phone and Web portions of PlaceWare meetings was less fully developed than that in the Latitude and Genesys products, for example.

PlaceWare does not offer support for video, but it does offer fairly sophisticated tools for working with presentation slides. Presenters may shuffle through, save and duplicate uploaded slides. A PlaceWare add-in for PowerPoint enables additional features, for example, allowing users to prepare slides in PlaceWares own slide format.

Slides for whiteboarding, Web touring or polls may be inserted among a set of PowerPoint slides. This has the nice result of keeping all elements of the meeting or presentation in an easily navigable order for the presenter.

PlaceWare supports Netscape or IE on Windows. The product also supports the Mac OS platform but only with a subset of the functionality available on Windows.

Standard service is $100 per month per concurrent user for unlimited use. Gold service adds recording functions and recorded presentation hosting and costs $150 per month per concurrent user. Platinum service adds SSL encryption to everything in the session for $200.