News, Insights and Stories from the Australian and New Zealand tech ecosystem.

Will Citrix’s GoToMeeting make Skype video calls redundant?

Having a board meeting in your pyjama pants just got a whole lot easier. GoToMeeting Free is a browser-based online meeting tool which allows up to three users to logon to a private video conference session.

The big drawcard? It requires no signup, costs nothing and is entirely web-based. Users simply need a Chrome or Firefox browser to use the tool which can also be accessed on some modern Android devices.

They log onto the site, click to start a video session and then provided with a personalised link which they can copy and send to a colleague or friend. Once clicked, the users can see each other via their webcams. Not functional enough? There’s also file sharing capabilities in the latest version of the tool.

Lindsay Brown who is the Regional Director of APAC, Citrix SaaS Division explains that the idea originally came from wanting their customers to be able to work in any way they wished and from any location.

This idea was driven in accordance with the fact that business collaboration needs are different and sometimes a premium or expensive product is not required for ‘on the fly’ type activity.

Being free, this tool is likely to take off as the word of it spreads. Currently customers across Australia, New Zealand, and Asia have been experimenting with GoToMeeting Free and are discovering different  ways to work with the tool. Most commonly, it is being used for three kinds of interactions: one-on-one catch up meetings, the ‘I need to show you something’ meeting and the ‘should we work together’ meeting.

Brown says that they made the tool free for a very good reason. GoToMeeting Free caters for a specific type of meeting – as in it is only suitable up to a point. “We want to invest in our customers’ workspaces in the hope that when the need arises, in turn they will invest back in us,” says Brown.

“GoToMeeting Free is a way  for our customers to get familiar with the GoToMeeting format whilst still enjoying a business grade  product for video communication.”

With Australia’s backwards internet speeds, GoToMeeting would likely face some lag issues. Brown disagrees with this however and says that as Australia’s internet connections improve, so too will the software which run on them.

“Certain remote areas are bound to struggle with any internet based service,” he says. Another challenge he has encountered in developing GoToMeeting Free involves the minor issue of user accessibility.  GoToMeeting Free takes advantage of the latest, standards based (W3C) HTML5 browser functionality currently only available in Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. As other browsers update, GoToMeeting Free should become even more accessible to the masses.

Brown says that the goal behind GoToMeeting Free is to make it stand out from consumer video chat tools like Google Hangouts and Skype. There are also plans for additional functionalities in the future versions.

Users can give GoToMeeting Free a try on Chrome or Firefox.

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