Striving to Make a Mark - Page 8

Raindance Web Conferencing Pro

The reactions of the eval judges to Raindances Web Conferencing Pro seemed to revolve around the products interface. One judge described it as "rudimentary," to which another countered that "it may be simple, but sometimes simple works."

Speaking of simplicity, we found the facilities in Web Conferencing Pro for uploading presentation slides to be the simplest and most effective of the bunch. This is because the Raindance product enabled us to upload presentations that were in PowerPoint, Corel Presentations or Lotus Freelance format, but, unlike the other products we tested, Web Conferencing Pro did not require us to have one of those applications installed on our system to do so. Rather, conversion of presentation files took place on Raindances servers.

However, PowerPoint presentations uploaded in Web Conferencing Pro did not retain their builds and animations, and several judges complained that the quality of the slides presented in Raindance was poor.

Raindance brings together voice and Web services in its Web Conferencing Pro offering and delivers the same dial-out capabilities as the services from Latitude and Genesys. The Raindance product does not offer the selective muting and breakout room capabilities of those products, however.

Web Conferencing Pro does not offer support for VOIP, nor does it feature video.

We could communicate to presenters and to other attendees through private or public chat, a nice question-and-answer module or through polling. These features are grouped in the Raindance interface.

Raindance supports application sharing by providing presenters with a sizable window through which attendees could view an application or desktop portion chosen by the presenter.

Raindance works best with Windows and IE or Netscape and requires a small (140KB) Java applet for attendees or a slightly larger (170KB) Java applet for presenters. To use the application-sharing feature, we had to install a separate ActiveX control, which means that these functions are not available to Mac OS or Linux users.

Per-minute service for Web Conferencing Pro starts at 39 cents per participant. Flat rates for unlimited monthly usage start at around $100 per seat per month for as many as 10 concurrent seats. Teleconferencing costs an additional 27 cents per minute per user. Additional charges apply for SSL encryption and branding.