August 16, 2012

FastMeeting review

Trial download is a 9.2mb zip file from their website. I was told there was an iPad app for the program then told by the same person that it’s not available for download so testing will be done between desktop and laptop.

Ease of Use
Upon first open of the software, it took me through the process of determining my audio and video capability to make sure everything was working as I wanted it to be. My first thought upon seeing the UI was “there’s a lot of stuff going on here”.

Video does not automatically just turn on. You have to click on a participant name to activate it.

Quality of Product
The software could not recognize the integrated camera on my laptop initially. No other program has had this issue but running though the integrated AV test wizard, I was able to get it working. Attempts to modify bit rate and resolution would lead to the camera failing. Failing to the point of needing to reboot my laptop to get the camera to turn off (yes, the camera was on but no longer working after changing settings in the software). The video quality was not good when it did work. The image was very pixelated and there were long delays of video freezing up. Honestly, I got a little frustrated by the inability to make the video work so I gave up.

Screen sharing had about a 15 second lag between host and attendee computers (with no video turned on). A couple of seconds I can understand but if it gets any slower than that the usability just isn’t there. Try going over a presentation with a client in person and waiting 15 seconds after you turn a page to start talking about it.

Per their website, the FastMeeting client is $19/mo or $228/yr for up to 8 users with guests being able to join meetings for free. I was provided with 8 user names and password, but could not figure a way to join a meeting without logging in. The opening UI has a checkbox to log in by room number, but I could not find my room number to try this.

This product does not seem, feel or act like it’s ready for prime time so I cannot recommend it.

Hellard Design