Hardware and Software 3.15. Web Conferencing and Collaboration

Web conferencing is a combination of Instant Messaging and desktop sharing. In a Web conference, you connect to other parties and “share” your desktop with them while also sending instant messages or Voice over Internet. The great benefit of Web conferencing is that it allows people to work on the same project without having to be in the same place.

Web collaboration software allows you to share documents, schedules, and other important enterprise or project information across several distant users. Some services allow you to share desktops, but the goal of collaboration software is to make documents available to users and track changes.

3.15.1. WebEx


Web conferencing enables you to chat, talk, or video conference with people at different locations around the world while sharing your desktop or computer workspace with them. You can work on files, graphics, and give presentations without fancy video conferencing software and big phone bills.

The first and best Web conferencing solution is WebEx, which allows you to conduct Web meetings through your browser. You can pay per use or purchase a business multi-user subscription for $375 per month (it is $75 a month for each additional user) or an unlimited single user subscription for $39 per month.

WebEx WebOffice Workgroup is a collaboration suite that allows people to collaborate on projects and assignments through the Web. The suite includes shared calendars, live meetings (through WebEx), shared database, document sharing and tracking software, and also includes WebEx email, a group hosted online email service designed for businesses rather than for individual users.

3.15.2. GoToMeeting


GoToMeeting is a Web-based meeting and collaboration software solution. You can schedule meetings, perform live demos, and collaborate on documents in real time. You can purchase unlimited use on a monthly ($49 per month) or an annual ($468 per year) basis.

3.15.3. Mr. Web Office


Mr. Web Office is a Web-based collaboration tool with over 300,000 users. The software suite includes

  • Document management, collaboration, and tracking
  • Shared online calendars
  • Task manager which allows you to assign and track tasks across the collaborative group
  • Discussion forums
  • Database manager which allows you to collaborate on databases
  • Contact directories
  • Expense reports
  • Opinion polls

Pricing ranges from $20 per month (one user and 100 MB storage) to $2,500 per month (for corporations: 500 users and 10 GB of storage).

3.15.4. HyperOffice


Hyperoffice is a Web-based collaboration and intranet software solution with professional email, document sharing, document storage, document collaboration, document versioning, project management, shared calendars, and contact management tools. Designed primarily for medium- and large-sized business, HyperOffice does have hosted solutions more appropriate for small businesses, as well. Prices range from $45 per month (5 users, 500 MB storage) to $1,500 per month (250 users, 25 GB storage).

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