David vs Goliath clash on web communication technologies

The Internet continues to expand, evolve and develop. Born as a technology out of a military requirement, Arpanet, the ubiquitous nature of the Internet has meant that mankind has developed all kinds of uses for this communication medium. I sometimes think what would happen, if one day we woke up and found that the Internet was gone. The Internet has managed to permeate and touch our lives unlike no other technology. We are increasingly becoming more and more reliant on it to satisfy our insatiable urge for knowledge and entertainment. We can now, even watch our favourite television programmes across the Internet and stream our favourite programmes across continents ourselves using technologies, such as the Slingbox.

For this blog, as with most of my articles, I won’t reinvent the wheel, and as always will use existing web related resources, wherever, possible. In today’s blog, I am aiming to:

  1. De-mystify web conferencing, webinars, teleconferencing and video conferencing.
  2. Provide a list of web conferencing/webinar solutions/teleconferencing/video conferencing for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and larger businesses.
  3. Provide further resources/reviews for informed decision making.
  4. Explain the difference between web conferencing/webinars and teleconferencing.
  5. Explain the benefits and features of online meeting software.

One of the problems that bloggers like me and indeed the general public/businesses are facing these days is the old adage, big fish, eat small fish. The IT solution arena, faced with global competition and diminishing returns, a desire by the big players to have monopolies etc has led to the IT market undergoing significant reshuffle and consolidation. This has led to a great deal of confusion on who owns who, especially if you are not actively following the IT industry. For the uninitiated and for the benefit of everyone, the Internet infrastructure is already largely managed by Cisco routers. To provide Cisco with competition in this arena and to strengthen its other networking products, last week HP purchased 3Com.

Let’s stick with the theme in the previous paragraph. Within the web conferencing, webinar, teleconferencing and video conferencing solutions, the demarcation of what now signifies a particular solution is becoming blurred as they all seem to be morphing together, so in the not too distant future, what this morphed technology will become and be called, is open to speculation. This thought is further strengthened by the acquisition of WebEx by Cisco in 2007 and the recent offer in October, this year, of video conferencing solution provider, Tandberg ( UPDATE – This offer, incidentally, has been upped again in November). Within the video conferencing arena, telepresence, has been touted as the next killer application, although while gaining some ground within larger corporates, it hasn’t really taken off. That may change with Polycom’s new telepresence solution. Polycom has created a clever alliance with Microsoft by licensing its technology, thereby protecting its position. As Tandberg bites the dust, in this David vs Goliath battle, so far the Goliath’s seem to have the upper hand as these solutions move into the lucrative world of Smartphones.

Best solutions for SMEs

Dimdim (Recently acquired by Salesforce – 2011) is free for up to twenty users as a hosted solution and free for upto 50 users if a business hosts it on its own servers. I was quite impressed with their clever use of YouTube for their tutorial videos. One site that I visited levied some criticism of its features and I was quite pleasantly surprised to view the first comment submitted was by one of their employees informing the reviewer that his criticism had been submitted to the developers for further investigation. I predict that Dimdim is the web conferencing platform to watch for and should very soon be giving the big players a run for their money.

Yugma is my next free solution and is free for up to 20 people as well. Again, Dimdim and Yugma are the rising stars of the web conferencing world and both offer Pro versions for businesses.

For teleconferencing, I haven’t been able to find many solutions (I admit, I was researching web conference solutions in more detail) but having used BT MeetMe in the past, I believe it is available cost effectively for SMEs. Skype, does allow for upto 25 users to have a teleconferencing call across the Internet FREE but be wary of the possible loss of quality on calls. Skype Video conferencing (requires a web camera) and is currently limited to a one to one session.

Best solutions for larger businesses

It is worth reading Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for web conferencing 2009 2011, prior to making any decisions as it is a great in depth report and to view a comparison of the top ten (In their view). For other reviews, please click on the following: Review 1, Review 2.

For larger businesses the names that are most recognised are (in no particular order), WebEx MeetMeNow, Microsoft’s Office Live Meeting, Citrix GoToMeeting, Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro, Fuze Meeting, Intercall, iLinc, MegaMeeting, Glance, WiredRed e/pop, Zoho Meeting, Elluminate Live, IBM Lotus Sametime, Unyte Meeting, PGi Netspoke webconferencing, and others.

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About mubbisherahmed
I am passionate about IT and its ability to deliver cost effective, value for money solutions that can enhance performance and in many cases provide competitive advantage by using a range of solutions and approaches in innovative ways.

7 Responses to David vs Goliath clash on web communication technologies

  1. hp mini 210 says:

    I love this site layout ! How did you make it? It is so nice!

  2. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good. I don’t know who you are but definitely you are going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

    • mubbisherahmed says:

      Hi,

      You brought a smile to my face as your comment was one of the most unique, entertaining and aspirational comments that I have ever received. I loved the way that you narrated your short story about eventually stumbling across my blog.

      Thanks for viewing me as a potentially famous blogger as well. I haven’t quite made it yet and will keep working towards that goal and eventual accolade. I am grateful that you took the time to leave your thoughts.

      If you would like to connect with me (I certainly would – Please quote your email address on social media channels if you would like to connect so that I can recognise you), the details are at the bottom of the following page (Who am I):

      https://mubbisherahmed.wordpress.com/who-am-i/

      Mubbisher Ahmed

  3. I create a comment whenever I appreciate a article on a site or I have something to contribute to the discussion.
    Usually it is triggered by the passion communicated in the article I
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    Engaged IT for the CIO. I was moved enough to
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