Tuesday Two.Oh! is not meant as an endorsement, but as an exploration of the tools that are out there. Click at your own risk. 🙂
Today on Tuesday Two.Oh! we’re going to talk about meeting online. Many of us have jobs that necessitate travel every so often in order to conduct meetings with colleagues state or even nation wide. Many of us have been turning to online meeting software that enables a group of people to meet online for little or no cost. Admittedly, the tool we will talk about today has a free version that is unfortunately pretty small for the needs of most groups, forcing the purchase of an upgrade account. But the site warrants a look, since it is innovative and dynamic.
Let’s take a look at Fuze Meeting.
From the site: “Fuze Meeting, developed by CallWave, enables seamless high-definition online collaboration between mobile and desktop users. Fuze Meeting takes online collaboration beyond the desktop, enabling users on virtually any device to experience high-definition synchronized content, high-fidelity audio conferencing, online media storage, integrated presence and secure, persistent chat – all in one easy-to-use web application.”
The site itself was very easy to sign up for. Little more than an confirmation email grants you access to the site. Once you have logged in you will be looking at your dashboard- which will display information concerning past and future meetings, uploaded documents, and other relevant information.
In order to view any of the documents connected to a meeting, the meeting must be live. As the creator of the meeting, you can enter into any of the meetings at any time in order to change, upload, or delete documents, videos and PowerPoints. Uploading documents is relatively easy.
I found that once uploaded, documents did take awhile to appear in your meeting queue. Just be patient, and the messages should show up without a problem.
The two options you have are to start a meeting now, or to invite users to a meeting at a future time.
The invite process is extremely simple, and can be edited any time. All you need to do is enter an email address and click send, and your chosen participant will receive an invitation with all of the pertinent information (time of the meeting, date, etc.).
Just a side note- once your invited participant has accepted the invitation, you will receive confirmation via email.
When you have finished inviting people, and have opened the meeting you will have the opportunity to share your desktop, upload and view a file for annotation, or to invite more people. Users other than the host of the meeting will not have edit capabilities unless given by the host.
Fuze Meeting has a call-in feature so people can join the meeting by telephone. There is also a chat feature which users can use to type up their conversations.
The pricing of Fuze Meeting is as follows:
One of the frustrating things about finding decent online meeting software is the pricing. I noticed that there was an option to “Pay as You Go.” The pricing guide does say that the pay-as-you-go option is rated at 0.06 per minute. I don’t know if the costs would rise if document sharing or other band-width issues are in play at the same time.
Fuze Meeting would definitely be a viable solution to some of my own problems. However, not being able to easily anticipate the cost overhead makes it difficult to use.
But if you have the money to spend, I would take a look at Fuze Meeting. One of the features that drew me in immediately was iPhone access.
Blackberry and other smartphone users will also be able to use Fuze Meeting. Mobile meeting is not something I have ever participated in, but with the possibilities of the iPhone, I would certainly give it a try.
In closing, I think that Fuze Meeting has a lot of potential. I am disappointed about the cost issues, but I realize that there has to be a way for these sites to make some money. I am constantly on the look out for a free platform that provides the kind of ease of access and document sharing that Fuze Meeting provides.
In my own life, meetings are happening more and more onlline. And from the experiences I’ve had, the software has a long way to go. There is something lost in a virtual meeting, but sites like Fuze Meeting are getting closer and closer to what we need as users insofar as having a productive meeting.
As always, comments and thoughts are encouraged and welcomed.