Review: Nefsis Video Conferencing - Page 2

By Sean Michael Kerner
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File Sharing with Nefsis

Video conferencing alone is great, but to get the full benefit of online collaboration, a small business is likely to want to share documents as well.

Appropriately enough, you'll find document sharing options under the Nefsis sharing tab. We opened a standard Microsoft Word doc, which opened and displayed across the connected conferencing computers. Unfortunately, the sharing feature isn't a collaborative editing feature inside of the actual Word doc itself. Instead, it has an "annotation" feature that lets you overlay words on top. If you're used to collaborative editing (Sharepoint or otherwise), this isn't an ideal feature.

document sharing; video conferencing
The document sharing feature isn’t s versatile as we'd like, but its annotation feature lets you overlay words on top.
(Click for larger image)

That said, Nefsis does have Desktop and Application sharing features, so you could just open up Word and share via the application or desktop rather than use the share document feature. It's not a major issue, but it is something to be aware of during usage.

Nefsis also offers an interesting take on desktop sharing with what it calls "Region" sharing. There are times when you don't want to share an entire desktop, and that's where Region comes into play. The Region sharing option lets you share just a specific area (or region) of your screen.

Other sharing options include text chat, though it's not directly integrated with the participant panel. You can't simply click the user's name as you can on other Web conferencing services like Cisco's WebEx. Rather it requires the admin to activate a chat with a user by clicking the chat button at the top of the client interface. Again, that's a minor thing and probably won't people who aren't used to WebEx.

Nefsis really shines when it comes to sharing other media; the system easily lets you share video and audio files across the video conference with excellent quality.

It's also important to remember that there are many different reasons to use video conferencing. Sometimes you might want to try and collaborate by sharing content files and other media. Then may be times when you just want to talk and simply use the video elements.

Nefsis lets the administrator customize the layout of the client screen to meet those different use cases. It offers layouts for video or share only, as well as layouts for webinars. One screen does not fit all, and Nefsis realizes and provides for those instances.

Is Nefsis Right for You?

Small business owners can choose from a number of companies and services when it comes to video conferencing solutions and, in most cases, Nefsis should be one of them.

Both Cisco's WebEx and Citrix GoToMeeting (and to some degree Skype) all offer competing services. One of the big differences between those services and Nefsis is that Nefsis currently only supports Windows PC. Nefsis does provide a workaround for Mac users that involves running Windows emulation on Mac, but it's not a native application.

That means if you've got Apple Mac OS X or mobile users (Windows Phone, Blackberry, Android or iPhone), Nefsis may not necessarily be the right solution for you. Collaboration only makes sense when you can connect to the users you need to collaborate with.

For Windows users without mobile needs, Nefsis offers a relatively easy setup and lots of control on the video side. While the document sharing feature isn't as collaborative as we like, the sharing and collaboration features can still benefit small businesses. The control and setup of conferencing though the administration interface is also complemented with reporting features about service usage.

Pricing, Sort Of

So how much will Nefsis cost you? Pricing is somewhat of a mystery. The basic two-person version of Nefsis is free, though the online service called, Nefisis Professional doesn't list standard pricing on the website. Instead it simply states, "Custom - Get Quote."

When Small Business Computing asked Nefsis about pricing, a spokesperson said that she was unable even to give a range. She noted that Nefsis pricing is, "… comparable to other solutions, comes with a free trial and interested companies can seek a quote based on usage, needs and users."

You can get a free trial of Nefsis, and decide if this is a video conferencing solution that fits your small business.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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This article was originally published on September 08, 2011
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