Citrix managed to put out three separate press releases today announcing a new product configuration in their "GoTo" lineup. GoToWebinar is supposed to be available on June 30. This could shake things up in the webinar software world. Citrix has done very nicely in establishing name brand recognition with GoToMyPC and GoToMeeting (they also have GoToAssist, but it's more of a niche product and doesn't have the same mass market publicity push behind it).
I don't concentrate on the collaborative meeting products as much as enterprise webinar software. But I just recently did a brief survey of "quick 'n easy" meeting software for a business colleague and found that GoToMeeting really does emerge in the top ranks of viable solutions for this space. I have watched public webinars given with the GoToMeeting software and haven't been overly impressed. Sure, they work... You can see the screen of the presenter. But the product was never really designed for that market, and the interface for both presenters and audience members is lacking in true webinar functionality.
This introduction is obviously designed to fill that hole in the product lineup. I haven't seen a full list of features or screen shots yet, but the press release mentions obvious requirements for serious webinar use:
- Full-service registration with real-time reports
- Customized branding of webinar materials and automated e-mail templates
- Attendee polling and survey capability
- Webinar dashboard to monitor audiences
- Easy controls for quickly changing presenters
In an interesting add-on, the company has formed a strategic alliance with BT Conferencing for integrated toll-free audio dial in. The companies will bundle 6,000 minutes of domestic toll-free audio conferencing usage with a new GoToWebinar contract.
Citrix has made a point of pitching the speed and ease of establishing an online meeting connection with GoToMeeting. They also pitch price as a selling point. The new GoToWebinar software will be sold on an unlimited usage basis with a flat monthly charge. That's becoming a lot more common these days in the enterprise hosted service world. If Citrix really does manage to bring in a solution that is cheaper, easier, and "good enough" to support serious large attendance events, it will give WebEx, Microsoft, Raindance, Centra, and the other big boys something new to think about!
On a personal note, I hope Citrix comes out with some new radio spots to go along with the product launch. I listen to the comedy channel on XM Radio and it seems like I hear a GoToMeeting spot every ten minutes. Nice saturation buy, Citrix, but could you mix things up a little and give us some variety in the ads?
I'll be reporting back as soon as I can get my hands on the new product.
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