3 Niche Conferencing Solutions Worth A Look - InformationWeek
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3 Niche Conferencing Solutions Worth A Look

Collaborative conferencing companies have always enjoyed a boost in business after natural disasters or terror threats, and the recent changes in the world have caused business leaders and their IT support staffs to become better prepared prior to the onset of factors affecting business continuity.

While webconferencing and videoconferencing leaders like WebEx, Polycom, and Tandberg are often called upon for conferencing needs, users are exploring products from smaller niche players like Vemics, CollabWorx, and Applied Global Technologies.  These three firms have addressed the market in unique ways and offer products and services geared to specific needs.  Here's why I like them.

Vemics. Vemics LiveAccess combines the qualities of video conferencing and web collaboration by offering video and synchronous, integrated audio from your PC or laptop.  LiveAccess is designed to replicate a live meeting, so you can do anything you do in a live meeting:  work on a spreadsheet, use a whiteboard, or even interrupt someone.  Vemics also provides custom, application-specific solutions.

20060914earon01.jpgVemics is especially useful for 6-8 individuals, in different locations, who need to talk as a group on a daily or weekly basis.  The system is great as a tool to reach a variety of audiences.  Up to 96 sites can be connected in a single session.  Vemics is also useful to narrowcast a speech or panel discussion to a select group, and it's a great teaching tool.  The technology has been used for continuing medical education programs and allows the narrowcast to be coupled with streaming to obtain the greatest reach for a program. 

I installed Vemics in my office using a camera on the top of my PC and an audio headset.  It took a few minutes to download the software and I immediately started meeting.  Vemics handles multipoint calls easily and you can have nine videos on the screen at one time.   I think the success of Vemics will be determined by users’ imaginations.  The proliferation of Pentium 4 computers and high speed broadband are allowing offerings like Vemics to be a success.  In times of crisis, it is nice to know one can easily work from home.

CollabWorx. CollabWorx provides secure Conference over IP (CoIP) software and services.  CollabWorx creates and implements secure, high performance, multi-platform collaboration, communication and distance learning solutions using a proprietary peer-to-peer technology that integrates well with virtually all legacy messaging and conferencing software.  I was first introduced to CollabWorx when I saw the technology demonstrated by the United States Army for training purposes.  I liked the fact that CollabWorx was being used for education virtually anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.  I saw instructors using the system from their home offices reaching military personnel across the globe.  CollabWorx has created and implemented an interactive, synchronous distance learning process that provides security combined with video comparable to a live classroom.  As more organizations see what CollabWorx has accomplished, their list of customers grows.  This is one technology that has proven to work globally in some very difficult situations.

Applied Global Technologies. I first discovered AGT almost ten years ago when one of my customers had them bid on a proposal (and AGT ended up winning that bid).  In those days, I viewed AGT as an integrator, but now the company is much more.  The company has a savvy group of engineers who have added a human element to their offerings.  Using AGT technology, organizations can better schedule conferences, effectively test their network, and easily set up calls using any technology (e.g., video system, computer, laptop, PDA) with the touch of a button.  AGT has humanized and simplified videoconferencing and is worth the look by any organization that struggles to manage videoconferencing or needs tools to communicate regardless of where one is located.

Now is the time to prepare alternatives to face-to-face meetings.  Reviewing the advances in web conferencing and video conferencing makes sense to ensure your organization is ready when business continuity is threatened.

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