iMeet - from Concept to Realty:
Your next conference call invitation could go like this, 'join me in my iMeet room' and the meeting location, well, is just a web browser address.
Would you agree the most pressing challenge in bringing teams together across town or the globe is often team relationships? But not for PGi, the global leader in virtual meetings, who has recently introduced iMeet. The virtual meeting tool was invented by PGi CEO and Founder, Boland Jones, but influenced by anthropologists, 20 years in the business and, most importantly, PGi employees, including SVP Collaboration Technology Services Peter Stewart who showed me around the product. Peter describes iMeet as 'the next wave of video conferencing'.
No mystery behind why anyone would not use video meetings. The broad usage of social networking sites combined with newer technologies like iMeet give users another level of social collaboration. In iMeet, users have the advantages of a face-to-face live setting, exchanging information and getting to know one another. Because of the high cost of fuel to travel to a client site, virtual meetings are less costly and save meeting time.
In an interview on Bloomberg TV, Boland Jones stated that "The U.S. has an established business culture using conference calling and online meetings. Other countries are starting to utilize online meetings and reaping the benefits of increased productivity and reduced travel costs."
Because PGi originally started in the teleconferencing business, its integrated voice platform now combined with video is quite versatile and robust.
Collaborative Group Meetings – Up Close and Personal:
Hosts can set the stage for collaborative group meetings in different ways. Personalize the meeting room with pre-loaded cityscapes or create your own custom theme with your company logo. Ask guests to send files to your iMeet room for presentation and file sharing. You'll have an iMeet address that delivers the files directly to you.
Project kickoff meetings are often done in a virtual setting and provide advantages to introduce team members. The group chat widget also helps others get accustomed to the collaborative group.
Everyone gets a cube, too. The cube is a rectangular container that houses your video image and emits a green aura when you're speaking. For registered participants, the cube is an individual's persona of personal information, including pictures, a placeholder to access files and web addresses, as well as system settings that follows you from meeting to meeting. Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Flickr profiles may be shared and allow individuals to post bios for others to view inside a participant's cube.
Another level of collaboration not usually talked about is group note taking, but at PGi, this is a best practice. For brainstorming and sharing ideas, meeting guests are encouraged to jot down and tag notes in the Room Notes widget. The collection of notes can be uploaded to a file, emailed to recipients, or dropped into Evernote, a partner site that is popular for collecting and storing notes. With Evernote, participants can simultaneously contribute to a "virtual notebook" that can be referenced at any time, on any device.
iMeet is available on a monthly subscription basis. Corporate rates are available based on number of iMeet rooms.
In my iMeet hosted by PGi participants, when the meeting ended, everyone waved goodbye. It was almost sad to see the meeting end. The iMeet room met our expectations of the next best thing to being there.
Appealing to Broad Market of Users:
For virtual meeting hosts, you can easily meet with a group of 15 people at a time at no charge, although the company is planning to extend this capability in the near future to many more guests. Its other flagship product, GlobalMeet®, serves up to 125 participants at a time in an online meeting and several hundred at a time when meeting on the phone. Various roles have demonstrated to be a natural fit for iMeet.
Recruiters. Since iMeet allows the host to conduct face-to-face virtual meetings, the format offers a cost effective solution for recruiters and human resource departments. Conducting virtual meetings without the extra expense of flying in candidates can help boost recruiting cycles and provide more opportunities to screen candidates.
Sales and Marketing Executives. The ability to get more meetings, make a connection via virtual meeting, and reduce interruption to the client or prospect will surely help sales and marketing executives utilize iMeet in the sales process.
Project Teams. Telecommuters working at home require virtual meetings to keep in synch as well as build better relationships and outcomes. In some instances, remote teams on a global scale may not otherwise meet.
Healthcare Remote Counseling. Usage in the healthcare field for professional to patient relationships provides new opportunities to administer levels of care not required through office visits. In some instances, iMeet may provide access to patients not able to get to a healthcare facility and saves time.
System Requirements and Advantages:
When you review a technology product, the most basic questions turn to system requirements. PGi's iMeet is integrated with audio and video capabilities that require only the latest version of Flash to optimize the virtual meeting experience.
Webcam is your video component and easy to use to join a virtual meeting. Newer computers have a web camera built in. But the benefits outweigh the costs to own a webcam and are portable to move around the office or for home office use.
To schedule meetings, iMeet facilitates sending requests directly from the meeting platform. Your personal iMeet web address is all you need to send to participants. The iMeet tool has capabilities to integrate with Microsoft Outlook, which sits on the toolbar to send meeting invitations or an Outlook calendar request.
Mobile apps are available for the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. iMeet works through all the industry standard browsers. To function best for iMeet, connect over WiFi.
iMeet offers various phone choices, including your computer phone if you're using VoIP, other phone, like a mobile or land line, or choosing one of several local access numbers provided by PGi.