With all the technology available to us today, you can now run an interactive meeting in your pajamas, complete with audio, video and shared files.
Online chat rooms and conference phone lines are nothing new to businesses looking to offer training opportunities. However, one company has combined these options with an interactive visual element where you can share pictures, text, and even live photos of yourself with use of a webcam into an interactive meeting.
Gotomeeting.com has taken the world and made it smaller. You can now meet directly with someone on the other side of the country from the comfort of your pajamas (unless you decide to use your webcam). This tool allows you to collaborate on projects, train your team, sell products to clients, and even interview potential employees!
Allison Kohn, Public Relations Specialist, and Eric Choi, Product Marketing Manager at www.gotomeeting.com took some time out of their busy schedules to introduce me to this new software. This is the first interview I've ever held over the phone and online at the same time. I even got to see a live image of their parking lot.
Can you explain this program to me?
Eric: What you have is a combo phone program with screen chat, where you can broadcast everything to your meeting attendees. Allison can share whatever she wishes with you. Allison was presenting the interactive web tool.
What was your motivation behind this website?
Allison: It's not just a website, it's a meeting tool, meant to be an interactive service. I can change presentation services, and provide the ability to meet and collaborate together on a document. This is great for presentations, trainings, and testing products.
Eric: What's been going on in the marketplace, with the invention of the Internet, is the world has gotten smaller. A ma and pop store can have a website and compete with large, corporate companies. It leveled the playing field, every small biz can be a player. We started to see more and more players, which increased competition and led to now. You have to work 24/7. Workers have to work harder and can't waste any time on communications. Everyone has to be increasingly efficient. That's what drove the motivation.
We are starting to see everyone use web conferencing, in a matter of years, it will be just like email.
So, how easy is this software to use?
Eric: Ease of use is one of our prime differentiators. It is easy to use and cost effective, flexible. Simpler is always better.Eric and Allison walked me through a presentation of the software giving me a power point demonstration. What I learned is:
- It's easy to use. As an attendee, I did not have to download any software. I just clicked on a link they emailed me, and dialed into the conference room.
- It's fast. Just like the phone conversation, I was able to see everything they showed me in real time.
- It's flexible. They offer different options based on your needs. They have a program for up to ten participants and a different one for up to 25. For larger meetings, they offer a different service called webinars.
- It's secure and reliable. You don't have to worry about anyone "spying" on your meeting.
I was impressed how this software incorporates different learning styles: audio, visual and hands-on.
How much will this cost me?
Allison: We offer flat free pricing, which is one more thing that differentiates us. We don't charge per meeting or attendee. It's cost effective. (Find pricing info here.)
Who is using Gotomeeting?
Eric: Small to mid-size businesses are our focus. Sales is one of our key targets we are marketing to. Training and collaboration as well.
Allison: You don't have to spend a lot of money to travel. You can meet with your colleagues from anywhere.
How did the parent company get started?
Eric: It began as a start-up in Santa Barbara and was founded by a UC Santa Barbara professor who was constantly traveling, but wanted to access his computer. Gotomypc.com started. Later he created Gotoassist.com to allow the remote tech industry to access computers.Gotowebinar is our newest product and allows you to interact with thousands in a one way lecture.
Allison: I saw this company when it was a start-up at Expert City. We now have over 600 employees and have gone through a lot of change and growth, introducing new services in new markets. It's exciting. Gotomeeting, to my understanding, is the fastest growing product to date. There is a lot to be said to work from anywhere, anytime, and be able to connect to colleagues. It offers great flexibility.
Some of the features of this software include:
- You can switch the person presenting the software, which makes it easy to collaborate
- You can draw on the screen, highlight, and type text
- There is nothing to download or pre-install for attendees
- Software for presenters is quick and easy to download
- You can meet right now, or plan a meeting
- You can meet with colleagues all over the world