Cool Looking Product: WiredRed Software's e/pop Web Conferencing
By: Isaac Hillson
A significant product came to the enterprise conferencing market in December. WiredRed's (www.wiredred.com) e/pop Web Conferencing with multi-party video is feature-laden, but its nicest feature may be the upfront, flat-fee pricing structure. We had the opportunity to chat with founder and CEO Allen Drennan about the new offering, over a web conference, of course.
If WiredRed sounds familiar even though their conferencing product was just announced, it's because they've been in the enterprise instant messaging business for almost five years now. In fact, the fourth generation of their IM product will be out this year. The conferencing offering is sold completely separate from its messaging counterpart.
Allen assures us that the web-conferencing solution can be installed in approximately five minutes by a network or IT administrator. It works independently of any shared DLLs, third-party databases, or web servers. No SQL or Oracle server is required. The client side interface is not Java-based. According to him, the majority of conferencing customers prefer a browser applet.
There was remarkable fluidity in the 20 frame-per-second video. The setup included a connection from WiredRed's office in San Diego, to the company's East Coast server, and then back to my remote location in the Midwest. Not to mention my wireless laptop connection, which could be categorized as "adequate" at best. WiredRed also has a West Coast server.
"It was important to us not to set limits on the way users think or interact with a conferencing application. e/pop follows the MS Office 2003 model, allowing both host and attendees to customize their interface to their preferences. And unlike some other offerings, the interface doesn't look like it was designed in 1996," says Drennan.
Both the client and host apps can be easily customized. The host can instantaneously toggle between any app running on the host computer. Allen gave us a nice tour of his Windows desktop with no delays and then flipped us back to the slide show presentation.
WiredRed capitalizes on the nature of most corporate customer's infrastructure; namely that enterprises usually have a high-performance and real-time global network. Within the enterprise, software is installed on each desktop and on the server, allowing the host to see the availability of potential attendees in real time.
Pricing is no mystery either. Customers pay in advance for yearly licenses based on maximum number of simultaneous users (a license for 25 users would allow a 10-person conference to take place at the same time as a 15-person conference). The upfront pricing is nice because it eliminates the dreaded "surprise usage bill" and is easy to budget. And unlike per-minute usage plans, it encourages employees to conference.
e/pop Web Conferencing street pricing starts at $2,995/year for up to five concurrent users; and $4,900/ year for up to 10 concurrent users. Volume and educational discounts are available.
The software has a free trial available on their website.
The Mitch Fox Box: Hire Greg Masley
This month Ray and his particular friend Sally heard from this highly qualified job seeker.
I am a Microsoft and Novell certified computer support network engineer with 12 years experience who just moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado to be closer to my 6 and 5 year old daughters. I am interested in full-time, part-time, contract and consulting work in computer support in Southern Colorado. Gregory J. Masley CNE, CNA, MCSE.
To see Gregory's full resume: http://www.commweb.com/gmasley
To nominate yourself or a friend for inclusion here, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Avaya Introduces Big New SOHO IP Comm System
By: Jennifer Tomaro
Avaya (www.avaya.com) recently announced a new communication system for small, home and branch offices. The Avaya IP Office - Small Office Edition is for up to 28 users and includes built-in firewall for network security, Internet access, wireless connectivity, advanced messaging capabilities and three-way calling - all in a small unit managed from a connected computer.
In conjunction with the launch, Avaya has announced that American Express Business Finance will provide business leasing solutions for the platform, including a special 36-month 0% financing option for qualifying business owners for buys $2,000 or greater through March 15, 2004. So hurry if you're interested.
Avaya painted a few likely scenarios for the IP Office - Small Office Edition:
A small gift shop can serve its customers better by letting its employees forward calls to their mobile phones or home telephones, using the "call priority" and "call forwarding" features.
Executives working from home can connect the Avaya system into a cable modem, get the same telephony and Internet access functions available at headquarters, and make sure that only business-related calls ring on the business line.
Insurance agents in the field can connect to their head office's communication network via public WiFi hot spots or wireless LAN networks installed in their branch offices to file up-to-the-minute reports.
The unit's dimensions are about the size of an 8" X 11" ream of paper. Set up is done through a Windows wizard.
Avaya says a firm can use its existing analog, digital, or wireless phones to connect the system by cable modem, digital subscriber line, wireless, or via the standard telephone network.
It runs on Avaya's new software release, IP Office 2.0. This software brings new capabilities to the entire IP Office product family including increased capacity to 360 users and wizard capability for faster and easier installation, adds, moves and changes.
"When it comes to communications, small and medium businesses are looking for technology solutions that not only come with a return on investment, but can enable their business to flourish," said Dave Johnson, group vice president for Avaya's small and medium business solutions group.
"With the IP Office - Small Office Edition, Avaya is delivering the functions and features that can give home, small and branch offices a key to growth and profitability, at a price that's not out of their reach." Avaya IP Office - Small Office Edition has a list price starting at $1,900.
CommWeb has already put in a request for a review unit. Looks like a fun little system.
Packing A Predictive Dialing Punch
By: Issac Hillson
Users of Artisoft's (www.artisoft.com) TeleVantage phone system have some new tools at their disposal. Digisoft's (www.digisoft.com) Telescript 5.5 predictive dialer and Calltrol's (www.calltrol.com) Object Telephony Server have been integrated with TeleVantage in the new Call Center Server offering. It will be available through each company's respective distribution channels.
Those who need to piggyback predictive dialing on their TeleVantage phone system should find this welcome news. All functions of the system will be available on a single server and can be managed from a single console. Current TeleVantage users will use their existing hardware and software.
"It would be difficult to cost justify multiple boxes when Digisoft and Artisoft can solve most customer needs with a single server," notes Rob Black, Product Marketing Manager of Artisoft.
That makes sense to us. So does the concept of the Knowledge Agent Center, which this offering seems well groomed for. See Blair's feature starting on page 29.