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Video conferencing brings desktop VoIP, app sharing

Voice, video and Web conferencing vendor Genesys adds desktop VoIP and enhanced application sharing to its collaboration lineup.

Genesys Conferencing will soon up its multimedia and collaboration ante with the latest release of its integrated voice, video and Web service, the Genesys Meeting Center.

Although there is so far no exact date when the fourth generation of the enterprise-class conferencing suite will hit the streets, executives from Genesys said that this time they've rolled in a host of new services bound to take voice, video and Web collaboration to the next level.

Tony Terranova, vice president of product marketing at Genesys, said the latest Genesys Meeting Center will feature desktop VoIP, new customization tools and deeper enterprise integration. The latest version is also based on an all-new architecture.

Essentially, Genesys Meeting Center lets the moderator deliver presentations, share documents and applications in real time, and take participants on guided Web tours with point-and-click commands. Real-time surveys and polls of participants are also available for feedback, and any meeting can be recorded for later playback.

The new architecture is AJAX-based. Meeting initiation requires only a single download, and no participant downloads are needed. Users can also customize their user interface.

According to Terranova, users can join audio portions of the meeting via any combination of VoIP, PSTN, SIP or streaming media. In addition, version 4.0 now features desktop VoIP, which lets participants connect to the audio portion of a meeting from anywhere with Internet access using secure, low-bandwidth and firewall-friendly proprietary desktop VoIP.

Other new features include enhanced application sharing; content annotation; in-meeting invite, which allows invites via instant message or email with one mouse click; participant registration; multiple audio break-out rooms; and a new meeting launcher that alerts users that a meeting is about to begin with "start" and "join" messages.

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Cliff Lathouwers, senior IT director for Amadeus, a global information supplier to the transportation industry, said his company has been using Genesys for about a year and has had it fully deployed since January. The company uses Genesys to run voice, video and Web conferences to present 90-minute training sessions to its customer base.

Lathouwers said the conferencing tool eases the financial and geographical burden of classroom meetings, which used to be the only way Amadeus conducted training.

"Now, we're really able to focus and key in on certain areas of interest," he said.

Amadeus uses the application share to push apps to participants. It also uses the multilingual invite function to invite participants who speak a language other than English.

Since Genesys was first used to conduct meetings, Lathouwers said, the number of meeting participants has gone through the roof.

"Participation in our meetings has gone up dramatically," he said. "In the first six months, 3,000 people used it."

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