Web Conferencing Choices on the Rise - Page 3

By Jacqueline Emigh | Posted Jan 14, 2003
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Collaboration "Growing Like Wildfire"

Collaboration is another driver behind Web conferencing. "Collaboration is growing like wildfire, and all collaborative technologies are starting to find a home," according to Alexander.

The top four players according to Frost & Sullivan's numbers are WebEx, PlaceWare, Raindance and Genesys, in that order. All four focus on Web conferencing as a hosted service. PlaceWare also produces bundled hardware and software products for use on corporate intranets.

Some organizations are turning to hosted services for external as well as internal purposes. Burr Wolf, a tax software and consulting firm, relies on WebEx's services for performing customer software demos and support functions. In addition, WebEx is used internally "whenever presentations from Microsoft Office are part of the content of a meeting," said Chuck Harris, Burr Wolf's executive VP and former CTO.

Other collaborative tools deployed internally at Burr Wolf include Salesforce.com ("for knowledge-based information sharing") and Microsoft's NetMeeting, Instant Messenger, and Outlook software.

Yet some large enterprises, particularly in the financial services industry, are using hosted services for public-facing Web conferences only, Alexander observed. In the interests of privacy and security, these organizations opt instead for commercially available Web conferencing products for hosting their own internal Web conferencing sessions. "They don't want any of their data to leave the company," he elaborated.

"The Web conferencing software market is growing, too, but not as fast as services," according to Alexander. Aside from Microsoft, makers of popular software products for Web conferencing include IBM/Lotus, Latitude, Interwise, Centra, Spectel, and Sonexis, to name a few. Most of the software products can also be obtained as managed services, either direct from the vendor or through third-party partners.

IDC's latest numbers give WebEx the lead for Web conferencing applications (at 20.7 percent), followed by Lotus Sametime (18 percent), PlaceWare and Centra (tied at 10.6 percent each), Latitude (7.9 percent), and "other" (32 percent).

Page 4: App Sharing, Whiteboarding, Audioconferencing

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