As a technology editor, online collaboration software has long since become an essential part of my professional toolkit.
In the good old days (ten years ago, say), companies with new products typically visited in person to conduct their carefully orchestrated demonstrations. Now, meetings of this sortdemos, sales conferences, training sessions, etc.can be conducted without anyone having to get on an airplane, using interactive Internet technology that supports such communications activities as desktop/application sharing, whiteboarding, video broadcast, instant messaging, and audio- (and sometimes video-) conferencing.
This week, Citrix Online announced that the latest edition of its collaboration product, GoToMeetingand its one-to-many sibling, GoToWebinarnow incorporate free voice over IP conferencing capability, for both PC and Macintosh users.
"Our goal at Citrix Online has always been to develop the simplest and easiest-to-use Web solutions, which is extremely important to our SMB customers," said Elizabeth Cholawsky, vice president, products and services for Citrix Online. "With these newest releases of GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar, every feature is based on extensive user feedback, from full Macintosh access to this new total audio solution."
GoToMeeting supports groups of up to 25 interactive participants, whereas GoToWebinar supports as many as 1,000 'attendees,' with more uni-directional communications. Both products continue to support traditional phone connectivity along side the new VoIP capabilities.
Citrix implemented the new VoIP integration with the SMB market (rather than technology editors) in mind, and analysts seem to feel they got it right.
"With collaboration products, ease of use is critical, especially for SMBs," said Mark Levitt, vice president for collaborative computing at research firm IDC. "Citrix Online's one-click access to VoIP and traditional phone connections for both PC and Mac users is designed to give growing businesses one easy-to-use interface for a rich combination of popular tools that are easy to manage and afford."
"There's a sizable market in the SMB community for fully integrated Web conferencing solutions that offer one-click meetings with free VoIP capabilities, and that's what these tools from Citrix Online offer," said Roopam Jain, principal analyst with Frost & Sullivan North America. "With enhanced features, free VoIP, and user-friendly capabilities, Citrix Online is further raising the bar."