Fuze Meeting Comes to Apple's iPad for Mobile Meetings

Fuze Box Sept. 21 released Fuze Meeting for iPad, looking to capitalize Apple's popular tablet computer. The app, rivaling WebEx and Citrix iPad apps, lets iPad users trigger a meeting on the go.

Fuze Box Sept. 21 said its mobile meeting software for Apple's popular iPad tablet computer has been approved by the computer maker's App Store.

Web collaboration powers such as Cisco's Web Ex and Citrix already offer iPad applications. But Fuze Meeting for iPad is unique in that it is the first online meeting app that lets users host a meeting from the iPad, not just join a meeting.

To demonstrate the app, Fuze Box lent eWEEK an iPad preloaded with Fuze Meeting for iPad to host a meeting about the new app using the new iPad app.

The left-hand slider panel of the app sports a list of upcoming meetings. Users can start a meeting prepopulated with uploaded content, or create ad-hoc meetings. Invitees may attend a meeting by entering the meeting ID or clicking the link they were given via e-mail.

Per the request of Greg Saiz, senior director of product marketing and management, we selected the eWEEK demo meeting. The kicker is that eWEEK ran the meeting as a host, inviting in Saiz and Christine Loredo, vice president of product marketing.

eWEEK made Saiz a presenter through an attendee's management icon at the top of the screen by tapping the option for "make presenter."

The app was crisp, clear and very intuitive. Saiz breezed eWEEK through each of the meeting management features without getting stuck on a step.

The home icon lets users pull in meeting content, such as documents, presentations and spreadsheets from Fuze's cloud. Content is pulled right from Fuze's servers, not stored locally on the iPad.

The app also integrates with online file storage provider Dropbox, allowing users to pull documents, photos and video from that repository into a meeting.

Fuze Meeting for iPad also leverages the company's iPoint laser technology, which makes users' finger gesture a pointer on the iPad touchscreen, which is viewable by all meeting participants.

Instant messaging functionality lets users chat with or invite colleagues into collaboration sessions via AOL AIM, Yahoo Messenger, Google Chat and other IM apps.

The viewable by all participants quotient is key. As journalists, we have received thousands of WebEx or GotoMeeting Web conferences where we watched while a presenter controlled every slide we saw.

With Fuze Meeting for iPad, we were able to flit about the contents of the app, pinching and zooming with ease.

The app also comes with VOIP (Voice over IP) baked in, so users don't even require headphones to hear the conversation. Users can plug in a headset to the iPad to engage in VOIP conversations in "full duplex mode."

However, when there is no VOIP headset, Fuze Meeting automatically switches to single plex mode, allowing users to listen in and forcing them to tap a push to talk button.

Saiz assured eWEEK this was due to the iPad's poor echo cancellation, not his company's software. "It's kind of a hardware limitation on the first-gen iPad," Saiz added.

At launch today, Fuze Meeting for iPad is free up to 10 users. After the promotional period, the app is free for two users. Users can pay $9.99 per day, or $29.99 per month.