San Jose, CA (PressExposure) September 07, 2009 -- Most people will concede that the Internet has had major effects on the travel industry. But they often think only of the way they can now instantly purchase airline tickets without a middleman (the travel agent), check in and verify flight times and reservations.
Those who need to collaborate across the country (or across the world), though, realize that online meetings and Webinars have had just as substantial effect. Web-based services such as WebEx and GoToMeeting have allowed meetings to happen with attendees in separate cities.
In recent months, a company called RHUB has added a new wrinkle that makes these online meetings and presentations even more cost-effective. The company introduced the RHUB 4-in-1Web Conferencing & Remote Support Appliance. I'll refer to it as TurboMeeting, which is the name of the software that runs the appliance.
The difference between the standard Web-meeting services and TurboMeeting is that TurboMeeting runs on a stand-alone box, called an appliance, about the same size as your home router, which connects the attendees directly. Connect the RHUB appliance to the Internet; then log into the appliance to host a meeting, attend a meeting that somebody else is hosting, or even connect to another computer to check for problems or do training.
The traditional Web-meeting services can do these things already, so what's the benefit of using RHUB? It can do all of these things in a single service without any monthly fee. While Citrix, for instance, offers GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, GoToAssist to do different remote meeting activities, it charges separate monthly fees for each that could be hundreds of dollars a month. So an investment in TurboMeeting, as little as $995, can pay back in a few months.
This makes TurboMeeting a unique solution for small companies, training departments, sales forces who sell in multicity territories, and anybody who does a significant amount of computer or software support when the participants are in different buildings.
When I first got to test TurboMeeting, I was unimpressed. It looked a lot like the more traditional services, but didn't perform as well, being difficult to set up and locking up too often. But RHUB introduced an upgraded TurboMeeting software in May, and that made all the difference in the world. Now, TurboMeeting is stable, fast and actually fun to use. I have two monitors on my system, and TurboMeeting allows me to share either monitor with the other meeting attendees, or show them both monitors at the same time.
Meetings take seconds to start up -- even if you hadn't arranged the meeting in advance. It also allows you to hold multiple meetings simultaneously, which can be a real advantage, especially pricewise. A GoToWebinar account from Citrix costs $99 monthly and allows you to hold only a single meeting at a time. The entry level RHUB appliance with TurboMeeting allows two concurrent meetings and the biggest RHUB appliance allows 200 concurrent meetings with up to 2,000 attendees.
One of the unique aspects of TurboMeeting and the RHUB appliance is its upgradability. The smallest appliance can be upgraded online.
RHUB appliances open up lots of opportunities for companies. Support departments can hold simultaneous support sessions, where the support representatives can log into users' computers to see what the problems are, then minutes later allow an interactive training session with 10 trainees. It provides meeting flexibility that the larger Web meeting services don't provide for the price that a small business can afford. And it grows as the needs grow. It is available at www.rhubcom.com.