TurboMeeting collaboration adds enterprise features

Want to add more faces to your video conference?

RHUB Communications Inc. has added the ability to put four live video feeds on screen in version 4.2 of TurboMeeting, the software for its Web-based collaboration appliance.

The previous version only supported one video feed at each end of a session.

It’s one of a number of new features added including integration with Microsoft Outlook, optional high availability backup, seminar registration before meetings, seminar polling and advanced LDAP directory integration.

These are “the kind of features enterprises have asked us for because we’re starting to see our products getting into bigger organizations,” said Larry Dorie, CEO of the little-known company.

RHUB is an in-premise solution with a hardware-based appliance that competes against both installed and online Web collaboration offerings including Microsoft Office Live Communications Server, Cisco Systems Inc.’s WebX, Citrix GoToMeeting, Oracle Corp.’s Beehive, IBM Corp.’s Lotus Sametime and a number solutions from other startups.

However, Dorie said RHUB aims to be more than a video conferencing application. The next major software release will include audio conferencing, he said. “With that, we believe we will consider ourselves a collaboration hub” built around the ability for participants to share a presenter’s screen.

“We don’t consider ourselves a videoconferencing solution,” Dorie said. We believe the Web cam adds a social aspect to a meeting, but the real heart of the meeting is being able to share screen information.”

RHUB was created in 2005. “One of the things we thought was a problem with other technologies is you have to do a download to join a meeting,” Dorie said. But many things can cause a download to fail. “If the important people can’t make it into the meeting, the meeting doesn’t work, he said.”

RHUB users only need to download software to interact during a meeting.

The other feature of the company’s approach was to build a platform that would act like hosted software but have the security benefits of an on-premise app.

For the first time the San Jose, Calif. company is releasing an update simultaneously on the PC and Apple Macintosh platforms.

RHUB makes six standard TurboMeeting appliances, ranging from the US$995 TM-200, which can handle two meeting rooms and 10 concurrent uses, to the rack-mounted TM-1000, which handles 50 meeting rooms and 200 concurrent users.

There are also two other models that handle remote support.


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