David, Goliath and WebRTC

Lenovo X-1-Carbon Frontal-GotoMeetingFreeThe WebRTC movement is certainly gathering steam. World+Dog are now running along side that train, hoping to jump on and play with all the cool kids. It’s a fast moving train. Late comers may have a tough time getting on-board. When they do get aboard they may find that the best seats are already taken.

This opinion arises from a stream of chatter surrounding larger companies that are starting to play in WebRTC space. While it’s nice to see larger players starting to engage, I have a difficulty getting enthused about what they’ve actually done.

For example, Citrix having launched into beta a free video chat application under its GotoMeeting brand. I was a GotoMeeting user from their earliest days. I argued with my employer about the value that was to be found in the $49/mo they asked for the service. He initially balked at $600/yr, but eventually succumb when it became evident that I could save considerable travel expense by leveraging remote access for ad hoc customer support. Some years later that company actually adopted GotoAssist, which is an outstanding service.

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Language Evolves, But Some People Are just Sloppy With It

A lot of offers drop into my email inbox. Sometimes companies are trying to sell me stuff. Quite often they want me to join in on their free “webinar!” I’ve made no secret of the fact that I hate the word “webinar.” It’s an abomination.

Over the years I’ve used Citrix GotoMeeting quite a lot. It’s a bit scary to think of how long I’ve paid them their monthly pound of flesh, but the service has truly changed my life. It allows me to perform remote support and maintenance processes without physically travelling to the customer site. When Citrix later offered GotoManage, a service more optimized around remote admin functions, my employer adopted it company-wide.

So, you see, I’m open to the use of such services…but I despise the way the language is warping around their use. “Webinars” don’t typically happen on the web. They happen online. You may access a web site into order to get into the session, but they don’t actually occur on the web. If they occurred on the web there’d be no installable applet involved. It would all happen inside the web browser with no plug-in required. It would all happen over HTTP.

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Citrix GotoMeeting Trialing HD, But Not Where It Counts

GotoMeeting-Hates-HDVoice I’ve been a customer of GotoMeeting for many years. I’ve used the service largely as a means to gain remote access to customers systems for the purpose of remote maintenance and diagnostics. I was driven to its use by the ABC group of stations, whose corporate network is seriously locked down. Since then my employer has become an avid user of their GotoAssist product, which is actually better suited to our activities.

We have also used GotoMeeting for its more traditional purpose of making online presentations.  Since our staff are distributed around the US and UK it’s been a handy platform for giving presentations. At $50/mo the cost/benefit balance of the service is very good. It lets use do more while travelling less, which is a win/win combination.

Early in our use of GotoMeeting we tried to use the voice conferencing facet of the service. However, at that time we found it wanting. Call quality was extremely variable, never very good. Thus we adopted the habit of using GotoMeeting for the presentation/desktop sharing, but a separate conference bridge to handle voice calls.

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Citrix Online Chooses GIPS Technologies

g2m_logoThere are few things that have improved my personal quality of life as much as Citrix® GotoMeeting® service. Before I signed up for GotoMeeting®, way back in 2004, I was spending a lot more time on airplanes visiting customer sites to troubleshoot problems.  These days most problems we can troubleshoot remotely. It’s both faster and less costly.

As GotoMeeting® has evolved they tied in an audio conferencing service, presumably a partner that provided the service through their own facilities. I tried using this a couple of times but the call quality was not great. It seemed typical of some of the lesser free conference services. So for the longest time we used a separate conference bridge, even though GotoMeeting® offered an attached service.

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