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Virtual Collaboration Software

Jan Jasper

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I do one-on-one software training. I'm getting inquiries from around the country, so I want to do this virtually. I need some way to show the client step-by-step what to do -- just like I do when sitting beside them at their desk. They'd dial into a virtual workspace where they'd watch me demonstrate on my computer and meanwhile we'd talk on the phone. I need something like Placeware but less expensive. I'm looking for a solution other than PC Anywhere. Any ideas?

-- Rich Saldan

www.paltalk.com just might be what you need for your long-distance training sessions!

-- Dave Paradi

I was recently on the client end of this type of training. I was very impressed by the software they were using, called WebDemo, from Linktivity (www.linktivity.com). It looks like they have a package called WebDemo Hosted where you can pay under $200 for three months of usage for up to 3 people on the session at a time.

-- Kathy Dexter

Look into Webex services. Very reasonable cost and very easy to use. www.webex.com

-- Nanette Miner

One of my clients does this with THEIR clients to train the clients on their proprietary software. They use Go To My PC and have reported no issues with it. www.gotomypc.com

-- Joanne Fritz

Birchwood Communications is a great alternative to Placeware (now owned by Microsoft). Jay and Nancy Benkovich are the owners. Reach them at: www.birchwoodgroup.com, Birchwood Group, 201/35-6047, jay@birchwoodgroup.com.

-- Stu McLaren

Recently I came across a *wonderful* service -- www.glance.net -- that allows people to view your computer screen. It really is a powerful tool for providing lessons over the Internet. All you need to do is set up a bridge line that they can call into and give them your password. Once they login you can begin the lesson over the Internet.

It's a subscription-based service which you pay on a monthly plan. It is reasonably cheap when you consider you can use the service unlimited times.

-- Dave Balch

I've not actually used this service, but it may be worth a look. www.SeeMyScreen.com

-- Peggy Duncan

I have a strategic partner who is expert in conducting Web training. I'm adjunct faculty for her company and get to use and sell space in her WebBased Conference Center. It's powered by WebEx, the ultimate in WebConferencing. www.webex.com

You could also check out Qarbon at www.qarbon.com. It's really cool software that allows you to make little "movies" of software steps. I downloaded it when it was in the free trial stage. The Pro version is $499. It's easy to use, but I never took the time really learn it well. They have online classes to teach you how to use it which I might take.

-- Mitch Krayton

Use Timbuktu software. There are Mac and PC clients so you can either watch or control your client's computer, or they can watch you do things on your computer. You can have multiple people log in at one time and you can turn them on or off to different parts of the presentation as you need to. Get it from Netopia (www.netopia.com).

-- Patricia Beelby

Windows XP lets you share desktops and even take over someone else's computer. You both need to have it.

-- Noel McNaughton

The best one I know of is voiceNow (www.voicenow.com), which gives VOIP (telephone quality) plus a push browser. A five-person room with a push browser is $349.95 US per year for unlimited use. Anything you want to show with the browser has to be on a Web site, but anything on a Web site (except on a secure site) can be shown with the browser. For online instruction you might want to create lessons with PowerPoint or some other A/V tool, and upload them to your site.

-- Anne Johnson

DJ Watson passed this on to me. I do a lot of one-on-one consulting and training. I purchased a software package that works pretty well if you have a high-end machine -- Web Demo from Linktivity. The price is pretty steep about $1500 for 5 seats, but is much less than Placeware or Webex and you own it. Contact Sonia Thompson at Spartaware (800/846-9726 x318) and tell her I sent you.

Web Demo is pretty good if you and your client both have broadband access, however, it will still work adequately on dial-up. I have used it with a number of clients for troubleshooting as well as training. You can not only allow people to view your desktop...you can get permission from them to view their desktop like PC Anywhere. There are also a number of other great features.

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