ConferenceManager Gets Web-Conferencing Job Done

 
 
By Michael Caton  |  Posted 2006-08-21
 
 
 

ConferenceManager Gets Web-Conferencing Job Done


For companies looking for a plug-and-play voice and Web conferencing solution, Sonexis ConferenceManager is a good choice. However, ConferenceManager costs a somewhat pricey $950 per audio port and $950 per conference host seat.



Click here to read the full review of Sonexis ConferenceManager.

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For companies looking for a plug-and-play voice and Web conferencing solution, Sonexis ConferenceManager is a good choice. However, ConferenceManager costs a somewhat pricey $950 per audio port and $950 per conference host seat.

ConferenceManager relies more heavily on the whiteboard for Web conferencing than do more structured Web presentation tools, including Elluminate Live 7.0 and Interwise Connect 7.0, as well as WebEx Communications WebEx and Microsofts Office Live Meeting.

Click here to read a review of Interwise Connect 7.0.

Indeed, ConferenceManager is first and foremost an audio conferencing bridge; the Web conferencing component is good, but it doesnt offer the depth of features that some of its competitors do. However, ConferenceManager delivers a fairly robust Web conferencing tool for users who just need to present some slides and share an application with other participants.

ConferenceManager, which requires that users be running Microsofts Internet Explorer on a Windows-based PC, includes a whiteboard, application sharing, co-browsing and Notes tools.

The document-sharing feature has two modes. In the first mode, the moderator can upload a PowerPoint presentation and preserve effects, such as transitions, but cant annotate the slides. The second mode is a print driver translation to the whiteboard, which strips out slide effects but allows the moderator to mark up a slide with the whiteboard tools.

We liked ConferenceManagers Notes tool, which is separate from the standard public and private chat tool. The Notes tool simply provides a place for participants to enter text during a meeting that can be saved later.

Polling and question-and-answer options are more limited with ConferenceManager than with other tools weve seen, but they provide the feedback basics needed for quick polling and consensus building.

Click here to read a review of Elluminate Live 7.0.

The ConferenceManager interface has several nice features, including links to the invitee list, conference information and a tool for sending quick invitations for meetings already in progress.

One interesting wrinkle on the audio conference side is that the audio participation isnt noted in the main Web conferencing view. Instead, when participants join the audio portion of a conference, the ConferenceManager application spawns another browser window that includes a list of participants, as well as buttons for recording a call or for muting, disconnecting, holding or starting private conferences with participants. We liked the single-interface approach better because it limits the screen clutter that is bound to occur when sharing applications.

Next page: Evaluation Shortlist: Related Products.

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Evaluation Shortlist

Citrix Onlines GoToMeeting

A basic way to present and share applications; has a single-pricing structure and limited voice conferencing capabilities (www.gotomeeting.com)

Elluminates Elluminate Live 7.0

Includes integrated VOIP audio and Section 508-compliant tools (www.elluminate.com)

Interwises Interwise Connect 7.0

Ably integrates teleconferencing services with a suite of Web conferencing-based collaboration apps (www.interwise.com)

Microsofts Office Live Meeting 2005

Presents a single application as catchall for Web conferencing; strong focus on collaboration (www.microsoft.com/livemeeting)

WebEx Communications WebEx Meeting Center

Uses a suite-based approach, with good telephony options for applications ranging from seminars to training (www.webex.com)

Technical Analyst Michael Caton can be reached at michael_caton@ziffdavis.com.

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