SAN DIEGO--At DemoFall 09 here Tuesday morning, one theme quickly emerged: new applications for collaborative video meetings.
First, Hewlett-Packard introduced its Skyroom videoconferencing application for PCs. But in my opinion, the better answer is Fuze Box's Fuze Meeting. This is a nice application for the iPhone or BlackBerry that allows multiple users to conduct multimedia meetings via their mobile devices.
It's designed to make it possible to add participants easily and quickly from various social-networking services' friends lists--like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter--to a real-time meeting session.
Like Skyroom, Fuze Meeting allows users to have high-definition meetings--on the iPhone, that requires having OS 3.0.
Once a meeting is initiated, users can share a wide range of media with each other, including PowerPoint presentations, business documents, 3D geospatial maps, photos, video, and more. In addition, any URLs used in a meeting can be posted, with one click, onto Facebook or Twitter for wide dissemination.
What's nice about Fuze Meeting is that it seems to provide a simple way to get multiple people together, regardless of where they are, and have a quick meeting where they can all share many different kinds of content. To be sure, this is not likely to be a company's only way to have online meetings for remote employees, but given its ease of use and the fact that it allows the sharing of rich media across popular mobile devices, it seems like something that a lot of people may use.
It's also got a major advantage over HP's Skyroom, which is limited to being used behind a single corporate firewall. I liked Skyroom's technology--though it seemed to have many similarities to Apple's long-available iChat AV software--in particular because it offered the ability to share rich media, including real-time video.
But Skyroom's behind-the-firewall limitations seem unnecessary, and Fuze Meeting proves it.
This post was updated with correct information about requirements for Fuze Meeting on the iPhone.