WebEx Meetings: Seasonable scope of functionalities with similar look & feel

WebEx Meetings is Cisco’s new online collaboration tool and will eventually come to replace the current WebEx Meeting Center. The introduction to the market happened without great ado which is a bit strange since the software has a lot to offer. So what is new about WebEx Meetings?
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Latency in data transfer is a huge issue in online meetings

A week ago we became a registered Cisco partner – after unsuccessfully trying back in 2009 – and were quite happy about this. We needed some help for details regarding the creation of WebEx trial account links and were invited to a web conference with Cisco partner support – naturally via WebEx Meeting Center. We had an online meeting from our office in Frankfurt, Germany with a US-based representative and after further evaluation with a Cisco European Partner Advisor professional based in Portugal.

In both cases we were amazed to see that during screen sharing there was a latency of up to 5 seconds at some points! This naturally made communication a bit complicated since we needed to jump between lots of web pages on Cisco's Partner Central extranet and never knew what the Cisco service desk was currently seeing.
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HD video and our top-ranking online meeting solutions

Citrix, Adobe and Cisco: Three of the biggest online meeting solutions vendors have now integrated video functionality into their solutions. We checked them out and here is what we found:

All three tools offer not only video but rather HD video. And yes, the quality is very impressive. Citrix GoToMeeting limits the number of webcam participants to 6 unlike Cisco WebEx which allows up to 500 participants or Adobe Connect 8 where you have no restrictions at all. But as always bigger isn’t necessarily better. One downside of a video conference with let us say 20 participants is that you will need a lot of bandwidth to really get that HD quality. And with every new participant that joins the webcams on display just get smaller and smaller. Now we haven’t tried it with 20 participants ourselves but it probably is hard to see who is actually speaking.
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Cisco WebEx Meeting Center 8.5 skyrockets to number two

After Cisco had announced to no longer offer new WebEx MeetMeNow subscriptions, we evaluated their online meeting solution WebEx Meeting Center, which is now available in version 8.5. This tool offers a broad variety of functions and can thus be applied in numerous cases. However, by offering more features the complexity of the tool has grown as well and makes usage less simple and intuitive.

WebEx MeetMeNow versus WebEx Meeting Center

We received a comment from Robert and we thought we should share our perspective on the topic with you.

Feedback from Robert:

[...]Kind of ridiculous when comparing these web collaboration solutions to leave out the dominant market share leader - WebEx Meeting Center Pro. The MeetMeNow product is just the company's cheap answer to lowest cost solutions for home office use. Yes the cost is higher for the market-leading WebEx product, but the solution is in another league in most respects too.[...]

Our perspective:
The website focuses on web conferencing solutions targeted to freelancers and small companies. Therefore, we decided to select software solutions that fit best the requirements for these target groups. If we review software solutions in the league of WebEx Meeting Center Pro we should assess Adobe Connect Pro (but not Adobe Connect), Citrix GoToMeeting Corporate (but not Citrix GoToMeeting), Elluminate Live! (but not Elluminate vRoom), iLinc or Interwise in order to be consistent.

If you are interested in hearing about the test results for WebEx Meeting Center, please go to our Enterprise solutions web page.