Fuze Meeting is an average online meeting solution. But it runs on iPad, and there the performance isn’t half bad.
You can host and participate in a meeting, which is a neat thing. Fuze Meeting offers you to enter a virtual room rather than share your desktop. So you can upload and look at files.
Fuze Meeting intro screen on the iPad
You can do a lot from your iPad. You can schedule and initiate meetings, you can invite someone while a meeting is running, and you can chat with the other attendees.
What is really neat is the chance to leave the Fuze app for a while if you need to. Returning to an already running meeting is no problem.
Find out more about Fuze Meeting for iPad on the vendor’s website.
Web conferencing solutions can be divided into two groups based on how documents are presented. Files can either be uploaded into a virtual data room on a server, converted into the tool-specific format, and then displayed. Or, they simply remain on a participant’s desktop, which is then published via desktop sharing.
The second option is more flexible because – without previous conversion – documents of any type can be accessed and edited online by multiple participants at the same time. This also means other participants’ desktops can be viewed. Of course, it is recommended that participants “clean-up” their desktops in advance!
A prerequisite to desktop sharing is that users install software locally. Most tools do not require administrator rights for implementation – simply extended port enablement. The downside: this can lead to problems in large companies with strict authorization policies. E.g. many firms block the use of third-party applications – especially if they are sourced from the Internet.
One of the great advantages of providing documents via desktop sharing is that it can be done spontaneously. When preparing a meeting it is easy to forget to upload a document well in advance, and handling the upload during a meeting is time consuming and might even be blocked by the tool. And what if the meeting goes in another direction than originally planned? Then you can react quickly and just whip out the document you need.
So when it comes to document sharing during a web conference the question is basically: server or desktop? We tend to lean towards desktop…
Some online conferencing solutions offer only one option, some offer both. But which is actually more useful?
With desktop sharing the focus is on the participants. The host invites the attendees to have a look at his desktop. This has the great advantage that quick change between documents and applications is possible and that the host can quickly search the file structure for an additional document if needed. If the entire desktop is shared, online meetings with external contacts may be a bit delicate if the entire desktop is displayed instead of selected applications. Also, a “messy” desktop or an unorderly file structure are sources of possible embarrassment. A good online conferencing solution should therefore definitely offer a screen cleaning function.
Web conferencing in virtual rooms focuses on the event. The atmosphere is not as “informal” as with desktop sharing. All participants meet in one room and have access to the same range of functionalities, e.g. presentation tools and a whiteboard. The possibilities of interaction are more restricted in a virtual room since documents must be uploaded and are often only accepted in MS Office or PDF format. Only few online conferencing solutions offer interactive handling of documents so that in most cases it is strictly watch or present.
Considering our focus on web conferencing solutions, desktop sharing definitely is the preferred option. If you think differently we would be glad to hear your thoughts.