Everyone Available? Let’s Meet Now!

Do you struggle to get your team together in one place for a meeting? Sure you do, but imagine a tool that would monitor the availability of your team members, alert you when they are available and then immediately send out an online meeting invitation to corral them in one cyber location. Sound too good to be true? Well it’s not. The new Web conferencing product from Convoq (www.convoq.com) does just that.

In February, Convoq rolled out Convoq ASAP, which aims to fill the gap between the rich media capabilities of one-to-many Web conferencing products and the instant message (IM) environment. ASAP, which stands for As Soon As Present, gives users three meeting options: meet with someone immediately if everyone needed for the meeting is available, schedule a meeting for the future or meet as soon as all the required participants become available. “It’s like having your own personal assistant to monitor the availability of all the people with whom you want to meet,” says Steve Clark, Convoq’s vice president of marketing.

Clark says Convoq can leverage any of the popular IM systems, such as Yahoo and MSN, to check for the availability of meeting attendees. When all the needed participants become available, they each receive an IM that says Joe Smith would like to meet with them ASAP and a Web link. “They click on the link and as long as they have Flash, they’re in,” says Clark. Once inside, users will find most of the basic collaborative features available in big-name Web conferencing products, such as screen sharing, the ability to give PowerPoint presentations, text chat, video and so on.

Convoq ASAP has two other features of interest to salespeople. The first, called Lifelines, lets users search for an expert by capability rather than name. So if you’ve got a customer on the phone and you need someone from your legal department to answer some questions for that customer, you can activate your legal Lifeline and the system will search for anyone in the legal department who is available at that moment. The second feature is called Stand-Ins. If you’re going to be unavailable but want to designate someone who can stand in for you and speak for you in your absence, you can do so with Convoq. The person on the other end has the option of meeting with your stand-in or waiting for you to return.

Convoq ASAP costs $149 per user per year for an unlimited number of meetings for up to 25 participants. Additional participants cost $0.15 per minute per user. Visit www.convoq.com for more information.