WCaaP - Web Conferencing As A Platform?

Interesting conversation recently with PGi – a well-established player in the worlds of web conferencing, unified comms and online collaboration.

Interesting, timing wise, because a lot of conversations recently with vendors have revealed how much discontent there is with the classic web conferencing tools, such as WebEx and GoToMeeting. Indeed, I’ve had several instances of conferencing with individuals who have worked for the vendors owning those technologies who have chosen to eschew their own products and use an alternative instead!

Typical comments I get are “clunky”, “limited”, “good echo unit impersonations”, “jerky” – these are just the polite ones. And it’s not just a quality/features issue, but so many people fail to get onto the conference in the first place… So what better than to conference with PGi, using its own GlobalMeet platform – kind of a pre-test of a product simply by using it; logical or what? So, a couple of comments – firstly, it took one mouse click to connect me. No confusing options, no one struggling to connect. Secondly, PGi has taken the limitations out of a web conferencing application by re-engineering it as a platform in its own right. So, application additions can be made readily, as and when they make sense, including from 3rd parties of course, and some of my own clients spring to mind here.

The simplification is important beyond the mere convenience factor, given that a survey just published by PGi highlights that 44% of respondents rank the smartphone as their chosen device for unified communication and collaboration in the future, rather than a laptop or desktop computer, or a desktop phone, for which there has been a decline of 70% in use over the past five years for conference calls, and 55% in just the past 12 months. For the record, PC/laptop stands at 43% usage.

Not that any of this is surprising, but it reinforces the need for ease of access and flexibility in terms of device support, updates and app/application additions. When you add in how online collaboration is now really making more and more sense – for example, I carry out testing/test validations online now regularly – then, the need for something better and beyond what we have experienced to date is all too clear, something PGi seems to have grasped and acted up, so well done to them!

My online conferencing life may well be less of a misery in the future…

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