MeetingBurner on Tuesday entered public beta with a new Web conferencing service -- now available free of charge to groups ranging from small to huge -- which will compete with the likes of GoToMeeting, Adobe Connect, and Cisco's WebEx.
Offered entirely free of charge while still in beta, MeetingBurner's online meeting and Webinar platform brings advantages over its rivals that include speed, simplicity, social networking, and audience analytics, contended John Rydell, co-founder of the start-up, in a briefing for NotebookReview.com.
During a demo, Rydell showed off a number of features of the new ad-free conferencing service, including "Meeting Temperature Report," an analytics capability that lets Web conference participants rate their levels of interest throughout a presentation.
Presenters can later view the "hottest 30 seconds" and "coldest 30 seconds" of a meeting if they want to make the next meeting more compelling (or less boring) for the audience.
Unlike some other Web conferencing services, MeetingBurner doesn't require a download of special conferencing software, although Adobe Flash Player 9 is needed.
Connect to a meeting in less than 10 seconds
Through an easy-to-use, browser-enabled MeetingBurner dashboard, users can connect to a meeting, schedule a meeting, view past meetings, set up new meetings, and share meetings with others.
In the hands-on session, I connected to a MeetingBurner session in less than 10 seconds. In contrast, this process takes about twice as long with GoToMeeting, Adobe Connect, and WebEx, and three times as long with enterprise-oriented services from "big boys" such as Microsoft and IBM, he contended.
Groups can personalize their conferences with custom "branding." The Web conferencing platform also features integration with Youtube video and Skype text messaging, for instance. By clicking on a "record" button, you can record YouTube videos as a conference for sharing across social media such as FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and email.
MeetingBurner, though, is not a multi-camera video conferencing service along the lines of Tinychat or Tango, for example. It uses only one camera at a time, and that camera focuses on the presenter.
For the most part, however, users only want to look at the presenter, Rydell maintained.
Beyond "Meeting Temperature Report," MeetingBurner provides analytics that let presenters see numbers of attendees, click throughs, and contact requests, as well as view where meeting attendees are located on a map.
MeetingBurner is built on Amazon Web Services, for scalability to 10,000 users or more through "phone bridges in a cloud," he said.
'Freemium' pricing model
MeetingBurner had been in private beta since February of this year. After completion of the public beta, plans call for adopting what Rydell calls a "Freemium" pricing model. Most services will remain free, but MeetingBurner will start charging for still to be determined "Premium" services,
In contrast, Adobe Connect touts unlimited meeting sizes. The Adobe Service, however, costs $49 per month after a 30-day free trial. WebEx is priced at $49, following a 14-day free trial, and it only supports conferences of up to 25 users.
GoToMeeting costs $99 to $499 monthly, following a 30-day free trial, and supports meetings of up to 1,000 people. Other rivals include Fuze Meeting, Join.me, and the free Anymeeting service, which supports up to 200 meeting participants. None of these other services, though, include built-in conference analytics, Rydell said.
To take part in the public beta, go to the MeetingBurner Web site and use the code 'MBTT'.
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