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January 23, 2012

iMeet – Show Your Face

iMeet is a tool that virtually eliminates the need for businesses to maintain office space and book conference rooms for important meetings. With iMeet, companies of all sizes can host their own personal meetings, where up to 15 colleagues can speak face-to-face using a mishmash of computers, mobile phones, and landlines.

If you’re currently hosting weekly conference meetings through Skype of a similar application, then iMeet will blow everything you’re used to out of the water. The first step in setting up a new meeting with iMeet is deciding where to meet. Instead of choosing between Conference Room A and Conference Room B, you can choose a theme and transport yourself virtually anywhere in the world—your conference can be held at a castle, the beach, or on a vista overlooking the city, all depending on which room theme you choose. When you’ve chosen a theme, give your room a name and invite colleagues to join in. For an even more direct approach, you can instruct everyone to turn on their webcams to chat face-to-face. When you look at a conference room screen, you’ll see up to 15 faces staring back at you—each contained in its own virtual cube. Click on a colleague’s cube to find a description of the person, any photos he or she has uploaded, and links to the person’s social networking accounts. iMeet also offers a discreet chat feature that people can use to type messages to each other during the course of the meeting. To share an important file or presentation with the group, just email the document straight to the room. Everyone else’s cubes will disappear except for the person making the presentation, providing plenty of room on the screen for visual charts, diagrams, photos, and videos to display.

The features that iMeet offers are incredible on their own—and the web-app’s mobile tools are especially useful for professionals who travel frequently for work—however it’s the application’s streamlined look that really makes it unique. Unlike competing conferencing applications, iMeet’s virtual conference rooms are organized in a way that just makes sense. Multiple people can collaborate in meetings without feeling like they’re talking over one another, which is something that can’t always be accomplished even in the real world.

Practical Uses:

  • Host your next weekly conference meeting online
  • See the faces of your colleagues living across the globe
  • Share presentations and slideshows with freelancers who work from home
  • Save time by letting people attend quarterly meetings without coming into the office

Insider Tips:

  • iMeet works with almost every type of webcam
  • People in meetings can invite other colleagues to join in with the click of a button
  • Documents can be emailed directly to a conference room for quick sharing
  • iMeet offers both an iPad and iPhone app

What we liked:

  • Conference rooms are set up so that every person’s face is visible at once
  • The discreet chat feature lets people chat with each other without interrupting the group conversation
  • Personal cubes glow when a person is speaking
  • People can actually host meetings through the iPhone app

What we didn’t like:

  • People who host meetings are only allowed to invite up to 15 guests at a time

Alternatives:

Company Info:

  • Launched: January 2011
  • Privately Held
  • Headquarters: Atlanta, Georgia
  • Founded by: PGi
  • Web site: http://www.imeet.com

Costs:

  • $39/month, plus calls at 2.9 cents per minute
  • $69/month, with unlimited phone calls