Why can’t you be like all the other tools? – Voxwire and its shortcomings

Voxwire is a basically good online conferencing solution. The user interface is very well-structured and all the basic functionalities are included. But during our tests we were disappointed. And here is why:

  • If you want to activate application sharing you have to install a software, which is a common practice. However, Voxwire demands that you close your browser after the installation, which means you have to leave the meeting and reenter again.
  • File sharing is not as easy as it sounds since the tool makes it hard for you find and understand the function.
  • After all our testing we still don’t know how a meeting can be ended. You can close your browser window, but the meeting continues.

Even though Voxwire shows a lot of promise the online collaboration tool seems reluctant to reveal its functionalities. The basis is good though, and we believe that the next version could greatly improve with some minor changes.

Read the whole evaluation.

Online conferences with Meeting Efficiency™

We took another look at Meeting Efficiency, even though it is not in our testing focus in that it is no web conferencing solution. This time we sat through an entire day of training to really learn every aspect of the tool. Now, why do we even bother?

Well, we value software that actually helps users accomplish something, be it organizing a conference spread over continents or “simply” organizing a meeting as such. Anybody who has ever faced this task will know that it is hard work. What do we need to discuss? Where should we start? How do we prioritize the single issues? Who will take care of the protocol? How do the meeting attendees get access to the protocol? That is enough to make an overworked secretary jump out the window...

Meetings are hard work and require a lot of thought from those who plan them. And this is where Meeting Efficiency comes in because all that thought has already been included in the software. Meeting Efficiency is not a tool to organize documents and create timetables, but rather helps you define goals, shift priorities during the meeting, and create a protocol while you are discussing.

Meeting Efficiency divides a meeting into four phases:

1)    Preparation
2)    The meeting itself
3)    Documentation
4)    Communication

For every phase the software offers tools that actually lead the user towards reaching a concrete goal. And since Meeting Efficiency allows users to enter information while the meeting is in progress, the protocol pretty much takes care of itself. As a bonus the software will create diagrams and presentations so that the attendees will get the results in a visually appealing form.

But the software is not only of benefit to meeting host. Every participant will get more out of a meeting. When it comes to web conferencing, Meeting Efficiency will help create more concrete results for all participants since the information is structured very clearly and the diagrams and status screens are intuitive. So whenever the host shows his screen the participants can easily see at what stage of the meeting they are, what will be discussed next, and what priority the upcoming topic has.

Meeting Efficiency is no web-application but rather has to be installed on the meeting host’s own computer. But with a good web conferencing solution that at least offers screen sharing the information will be available to everyone.

How we evaluate security of web conferencing solutions

As little as you want someone to read your letter labeled “classified” you certainly do not want anybody to have access to a presentation you are giving on your company’s new product release via web conferencing.

So security is an important issue when it comes to online collaboration, and the question is: Are the documents and the information I share transmitted securely? We have taken this issue into account from the very beginning. After analyzing the security issue again, we found that we can shift our evaluation criteria a bit.

So far we rated the security of a web conferencing tool by looking at the software-specific security features on a higher-ranking level and then the meeting-specific security features, counting them into the overall results at a 50% – 50% ratio. As our analysis has shown, online conferencing software itself is standardly very secure. It is the meeting specific security – often adjustable to a certain degree by the meeting host – that weighs in more heavily, which is why we now adopted a 30% – 70% ratio.

To give a concrete example this means that a 128 bit SSL encoding and a meeting specific ID increases a tool's security score.

Many thanks to all the users that have expressed their concerns regarding the security of web conferencing software. We always like to hear your comments on online collaboration, so please keep ‘em coming.