Our team here at HicksNewMedia has grown significantly in the past few months. We’ve got contributing authors, business development and graphic design team members spread across the United States. That’s a great problem to have.
The challenge lies in getting everyone online for team collaborative meetings and planning sessions.
There are a number of high dollar tools and services that many of the large enterprise companies use, but keep in mind – we’re the definitive stealth startup headquartered here in little old Roseville, California !!!
That being said, it was necessary to find tools and resources that were not only scalable and reliable, but also cost-effective.
As a framework, we’ve standardized on Google Apps which allows us to install various applications within the Google Apps Marketplace for everything from calendar sharing, task management, and collaborative audio and video meeting tools.
One such tool that we’re currently evaluating is AnyMeeting.
Out-the-box, AnyMeeting allows you to have 6-way video conferencing, screen sharing, and up to 200 audio conference call attendees.
What’s really sweet about AnyMeeting is that they are cross-platform. So we Mac folk can easily collaborate with Windows folk. That’s a big thing for me since AnyMeeting realizes that it’s a diverse world of computing out there and not everyone uses the same OS platform.
The ability to plan meetings, send invites, create registrations and sell tickets to your meetings is also awesome. This is going to great when we start holding specialized “closed door” type sessions and want to charge for attendance.
There is also social media integration allowing you to take advantage of both Facebook and Twitter to promote and link to your meetings.
The other very cool thing about AnyMeeting is that you can record and archive you meetings. Don’t take that for granted. Having the ability to re-purpose audio and video content online is incredibly valuable.
If there is one thing that I don’t like as much is the fact that AnyMeeting is ad supported, so there are Google AdSense type ads that display across your window as you’re hosting a meeting. You can get rid of the ads by stepping up and purchasing one of their upgrade options – so for as little as $18 per month you can get zero ads BUT only 25 attendees (instead of the 200 with the ad supported version???) See the graphic below for the various pricing options:
As I mentioned, we’re continuing to evaluate AnyMeeting and it’s usability across the team, but thus far I’m liking the functionality and the ease of use. Even though we utilize AnyMeeting within Google Apps, that’s not a requirement. You should check them out here.