Feeds

3CX WebMeeting: Not bad for a 1.0 product – just keep my phones out of the cloud

Our man puts comms kit through its paces

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

Sysadmin blog 3CX has released its newest thing: WebMeeting. As I still had the virtual machines from my testing of its software PBX rattling around my lab, trying this latest offering seemed like a good plan. After some fits and starts it tested out well, better than I'd expect from a 1.0 product.

Unified communications is a space where I have been investing a lot of time. The big players seem to be Microsoft (Lync and Skype) and Cisco (CallManager and WebEx). There are any number of smaller players, from the nearby SIP provider I use (Planet Telecom) up to mid-sized organisations with great customer lists like 3CX itself.

I am both a full-time sysadmin and a full-time writer. To do both jobs I need a proper communications infrastructure to support my endeavours. I spend a lot of time on the phone in briefings, a lot of time doing interviews. I do a lot of web meeting demos, and live and breathe this stuff when I'm doing tech support.

In my searches, I've tried a lot of webinar products from a lot of different companies. Some, like ClickWebinar were unmitigated disasters, with a broken product and even worse support. Others, like WebEx, just work – but to call them "a little on the pricy side" is being "a little" generous.

What I want is the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of my (very accommodating) SIP provider, the unshakable public-facing webinar reliability of WebEx*, the technical support capabilities of TeamViewer and the global presence-based contact list capabilities of Skype – and all from a company I can trust.

Does 3CX offer this magical combination? No … but they're the closest I've worked with so far.

The basics

WebMeeting has two components. The first is an integration into your 3CX phone system server. This allows your staff who are running 3CX softphones to launch a web meeting with a few simple clicks. The second component lives in Microsoft Azure and is where most of the real heavy lifting takes place.

First you go to the conference tab. Next you "create a web meeting".

3cx create a webmeeting 3cx create a webmeeting

Don't forget to tell everyone what the meeting is about! (Click to enlarge screenshots)

Select which options you require and upload any documents that you want attendees to have to hand. (A slide deck, perhaps, or a pre-briefing they should read.)

3cx webmeeting options 3cx upload required documents

The options are few, but clear

Select any participants internal to your organisation (ie: those who have accounts on the 3CX server that your instance of WebMeeting is tied to) and then add any external participants you wish to invite. You invite external participants by entering their name and email address.

3cx select internal participants 3cx select external participants

Obey your Robotic Overlord

The Azure component of the exercise will then email everyone involved (all messages appears to pass through a Symantec messaging gateway on its way to participants). The email will include a calendar invite and a link to join the meeting. The emails sent to the host and the participants are almost identical.

If you don't have the 3CX client installed then clicking on the link in the email will prompt you to do so. Once installed you need to go back to the link in the email and click a link on the webpage to join the meeting. Unfortunately, if you are using a properly defended browser, the webpage can't sense that you have the application installed, so you get a great big "download client" button and a small, barely noticeable "click here to join the meeting" link. This needs to be bigger.

3cx join meeting

Requires embiggening

After that, the software launches, and it waits for the host to start the meeting.

The meeting software itself is … meeting software. Meeting software really hasn't changed much in about two decades.

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
SHOCK and AWS: The fall of Amazon's deflationary cloud
Just as Jeff Bezos did to books and CDs, Amazon's rivals are now doing to it
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
The triumph of VVOL: Everyone's jumping into bed with VMware
'Bandwagon'? Yes, we're on it and so what, say big dogs
Carbon tax repeal won't see data centre operators cut prices
Rackspace says electricity isn't a major cost, Equinix promises 'no levy'
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.