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Communications Developer: May 11, 2009 eNewsLetter
May 11, 2009

Host Your Own Conferencing and Save, Using RHUB TurboMeeting

By Patrick Barnard, Senior Web Editor, TMCnet

The conferencing market is seeing rapid growth as of late, as companies continue to slash their travel budgets in light of the current global recession – not to mention the reaction to the recent outbreak of swine flu. As a result, companies are increasingly adopting audio, Web and video conferencing solutions to facilitate “live” communications between divisions, departments, partners, customers and prospects.

Although there has been a rapid increase in the number of Web-based conferencing solutions available on the market, which in turn is driving adoption, there are still those companies which desire premises-based systems. For one thing, hosting your own service can pay for itself in a relatively short amount of time, especially if you already have a VoIP-enabled network. As many organizations have already discovered, the cost of on-demand services can add up over time and can actually surpass the cost of an on-premises system within a couple of years, especially if you have a lot of users.

As the same time, many companies are now migrating (or at least considering migrating) to unified communications -- and they are including audio, Web and video conferencing in with their UC strategy. Companies with mobile workforces, in particular, are interested in UC solutions that can push audio, Web and video conferencing out to mobile end points, thus giving mobile workers the ability to collaborate in real-time whilst on the road.

Enter RHUB’s (News - Alert) TurboMeeting, a new, affordable unified communications appliance that securely delivers audio, Web and video conferencing across your VoIP network, as well as to mobile end points and to external users anywhere on the Internet. Dubbed the “Collaboration Quad Player,” this unique UC solution delivers Web-based interactive meetings; Remote support for PC and Mac users; Remote Access for remotely accessing computers at home or in the office from anywhere; and on-demand Web Seminars requiring no downloads. It is ideal for companies seeking an affordable alternative to using hosted conferencing services.

Once integrated into your IP network, TurboMeeting unifies communications channels like audio, video and Web conferencing and enhances the ability of independent technologies to work together. Using this extremely flexible solution, mobile workers can connect back to their desktop to view and send emails via the Internet, or to share documents while on-the-go, using any standard Web browser. They can also use mobile devices such as the iPhone (News - Alert) to participate in online meetings while away from the office.

The appliance comes pre-integrated with RHUB’s audio conferencing service – or you can keep your existing conferencing service and use the device to unify all communications into a single platform. The RHUB audio conferencing service provides a toll-based U.S. number that can be dialed by all meeting participants. Participants are charged their standard long-distance rate for calling this toll-based number, just as if they made a regular long-distance call. RHUB does not provide toll-free audio conferencing service. You can select any of audio conferencing services including your own audio conferencing bridge. Integrating with audio conferencing is completed by simply inputting a call number to the TurboMeeting system. The call number is passed to the meeting invitation messages and the TurboMeeting meeting control panel automatically.

Unlike WebEx and GotoMeeting, TurboMeeting does not require additional downloads in order for people outside the network to access Web conferences. This simplifies the problem of meeting participants having to download software in order to attend a meeting – which can result in tardiness due to delays and, in the event the application cannot be downloaded at all, reduced attendance rates.

At the same time, RHUB's TurboMeeting system uses both SSL and proprietary encryption so that meeting passwords and meeting IDs, as well as the actual voice and data streams, are protected. You can deploy the UC appliance behind the firewall if you intend to use it for internal meetings only; or you can go DMZ for both internal and external meetings; or outside firewall for external meetings if that’s your preference – either way, all communications are encrypted and thus are protected from hacking.

RHUB, which is a member of the Polycom Arena Program, claims this compact, affordable appliance, which comes in four models depending on the number of ports/users, can deliver a return on investment in as a little as three months. The company introduced version 3.4 of the solution last fall.

Recently, TMC’s (News - Alert) NGN magazine named RHUB a recipient of its First Annual NGN Leadership Award.

Patrick Barnard is a contributing writer for TMCnet. To read more of Patrick’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard


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