In my opinion, MUO is one of the best starting points for ideas if you’re looking to remotely conference with someone. MUO writers have covered some amazing products, depending on your needs. For example, Jessica just covered 6 really cool collaboration tools, like TeamLab, Twidla and DimDim. Additionally, Saikat covered how to use the Google Docs drawing tool to build collaborative diagrams and flowcharts.
One thing the majority of these collaboration tools or ideas have in common is the ability to draw, like you would on a whiteboard at the office. However, there are so many other needs to make a remote collaboration effort feel like you’re actually meeting with someone in person. You need to be able to see the other person, talk to them directly, show them computer demonstrations, plan and coordinate trips and travel, and much more. Many collaboration tools may do several of these things, but an impressive group conference tool called VeriShow does it all.
Set Up & Personalize Your Account
Verishow offers a limited free account plan. I should point out up front that if you run a business and want to host large group meetings using VeriShow, it will cost a monthly fee. However, the free account allows you to meet remotely with at least another person, and all of the collaboration tools are available to you. This makes using the free VeriShow service a very smart choice if you want to offer your website visitors with an easy way to talk to you directly in an environment that allows for a really flexible and informative discussion.
The first step is to set up your account. You can upload your own logo and profile image, as well as configure the look of the VeriShow “Call” button that you can embed on your website.
The first page you’ll see when you first launch your account is the dashboard. This is where you can see all of the past account history as well as an Inbox where all messages will go if you’re offline and visitors want to drop you a line.
Once you launch the collaboration tool, you are officially “online” and available for visitors to enter your session. You show up on the left bar as the host of the session. If you enable your webcam and audio, you’ll offer a much more personable and valuable chat session with visitors. Keep in mind that the free account only offers up to 5 hours of video/audio a month.
A List of Impressive Collaboration Tools
In the center panel, you’ll see just how impressive and valuable this collaborative session can be. I don’t think there’s anything that VeriShow can’t do. You can share your computer screen with visitors, share any files that you want, edit documents together and a whole lot more.
The first one I’d like to cover is screen sharing, because for me personally this is the most valuable. There are often times that I get a call from a friend or family member and they just can’t seem to figure out how to do something on their computer. Instead of struggling through trying to explain it on the phone, just have them visit your VeriShow session, and show them how. Once you enable screen sharing you’ll see the message below.
At this point, whatever you do on your computer, your visitor can see. Another tool that’s just as valuable is the screen capture feature. When you click to capture the screen, you can open up any application or website and capture that screen. Once it’s captured, you can use the drawing tools at the top menu bar to draw all over the captured image as you talk or chat to your visitor.
Of course, no collaboration environment would be complete without the whiteboard. You’ll find a freestyle pen, lines, a highlighter and the ability to just type words right onto the whiteboard.
VeriShow takes the whiteboard concept a bit further with the Google Maps tool. Do you need to plan out a trip with someone? Just click on the Maps icon, type in the location and start drawing all over the map as you and your visitor plan out the trip or the travel route.
Is there a concept that you just can’t put into words? Or maybe there’s a video or movie clip you saw once that perfectly expresses what you’re trying to say. Click on the YouTube icon, type in the search phrase and you can watch any YouTube video together, while chatting or talking at the same time.
As though these features aren’t enough, click the right arrow on the center panel to scroll to the right and you’ll discover even more available collaboration tools, like a real-time chat translator for talking to people from other countries, a collaborative calendar, a 3D drawing area and even a place to go just to play a card game with friends.
As you can see above, some features like collaborative web browsing and other tools aren’t enabled in the free version, but the tools that are available make this one of the best resources I’ve ever seen to remotely collaborate and plan with someone. Give VeriShow a try and report back with some of your insights about the experience.
Do you know of any other tools out there that have these kind of features available? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.