Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Monday, August 4, 2003

Dawning Horizon

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I have recently posted a kind and exhaustive reply to Gennaro Brooks posting on Stephen Lahanas' ElearningLeaders YahooGroup while offering specific advice for some live collaboration tools that would allow him to run some of his consulting and training courses directly online.

While Gennaro was very happy of my posting and took me for a successful private consulting gig, HorizonLive representative Sharon Anstey sent me the following email:

"Dear Robin,
I noticed your posting on elearning leaders. While well informed, you appear not to be aware of HorizonLive. Feel free to explore.

If you are evaluating alternatives in delivering live learning over the Internet, HorizonLive has developed an elegantly simple solution to this challenge as is evident in the choice of institutions such as Cal State (Chico), Arizona State, the University of Georgia and Strayer University and companies such as MetLife, Ernst & Young and Adecco. While most of our clients use HorizonLive for online teaching and training, the 108-campus California Community College system employs HorizonLive to support web-based conferencing for its 82,000 faculty and administrators.

Horizon is distinguished by its simplicity and ease of use coupled with flexibility and power. We enable audio or video, no software download is required and we have a superior archiving capability.

We offer live full screen cross-platform application-sharing and follow-me web browsing. All of these tools are plug-in free, work in both IE and Netscape on PC, Mac and Unix platforms. No proprietary software is required to deliver a HorizonLive session for participants or presenters, and all sessions can be automatically recorded for future playback.

We'd be delighted to have you join us for a live demonstration. Please register here.

If you are not responsible for this initiative, we would appreciate an opportunity to explore the notion of applying live e-learning within your organization. Please would you direct me to the individual responsible for making this evaluation.

Warm regards,

Sharon Anstey
Account Development

Check out Horizonlive and take the Tour!

View an archive

*****end of message

What HorizonLive as several other large, enterprise-oriented web conferencing vendors do not yet realize is the following:

1) I don't like canned messages that have nothing of personal communication but the first paragraph. If you want me to listen you better start talking seriously with me or do you want to hear some of my tapes too?

2) HorizonLive charges a price per seat per minute that is simply out of the normal possibilities of any normal professional that is not financed by a large company or corporation. Since I, as Robin Good, intend to best serve the individual, the professional, the small and the non-profit, I have no interest in reporting or learning more about a company that clearly shows no interest for this peculiar market of mine.

3) HorizonLive offers for me no way to test out their product out of participating in another "canned" demo in which I have no way, time or opportunity to play around and see how the system fits my need once I am abandoned to it alone. If a company can't offer me to try out their system fully, I am not going to report about it.

4) Most of these large Web conferencing companies think that they hold some kind of unique leadership, rare technology and perfect combination of facilities. Fact is that this is being refined everyday and these companies are hardly participating in the discourse. New smaller companies have long surpassed the features and facilities available through these large vendors' systems in one or more areas and at costs that are just accessible to anyone. Fact is not many people know about this.

5) Web conferencing companies that have a great product must allow people to try them out with all features active. If that tool is so good and if the cost is so great there is just no way that I will not want you to bill me when the time comes. Or not?

6) Why, you, HorizonLive are not reading what the original poster was really asking for and understand that he really does not need a tool as expensive as yours? Listening and engaing in a real, uncanned conversation is the only way out you have from becoming an obsolete, soon to be extinct breed.
Cluetrain Manifesto teaches.

So this is what I wrote back to Sharon:

"Dear Sharon,

though I am well aware of HorizonLive, I have chosen not include it in my answer as it does not fit the requirements indicated by original poster. He is looking for a SOHO solution, and through a private online session later on yesterday, I have been able to have him identify a perfect solution for his needs.

HorizonLive is way too expensive compared to the other listed solutions and cannot be considered a service targeted at the SOHO market. Also HorizonLive offers only live controlled demos and I have been personally unable, despite my requests, to have access to an effective try-out.

Given the above HorizonLive makes the same mistakes of other "enterprise" targeted web conferencing systems not understanding that selling to the individual or the small company is much harder to sell to than large companies and organizations and it requires a lot more integrity, transparency and a true winning product in your hands.

I would really wish HorizonLive to become a "listening" company and to come to understand that if this market is of REAL interest to you, you better start looking around as things have been moving a lot faster than you realize.

There are new options, great facilities and tools, but yours is not among them.


Robin Good
Official Guide to SOHO Web Conferencing and Live Presentation Tools"

What do you think?

Readers' Comments    
2003-08-05 14:48:21

Sharon Anstey

-----Original Message-----
From: Sharon Anstey []
Sent: martedì 5 agosto 2003 14.13
To: Robin.Goodxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: RE: The HorizonLive Channel Solution

We do not price per seat per minute.
Usage is unlimited over the year.

And I never use exclamation marks in my e-mails regarding pricing.


2003-08-05 13:54:41

Robin Good

Nonetheless the above and a personal email to them, they just can't stop the tape from running. Read it until the end to see how well they have really latched onto the idea of SOHO customers and their needs:

-----Original Message-----
From: Sharon Anstey []
Sent: martedì 5 agosto 2003 13.45
To: Robin Good
Subject: The HorizonLive Channel Solution

"Dear Robin,

We have just launched a new product that I thought you might want to be aware of which is targeted precisely at the small company/individual user.

If you are an individual who needs to communicate with small groups on an ongoing basis, you might find that a HorizonLive Channel is the right solution. With a HorizonLive Channel, you can display and annotate PowerPoint slides in the HorizonLive whiteboard, share applications and show web pages. Audio communication can be accomplished via the Internet using one- or two-way Voice Over IP (VoIP), or a standard teleconference call, depending on your needs. Video can be delivered via QuickTime or RealPlayer. You also have access to the one click HorizonLive archiving capability.

HorizonLive Channels are configured for 5, 10, 15 or 25 simultaneous users.
You have 24*7 access to your channel and may conduct unlimited live or archived events during the course of your license.

The channel solution is priced for a year as follows:

5 seats $5,000
10 seats $7,200
15 seats $9,000
25 seats $12,500

Let me know if you'd like to pursue this option further.

Warm regards,

Sharon Anstey
Account Development"

The only thing I can reply to Sharon is that anyone today can have all that she is offering for less than $ 500/year across a number of tools and services that are using technology much newer and much better than the one utilized inside HorizonLive.

If that is not enough....

2003-08-05 09:38:01

Kevin Quigley


I agree 100% with your analysis. Whilst the big corporate systems are good at what they do (I've used WebEx extensively - seems to be the system of choice for the CAD world), the pricing structure and telephone call charges rule them out for small businesses. Another thing is that many small businesses need instant access to a web collaboration session/demo. What we need are low cost systems with instant access - no need to set up complicated email reminders with complex meeting room numbers etc.

To this end I have started using Glance for one to one sessions with customers. Its perfect for my needs now, low cost and I can start a session in seconds.

In these hard times for manufacturing businesses, and small suppliers to them we need efficient low cost tools.

posted by Robin Good on Monday, August 4 2003, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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