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Web Conferencing Options in 2010

Although Web conferencing is still a young industry, a number of vendors are already offering sophisticated solutions for enterprise customers. And soon many of these solutions will be available for the home-based or small business, as well.

These are some of the key features to compare for pros, cons and pricing structures for each web conferencing vendor:

  • Application and desktop sharing
  • Attendee and quiz management
  • Videoconferencing
  • Whiteboards
  • File transfer
  • Outlook / lead system integration
  • Record and playback

Major Web Conferencing Players Include

Adobe Acrobat Connect ~ An increasingly popular solution for businesses and educators, Adobe Acrobat Connect offers most standard Web conferencing features, including application and desktop sharing, attendee management, videoconferencing and whiteboards. It operates almost entirely off of Adobe Systems Inc.’s Flash technology and works on Microsoft Windows, Apple Macintosh and Linux machines.

Citrix GoToMeeting ~ Citrix Systems Inc. sells its Web conferencing solution as an easy-to-use, affordable alternative to other leading products. After a free 30-day trial, Citrix charges customers a flat rate per month.

Elluminate Live! ~ Catering to educators, though businesses can use it as well. Based on Java, Elluminate Live! works on every platform with features including teleconferencing, whiteboards, application sharing, quiz management and, most notably, breakout rooms. Elluminate offers a free version for meetings with three seats or less, but its bigger plans charge per seat, per month.

IBM Lotus Sametime Unyte Meeting ~ A well-established Web conferencing solution, Unyte Meeting integrates the Web, audio and videoconferencing. Users only need to access an Internet browser to join a meeting. Features include desktop and application sharing, polling, chat, whiteboards, hand raising, Microsoft Office integration and recording.

Microsoft Office Live Meeting ~ Microsoft Office Live Meeting, like many of Microsoft Corp.’s products, is a leading solution in the Web conferencing field. Hosted features include webcams, recording, breakout rooms, file transfer, Outlook integration and VoIP -PSTN integration.

WebEx MeetMeNow ~ WebEx is the oldest Web conferencing provider and is aimed at SMBs (small- to medium-size), MeetMeNow can support 15 users; WebEx Meetings is their enterprise edition.

Saba Centra ~ Saba is geared toward e-learning and talent management. Saba Centra, has deep integration with its other systems, and features include breakout rooms, application sharing, record and playback, and multiple presenters.

iLinc ~ Solutions for SMBs, enterprises, government and educational institutions. iLinc’s features include application and desktop sharing, polling, breakout groups, hand raising, whiteboards and IM, customizable user interface and tracking of their online meetings’ carbon emissions.

Up-and-Coming Web Conferencing Vendors

Dimdim ~ Dimdim is one of the only free Web conferencing solutions currently available. Although the free version supports 20 attendees and offers videoconferencing, whiteboards and recording, users can expand and customize their meetings with a yearly subscription to Dimdim Pro. Dimdim’s solutions require no software download and are available as on-site, hosted and open-source versions.

WiredRed ~ e/pop web conferencing is available as hosted or on-premise software, e/pop version 5 features include application sharing, remote control, multiparty audio and videoconferencing, and record and playback. After a free 14-day trial, users can choose one of two payment plans.

Yugma Professional ~ Yugma Inc. offers a free version of its software with limited features. Yugma’s Pro edition has features including whiteboard and annotation tools, keyboard sharing, recording, Skype integration and live technical support. The software is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux and comes with a free 15-day trial. Pricing per month for up to 10 attendees and reaches or an annual subscription for the Pro edition.

Zoho Meeting ~ Zoho provides Web-based services such as email, CRM and IM, and Zoho Meeting, which integrates with all other Zoho services and offers features such as variable viewer options, remote assistance and desktop shortcuts. Customers can use Zoho Meetingfor free one-on-one meetings, but must pay user, per month for five users or more.

The original source of this article is InsideCRM.com , part of the Focus network of sites. Read their complete web conferencing article for updated pricing and more in-depth analysis.