We just had a couple of wild weeks in the wonderful, wacky world of webinars. I thought I would rapidly recap some of the stories that various vendors found exciting enough to promote publicly. As always, you can find links to press releases and relevant news stories/articles on my website at www.webinarnews.info.
The biggest story was the acquisition of iLinc by BroadSoft. I have finally seen the purported purchase price. According to a story on The Motley Fool, BroadSoft paid only $2.4 million. That is lower than I would have guessed.
Mobile meetings are on the minds of many manufacturers. Citrix announced a GoToMeeting App for use on Android smartphones and mobile devices. And omNovia announced “Web Conference Mobile” for iOS (iPhone/iPad) devices to complement its previous support for Flash on Android. Meanwhile, MediaPlatform was the first vendor to formally support Flash webcasting to iPad users via HTTP Live Streaming (HLS).
A new post on the Adobe Connect Blog is promoting Connect’s flexibility and ease of integration with third party systems and customer-specific custom applications. They are trying to make people more aware of Connect’s open API for systems integration, its ability to run custom-made Flash applications inside of web meetings, and of course the September-mandated statement of support for mobile devices such as Apple iOS, Android, and Blackberry.
Several vendors have also announced support for easy access and smooth playback of YouTube videos inside web meetings. The idea is to run the video directly off the YouTube server for all attendees to watch synchronously, rather than requiring you to download the Flash video file from YouTube and upload it to the web conference room. I just saw this capability demonstrated in Adobe Connect yesterday. PresenterNet put out their press release about the functionality this week, while omNovia recently updated their YouTube search and playback integration.
Onstream and MediaPlatform partnered up to create a services and technology bundle for clients wanting to deliver high quality video webcasts. Glowpoint and TalkPoint are similarly working together to highlight video webcasting for the legal industry. And Thomson Reuters is using ZiXi ZCS as the underlying transport technology for its video webcasts.
The collaborative peer-level web conferencing market continues to expand offerings while competing on price. We saw announcements from newcomer Merit Network with its Merit WebConnect service, Impress Meeting with its HD video conferencing offering, Zip Conferencing with a new version of its web conferencing solution, Banckle Online Meeting with a plugin for OpenSUSE and Fedora Linux systems, join.me with an update to its screen sharing conference system, and yet another new entry in the field from Vidquik with a free one-to-one video/web conference service.
Yowza! I’ll just add anecdotally that demand for webinar support and services seems to be very high as we move into the Fall. Everyone is trying to hit that magic window between the end of Summer vacations and the start of the holiday craziness. Prepare for an onslaught of webinar invitations in your inbox and stiff competition for audience time and attention if you are a webinar host.