If you’ve wanted to try out a Web-based presentation but have been daunted by the costs, there’s good news this month from Pixion, a Web-conferencing provider based in Pleasanton, CA. The company has slashed its PictureTalk Hosted Services subscription costs by up to 50% – with subscriptions now as low as $60 per connection per month for a 12-month pre-paid subscription. Three-month pre-paid subscriptions are $80 per connection per month; six-month pre-paid subscriptions are $65 per connection per month. Prior to this price drop, per-user per-month costs were $120.
“Web conferencing today is where the cell phone industry was five years ago,” says Pixion CEO Robert DeKoning. “Once the infrastructure was in place, prices dropped dramatically.” Pixion’s Enterprise Conference Server, the installed server that enables companies to host their own presentations, is now more affordable as well with an annual license starting at $6,625 for 10 users. The price, which also includes the first year of maintenance and technical support, is about a 35% to 40% reduction, says Charles Orlando, Pixion’s director of marketing. A perpetual license, which gives a company outright ownership of a server and 10 seats forever, is $14,750. “This is ongoing, not a special promotion,” says Orlando. “We try to make our prices as aggressive as possible.”
The company also has been aggressive in its makeover of PictureTalk. On October 1 it announced the launch of PictureTalk 4.0, a Web-conferencing platform that Orlando calls, “for all intents and purposes a new product with a new look and feel.” Some of the key new features include an Attendee Monitor, which shows the presentation leader exactly what audience members are seeing on their screens. “One of the most common things you hear at a Web conference is: Can you see the slide yet? Did you receive it?” says Orlando. Now presenters can see when their data is received through Pixion’s CaptureFrame technology and can see what the audience is seeing through the new Attendee Monitor function. Version 4.0 also includes a console at the left of the screen that puts users one click away from polling, annotating, chatting and more. Previously, those functions were separate windows and users had to click on a tab to pull them up.
Want to make sure no unwelcome visitors show up at your presentation? Use the new lockout function. “It’s like closing the door to your conference room,” says Orlando. “Once everyone has entered the presentation, I can lock it, which keeps certain domains and people from entering the meeting.” Finally, PictureTalk 4.0 includes encryption in the basic price – users no longer have to pay extra for data encryption – and expanded audio with full duplex VoIP, which enables a one-to-many voice and lets users talk back and forth to each other.