I received an email today from Patrick Thomas in Munich announcing the launch of teamslide by telepark. A quick note to my grammar-checking readers... both teamslide and telepark are branded as lowercase words, even at the beginning of a sentence. I'm following their example, although I HATE that marketing trick! It makes all my copy look wrong. And this from a country where common nouns take capital letters all the time in the native language. Maybe that's why they branded it that way... It stands out from normal capitalization in a sentence. Anyway, I digress. Back to the news.
teamslide is a very simple and inexpensive way to show PowerPoint slides to one or more viewers over a web browser. You use a PowerPoint plug-in to convert your slides to a set of JPG image files. These are zipped and uploaded to a server. Then the teamslide presentation wrapper lets you step forward and backward through the images as web pages. You have the ability to send out invitations to email addresses to have participants join you in the meeting space through a URL.
The company's website says it is designed to handle a typical viewing audience of 5 participants, although they have peak-load tested it to 20 people at a time. The advantages are obviously that participants can be on most common browsers and don't have to download viewing software. The interface is as simple as one can get. The disadvantages are non-support for PowerPoint animations and slide transitions.
This software obviously isn't meant to compete with full interactive webinar software packages. There is no audience Q&A facility, no polling, no annotating slides, no registration pages, and so on. I'd say the analogy is closer to instant messaging in the text world. If you need to share some graphical information quickly, this lets you kick your stuff out to a small audience in real time. I didn't have a chance to try out the conversion and upload process, so I don't know how long it takes. It seems to me that for this kind of application, the speed of getting the information from PowerPoint to the server for viewing would be a prime concern.
At a glance, I'd say telepark has to worry about competition from the companies pursuing integrated web collaboration with web conferencing, IM, and calendaring functionality. If those companies make an easy way to include PowerPoint slides in with their IM wrappers, teamslide will have a tough time as an independent entry in the field.
The company sells you the software in packaged numbers of seats (how many presenters can show slides). One presenter costs $99, while a 10-pack costs $799. The software is yours once you install it -- no restrictions on number of slides or presentations. The company also sell support and update packages on a monthly basis.
You can see a demo of the software online.
Good luck, Patrick!