Over the last couple of months my time has been spent testing different online meeting solutions. We’re looking to launch an online support groups for young people. While the idea of getting young people online to join a group sounds easy it’s actually a lot harder than it sounds.
I’ve done many tests on around 10-15 different options and while there are many out there, it’s been really hard to find a solution that meets 100% of our needs.
Here are some of my requirements:
- High level of security – I want to make sure that we can offer a safe environment for young people and our staff. So, we require a high level of security which gives me the ability to control who enters our group, record our sessions and also be able to export out chat history.
- Features – We require some basic features such as Chat, keynote share, video share etc and some other advanced features such as a multiuser whiteboard, file sharing and maybe some other add ons to really help us deliver out content.
- Branding - While adding our own logo to the meeting room is important branding goes a lot deeper than just adding a logo. We want to make the room look really attractive to young people to help keep them focused while they are in the meeting room.
- Good connection- We’ve all had bad experiences with Skype or iChat video and sound dropping in and out while we’re trying to talk to our loved ones. We know that this will probably happen a little but we want to make sure that we get the best connection thats available to us.
On my first day on the job I spent a lot of my time googling and trying to find some unknown meeting solutions and I stumbled upon Adobe Connect. After arranging a demo and completing a trail I was really impressed with the product so when it came to finalizing a couple different solutions it was top of my list. Connect has the majority of features we require but the real negative seems to be that if we want to have a multi user whiteboard then we have to give each user the presenter right which isn’t good enough.
While adobe connect would be a great starting point for our online groups, I sometime question the level of customer support that adobe can offer us. I brought a month license of adobe connect from their website and it looked and worked ok until I realized I didn’t have all the features I expected it to have. After 3 days (it really was nearly 3 days) on the phone to adobe they still couldn’t deal with my issue. If they had a better standard of customer service it would be a no brainer.
I stumbled upon Click meeting pretty late and my initially I was very excited to finally find a product that was marked up at a reasonable price, had all the features we needed but was also very easy to use.
My first test with click meeting went really well and I became really excited but that excitement didn’t last too long. What I’ve found through test all these different options is that while it works really well with just one or two people it really struggles when there’s more than 3 people. In fact Click meeting was the worst software once we had 5 people using it at one time. There was a huge delays which really slowed things down.
One of the first options we looked at was Digital Samba. We were really excited about this product but we later found out that it really lacked a handful of basic features which we required. After a few months I noticed that there had been an update so I decided to give it another go and I was pleasantly surprised when the features I desired had been added. After testing for a while we decided to move forward with Digital Samba.
Have you ever used any of the above softwares? What do you think are some key important aspects for taking youth work online?