In the briefing room: ViVu

Online collaboration is tricky business.  It means many different things to different people.

Live, from New York, it's...

Live, from New York, it's...

For some knowledge workers, it means basic screen sharing and voice communications.  For others real-time video is key.  For most, however, typically deployed tools fall somewhere in the middle, in what is often a compromise of both ease of use and functionality.  Indeed, meeting attendees must often wait while technical glitches are resolved.

The next generation of online collaboration tools probably won’t resemble what we have become used to.  In fact, the very terms “Web conference” or “video conference” imply a certain aesthetic experience that has proven itself over and over to be not quite ideal for effective online work.  Sitting in a cubicle as a slide presentation whizzes by, accompanied by a faceless narrator or attending a meeting via an elaborate telepresence setup are not the only options.  Perhaps the next wave of online collaboration solutions will provide features that encourage true knowledge sharing, be it by slide decks, desktop sharing, chat, or video.

ViVu is a company that may very well be offering one of the first of a new generation of collaboration solutions.   Their solution is a Web-based videoconferencing tool that runs without any download or installation and features video, chat, desktop sharing, and the ability to share slide presentations.  The system is quite easy-to-use and the interface is clean and responsive and presents the user with modules that can be rearranged and resized on the screen.  Such functionality is quite useful; the video feed can be reduced to a small size and the presentation slides enlarged when necessary, or the slide deck minimized completely if the focus has shifted to the video feed.   Allowing the user to control his environment enables fine tuning that helps ensure sharp focus and maximum effectiveness.

The system scales from small meetings to large conference-style events.  ViVu is available as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) or as an on-site deployment that keeps sensitive information behind the firewall.

Cody Burke is a senior analyst at Basex.

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