WebEx, Genesys enhance conferencing services

Two Web conferencing service providers, WebEx Communications Inc. and Genesys SA, separately are updating their applications to offer more features.

WebEx of San Jose, Calif., is expected to announce Monday a new version of its offering that targets sales teams pitching potential clients. The service features an experts database that lets a sales representative find and invite subject experts into a conferencing call, integration with CRM systems for one-click launch to connect with a client, and the ability to share private notes and chat with other sales members during a call.

The company simplified the user interface the client sees to help keep attention focused on the pitch itself. An attention indicator is available to the presenter to help ensure the audience is still listening. Other common WebEx tools are also included, such as Webcam video integration and the ability to share rich-media presentations. A customized portal is available for the salesperson that gives clients a central place to find information. The portal will alert the sales representative whenever someone visits and downloads material.

Pricing tops out at US$250 per month per seat with unlimited usage.

Genesys of Reston, Va., this week unveiled version 3.0 of its Media Center Web conferencing service. Version 3.0 features a new Desktop Meeting Launcher application, which lets users start a meeting via an icon in the Windows system tray. For those that want to just share the application they’re currently working in, Genesys has added Xpress Meeting, which launches the application-sharing functionality without the need to open a browser and log in to the service. Any application running on a Windows desktop can be shared, says Tony Terranova, vice-president of marketing at Genesys.

Genesys has also made a number of improvements to the user interface, including the ability to synchronize users listed in the participant window. In previous versions, a user that called into the audio bridge and logged onto the Web presentation was listed twice. Now the two listings can be “synchronized” into one, cleaning up some of the clutter.

The company is targeting its service at enterprise customers and private-labeling it to various telcos. Genesys sells Meeting Center under a “Multimedia Minute” pricing model, where audio, Web, data and video (six-frames-per-second talking head) are all included in one price. If you’re on an audio-only call, there’s no added fee to use the Web conferencing piece. A Multimedia Minute can be had for as little as eight cents per user. Both WebEx and Genesys compete with the likes of Microsoft Office Live Meeting, NetSpoke and Macromedia Breeze (which just began offering by-the-call pricing).