Thursday, September 27, 2007

Microsoft's Live Meeting

To use Microsoft Live Meeting, you just need a computer, a phone, and an Internet connection. The product is designed to accommodate small or large groups, and supports meetings with up to 2500 participants. Live Meeting is a hosted solution, meaning you don't buy any software to install on your own desktop or server. Microsoft Live Meeting is offered in two versions: Standard and Professional. The Standard version includes all the features of the Professional version except: meeting recording, remote desktop control, and printing and handouts.

Live Meeting has all the standard features of other web conferencing offerings, some of which are described below. It is, as you would expect, integrated with Microsoft Outlook, so you can schedule meetings right from the familiar Outlook calendar.

Live meeting lets you share your desktop and the applications you have there. All your meeting attendees can see the mouse movements you initiate and whatever you input via the keyboard. You are also able to share only a portion of your desktop, if you so choose. It is integrated with Powerpoint - the Powerpoint Viewer provides total support for transitions and animations. In fact, visuals of any type, commonly used document types, applications, or Web pages can be shared.

The Document Viewer allows importing any type of document that can be printed, and the meeting administrator can choose to "save" the documents shown in the meeting, so the attendees can go back and reference them after the meeting is over.

The Remote Control feature (available in the Professional version only) lets the presenter pass control of their desktop to any attendee at the meeting. In addition, the Remote Assistance function lets the presenter initiate sharing on a participant's desktop - with their permission. Live Meeting includes a number of interactive tools that presenters can use to enhance the meeting experience. The whiteboard is a blank page that the presenter can draw on, add text to, and highlight portions of by using the provided annotation tools. The text slide function presents a blank page that the presenter can type on to and share. The Web slide function ( I like this one) lets you take your attendees to any live Web page. Each attendee "gets" a separate copy of the page and can use the page independently.

If you want to get some instant feedback from your attendees, you can use the Polls functionality in Live Meeting. Polls can be prepared ahead of time and presented (or not) under the control of the administrator of the meeting.

Finally, the Question Manager function lets you handle questions from the audience without disrupting the entire meeting. If one person is busy presenting, another can be designated as the question manager, and make the answers to any questions received available only to the question-asker, or to the entire audience.

In summary, Microsoft’s Live Meeting stacks up well against the other products reviewed so far by this writer, and is definitely worth looking at it if you're about to choose a web conferencing provider.

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1 comment:

Hilbert V said...

That's a Good info..! It would be more useful, if you could make some screen shots for illustration..!
Hope you do that in your next Post..! :-)