Citrix's GoToMeeting platform has long played an important role for small businesses, offering them a robust online meeting service that doesn't require spending a lot of money. It has also been an attractive solution for firms with lean technology resources. "Small business owners often lack the kind of technical support that big companies do," says William Lau, principal product marketing manager at Citrix.
Even for companies without a team of IT specialists, Lau says, "GoToMeeting has traditionally been very easy to use, very reliable, and very dependable." The Citrix team kept the evolving needs of small business customers in mind when they developed the latest GoToMeeting release, which includes a suite of new and updated features.
GoToMeeting Sports a New Look for Windows
One of the major updates is the complete redesign of the Windows app. "If you come into GoToMeeting on a Windows PC, as either an attendee or an organizer, you'll see a totally re-imagined look and feel," says Lau. Other changes include a slicker, more modern feel, along with improved visual cues and buttons around the platform's key features—including audio and video controls and screen-share options. "Those very easy-to-find buttons are commonly associated with online meetings," Lau explains.
The recent redesign includes a sleeker interface that's even easier to navigate.
Move Between Devices Mid-meeting
Citrix's internal research revealed that today's small business professionals typically rely on at least five devices to do their work. Between a bevy of desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones, people increasingly want to move from one device to another, while remaining involved in an active meeting session. "We recognized that trend and introduced a handoff feature that leverages the power of the Apple ecosystem," says Lau.
Now people can start a meeting on one device—an iPhone, for example—and then transition to another without missing a beat. "You can imagine that feature becoming very useful to any professional, especially small business owners on the go," says Lau. "They start a meeting in the car, and when they reach the office they can jump straight to their Mac desktop to continue the meeting." For businesses that don't have a spare administrative assistant available to help move the meeting from one device to another, this will be a welcome feature.
Consistency Across the GoToMeeting Platform
Because businesses increasingly rely on mobile devices, Lau says the team focused on bringing the various applications together under one design umbrella. "We consistently and regularly align our design between all our platforms," he explains. From Apple to Android, the GoToMeeting solution provides "a consistency in the ease-of-use and the experience across different devices." The mobile environment continues to be a high priority for Citrix, and Lau says the company continues to invest in making its apps even better going forward.
Start a meeting on one Apple device and switch to another, without losing your place.
Meetings Without Software
Another feature you'll find in the latest release of GoToMeeting is called Instant Join, which was originally introduced in the previous version of the platform just a few months ago. Customer feedback indicated that they wanted to join meetings as quickly as possible. Instant Join is available directly through the Chrome browser and, Lau says, "You don't actually need to download any application or any software at all. You come straight into a live meeting in progress through Chrome, and you can conduct your business right away."
Build Your Small Business Brand
The recent redesign even offers small businesses a new way to extend their brand. Lau describes the new feature—called GoToMeet.me—as a personal meeting room, where meeting organizers can create a custom URL for their events. "You can make the URL your first name, your last name, or your company name," he explains. "The first thing that greets your attendees is a personal, branded page." It's one more way that the updated GoToMeeting platform helps small businesses expand their sphere of influence and present a more professional face across the Web.
Citirx offers a free 30-day trial so you can try before you buy. Monthly plans start at $39, but small businesses with limited online meeting needs may be interested in the free plan, which includes screen sharing and supports up to three attendees.
Julie Knudson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in technology magazines including BizTech, Processor, and For The Record. She has covered technology issues for publications in other industries, from foodservice to insurance, and she also writes a recurring column in Integrated Systems Contractor magazine.
|Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!|