InterCall Inc. (Booth 724) has formed a strategic partnership with Microsoft Corp. to offer integrated conferencing communications for businesses. Conference Place is co-branded as an InterCall Web conferencing solution, powered by Microsoft Office Live Meeting.
InterCall’s wholesale partners can resell Conference Place under the "Conference Visuals" brand.
When combined with InterCall’s audio conferencing services, Conference Visuals transforms a phone and a PC with an Internet connection into a virtual conference room, an online auditorium or an electronic brainstorming session. Features include sending invitations automatically via e-mail. Attendees can add conference details and information to their calendars with one click. Also, text, whiteboard, Web, polling, snapshot and PowerPoint slide sharing are available, along with live Q&A, a seating chart and mood indicators, and the ability to print to PDF. The service also includes reports and recording capabilities.
Microsoft Corp. made its first foray into the crowded Web conferencing space last fall with Live Meeting, whose chief differentiating feature is integration with the Microsoft Office System, launched in October 2003. The system is billed as "dramatically different" from its ubiquitous predecessor, the Microsoft Office software suite, with a mission to connect people and information quickly and flexibly through applications that tap a variety of media and materials.
"This is a very competitive market and will remain intensely creative," says a Microsoft spokesperson. "We think that Microsoft’s involvement will accelerate the rate of innovation in this space, which in the end is good for customers and will promote greater awareness and adoption."
Web conferencing is a growing market — IDC predicts 250 million people will be using Web conferencing applications by 2007.