Small businesses may appreciate the benefits of Web-based meetings, but they don’t appreciate the costs (often in the tens of thousands) associated with the bellwether services from companies such as WebEx and Microsoft.
Once the domain of big business, Web-based conferencing is now within the reach of smaller companies. If you’re looking for a way to interact with customers and business partners over the Internet, Convoq, a Lexington, Mass.-based provider of communication and collaboration services, has a more affordable option you may want to consider.
ASAP Pro 2.0, which was announced yesterday, starts at less than $250 a year and its features have expanded to further tap the power of presence-enabled technology (in fact, ASAP stands for “as soon as present.”)
The star of ASAP Pro 2.0 is what Convoq calls ASAP Links. In addition to inviting people to attend a meeting using e-mails or instant messages, Steve Clark, vice president of marketing at Convoq, said ASAP Links allows a user to embed presence-enabled links and publish them on Web sites and blogs.
“Collaborative meetings can’t always be scheduled. They must occur as the business situation demands,” said David Marshak, senior vice president and senior consultant at Patricia Seybold Group Inc. “With the introduction of ASAP Pro 2.0 and ASAP Links, Convoq extends its leadership in ad hoc meeting convocation.”
However, in addition to the enhancing the ad hoc nature of Web-based meetings, ASAP Links are combined with new scheduling features that make ASAP Pro 2.0 equally adept at both impromptu and planned meetings. “We were best in class in initiating ad hoc meetings, but we fell short in scheduled meeting and presentation management.”
Clark said that ASAP Pro 2.0 also allows user to switch among multiple Microsoft PowerPoint presentations. “You can jump back and forth between. In 1.0, you were limited to a single presentation.”
Clark said that ASAP Links makes possible the concept of “live selling.” For example, a customer who has access to a salesperson’s presence-enabled link through an e-mail or Web page could request information or a presentation in real-time. Or, using what Convoq describes as ASAP Personal Links, that rep can build closer ties to clients by embedding presence-enabled links in an e-mail signature file. When a customer sees that the rep is available, she could click on the link and request an immediate online meeting.
Companies can also use ASAP Lifeline Links to let customers, partners and other individuals click to meet with role-based experts. A Lifeline Link, for example, published on company’s Web site would allow a visitor to click to meet with an appropriate representative as soon as that person is present for a live, on-demoand product demonstration or presentation.
Other features of ASAP include Outlook integration, allowing you to send meeting invitations that can be added directly to Outlook calendars; firewall-friendly participation with no registrations or downloads; application sharing; support for video and VoIP; and SSL encryption.
ASAP Pro 2.0 is available immediately for $249.95 per year, per named-user license, which allows an individual to hold unlimited meeting for up to 15 people.
For larger organizations, ASAP Conference Room is sold on a floating license basis for $2,495 a year for unlimited meetings of up to 50 people and $4,995 per year for unlimited meetings of up to 100 people.
Article appeared originally on InstantMessagingPlanet.com.