Technology Solutions

Armchair Conferencing

Though commercial real estate is a people-focused business, industry professionals who need to meet with clients and colleagues across the country no longer need to lose days traveling. Instead, they can use Web conferencing software, such as Adobe Acrobat Connect, to conduct business in any location.

Getting Started

Enabling users to instantly communicate and collaborate through online personal meeting rooms, Adobe Connect is easy to use, saves time, and increases overall productivity. Up to 15 participants can interact in the online meeting rooms; and each user is given a personalized URL for instant meeting access.
The software also includes screen sharing, a whiteboard for presentations, a chat function, and both video and audio conferencing. No downloading is required, and meetings and presentations can be accessed on most devices at any time.

Instant Connections

“Adobe hit us at the right time with a free 90-day trial,” says Karl Landreneau, CCIM, director of commercial sales and leasing with NAI/Latter & Blum in Baton Rouge, La. After testing the software during the trial period, Landreneau’s company decided that Adobe Connect effectively suited its Web conferencing needs. The program costs his company about $395 per year, but the savings it provides add up.

“We save about two to six hours of travel and even more when [the presentation] is across the state. For two presentations, we save about $100 in hard expenses,” Landreneau says.

In addition, clients like seeing the presentations and analyses online, he explains. For example, Landreneau worked with a prospective client in a market 200 miles away who was looking to sell a vacant office building and wanted it priced out. Landreneau put together a price analysis and created a presentation that included aerials and marketing materials. The entire package was presented to the client online via Adobe Connect. The end result: Landreneau landed the $1.5 million listing.

Adobe Connect users also can create Web conferences for non-transaction-related presentations. Landreneau, who is an STDBonline instructor, recently conducted an STDB training session via a Web conference in about an hour’s time. Using Adobe Connect saved both Landreneau and the student the hassle of finding a meeting location and wasting time traveling.

Overall, Latter & Blum agents use Adobe Connect about once or twice a week and gain more confidence with each use. Landreneau sums up his satisfaction with the product this way: “If it fits your personality and your needs, it’s the best thing since sliced bread.”


Web Conferencing Product Overview

      
Product
    Benefits
      
GoToMeeting
$49/month;$468/year
(800) 263-6317 
www.gotomeeting.com    Free 30-day trial
Meet with up to 15 people at one time
Fast meeting setup
Saves important presentations
Includes drawing tools and pointers to increase participation      
MegaMeeting.com
Three-person account: $45/month; pay-as-you-go plan is available
(877) 634-6342
www.megameeting.com    Free trial for all versions
Up to 16 people can be seen by an unlimited number of
attendees
Unlimited worldwide video-conferencing
VoIP audio and text chat
24/7 tech support for most versions
Allows PowerPoint presentations for most versions      
Microsoft Office Live
Meeting (2007 version)
Professional: $15.42/user/month
Standard: $4.58/user/month
http://office.microsoft.com/
en-us/livemeeting/default.aspx    Free 30-day trial
Professional version can schedule and manage up to 1,250 participants and can store meetings for one year
Standard version can schedule and manage up to 15 participants
      
WebEx Meeting
$59 per month/host; pay-per-use plan is available
(888) 469-3239
www.webex.com    14-day free trial
Meet with up to 25 people at one time
Program is downloadable through the Web site
Hold meetings with colleagues to review project updates
Customer service is available      
Yugma
$14.95/month or
$149.50/year
(866) 944-7920
www.yugma.com
    15-day free trial of Yugma Pro when you sign up for Yugma’s free services
Yugma Free offers Web conferencing with up to 20 participants
Yugma Pro offers desktop sharing, annotation and whiteboard use, shared mouse and keyboard control, the ability to instantly change presenters, and the option to record Webcasts to share or playback at any time
Skype integration    

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