Striving to Make a Mark - Page 9


WebDemo is a self-hosted, full-featured virtual meeting product. It supports VOIP, although it lacks a facility for muting attendee sound feeds. The product also supports video, PowerPoint presentation capabilities and a full complement of application-sharing capabilities. Although the judges found the WebDemo interface somewhat rough, it was certainly laid out well enough to get the job done.

However, issues surrounding client setup and certain privacy implications of WebDemos desktop-sharing feature were difficult to overlook.

For example, judges were displeased to find that, somewhere among the six separate security messages to which we were required to assent, we gave presenters the ability to display any attendee desktop to the entire group. Because of this characteristic of WebDemo, several judges said theyd be unwilling to accept meeting requests from WebDemo users.

eWeek Labs agrees. When you send a colleague or business contact an invitation to a Web meeting—along with the ActiveX or Java applets that all such meetings entail—its a matter of trust. Directing a business partner to install a piece of software that, without his or her explicit consent, will enable you to broadcast the contents of the persons desktop to a group constitutes, in our opinion, a breach of that trust.

Beyond the privacy issue, requiring users to accept a set of six different security warnings is very confusing, if not arousing suspicion. After clicking "yes" to a series of warnings, some judges wondered whether something had gone wrong, as some of the warnings looked like they were duplicates.

WebDemo supports Windows 95 or later, with IE 5.0 and up. It also supports e-mail meeting notifications and, like some of the other products we evaluated, meeting invitees can be added automatically to ones Outlook calendar.

As a self-hosted-only solution, WebDemo had the simplest pricing scheme of the products we evaluated. Prices ranged from $1,499 for a five-concurrent-user license to $18,999 for a 100-concurrent-user license. Companies also have to add in the cost of a Windows 2000 server to host the WebDemo application.