I recently received an email from AnyMeeting informing me of "a big change coming soon to AnyMeeting." The message said that beginning later in October, "all of our customers will access AnyMeeting directly from the AnyMeeting App and not through our website."
The change applies to presenters and hosts rather than attendees, who can still join via a download-free browser link. The AnyMeeting team points out the following set of advantages for presenters made possible after downloading and installing the client software on their computers:
- A smoother experience, with no more "Allow" prompts
- Improved audio quality
- A more streamlined screen sharing experience, with no need to install a screen sharing plugin
- Access the full Account Manager experience directly from your desktop
I understand the reasoning behind the decision. Security prompts are at a minimum distracting, and sometimes downright confusing (the Adobe Flash security popup includes several tabs and multiple controls, which can be overwhelming for a neophyte). Building software as a browser-based application leaves vendors vulnerable to changes in web browser versions, Java versions, and Flash versions -- All of which change more frequently than operating systems. Screen sharing almost always requires some form of local software code in order to run smoothly. And the Adobe Flash Player has come under fire for several years as a potential security threat vector, to the point where some organizations ban its use on employee computers.
But I find it informative that the once-trumpeted competitive differentiator from longtime industry stalwarts such as WebEx or GoToWebinar turned out not to be such a panacea after all. AnyMeeting is going to need to update their public FAQ page on their website, which as I compose this post still says:
It seems that "annoying downloads" may have been the lesser of evils after all when it comes to web conferencing!