The Future Of Web Conferencing: Good Interviews Paul Coffey
"The Future Of Web Conferencing" - Interview n°4
Seven questions to Paul Coffey to explore potential, opportunities and threats of our future online as seen from a small Web conferencing entrepreneur point-of-view.
I know Paul Coffey since over a year now and I have always appreciated his frank, honest approach and his willigness, like many small entrepreneurs, to come a long way toward helping their customers.
Paul Coffey is one of the largest resellers of VoiceCafe technology. VoiceCafe has developed made available on the market a line of products that spans ten (!)different Web conferencing products for the SOHO market.
I invited Paul to be challenged by a few of my future-anticipating questions, because I know that he would have brought to the table a tad of common sense, some simple and evident idiosyncracies of this industry, and the idea that something as powerful as Web conferencing offers opportunity and options to many small companies like his.
Robin Good: What do you think is the most misunderstood concept about online collaboration and how it should be like? (That one thing that if done differently would radically change the way think of Web conferencing or real-time collaboration online.)
Paul Coffey: The most misunderstood concept about online collaboration is the lack of understanding about how simple and inexpensive it really can be, for the client. The larger Web conferencing suppliers have geared their tools toward the large Fortune 500 clients. Their marketing is geared around top dollar amounts, massive connection speeds, intranet builds, which make the smaller organization feel that they couldn't possibly afford a conferencing system.
Robin Good: In which ways are the SOHO and "enterprise" markets substantially different when it comes to Web conferencing, live presentations and real-time collaboration?
Paul Coffey: SOHO represents the smaller organization with 1-100 employees and a few offices or just a small office in the home. These organizations usually only require a small tool capable of providing standard meeting place, maybe some instructional tools, clear voice and text. They also need to operate within a dial-up environment from the office and from home. They are more constrained in terms of travel, accomodation, budgets and lack an undertanding of IT issues. They are served very well by existing SOHO type conferencing platforms.
Enterprise organizations generally require large conferences, remote board meetings, remote training within existing networks and a lot of real-time collaboration. They have existing IT structures to cope with firewalls, broadband and webcasting.
Robin Good: How are the enterprises changing with the growing adoption of these new collaboration tools?
Paul Coffey: Enterprises are still thinking that the newer smaller offerings cannot do what their larger tools can.
There is also a concern from IT managers who have paid out huge dollars amounts to a large Web conferencing supplier and who now need to justify it. How would they respond to their Financial Accountant when asked why much less costly tools were not considered for the same purpose?
There is also a lot of internal 'politics' that goes on when you sell to large enterprises. It is far easier to sell true value, personal service, honesty and great service to the smaller SOHO's. They have no other interest that getting their work done!
Robin Good: What kind of tools do you think we will see in a year from now? And in three?
Paul Coffey: In a year from now we will see much simpler, user-friendly collaboration tools such as file and application sharing for SOHO type conferencing. In three years from now we will see conferencing come of age with real time clear video, full duplex audio and compression technology that doesn't eat up bandwidth.
Robin Good: Can you describe your ideal dream conferencing/collaboration system in its main characteristics?
Paul Coffey: My ideal collaboration system is one which is accessed from a desktop from anywhere.
It automatically configures firewall issues, is secure so nobody can hack or spy on the collaboration.
Has crystal clear voice, video and text.
Can be used to share applications and files.
Has an easy to use whiteboard with the ability to upload images. Has a page push feature, polling and private chat features.
Can be utilized with instant messaging. Has a time zone function and administration tools.
It would also have to have a recording facility.
Robin Good: Where do you stand in respect to Microsoft DRM strategy, TCPA/Palladium and their restrictions on interoperability of MSN with other instant messengers?
Paul Coffey: I believe Microsoft has too many monopolies now. They can try and force restrictions on content use but it will backfire on them.
The Internet cannot be controlled by one corporation.
Robin Good: What do you think are enterprise Web conferencing companies biggest marketing mistakes?
Paul Coffey is the President and director of VoiceCafe.org one of best of the several affiliate reselling hubs distributing online the high quality products developed by VoiceCafe.
Based in Sidney Australia VoiceCafe.org serves customers from all over the world and provides a unique line of over 10 (!) different SOHO Web conferencing products.
Paul Coffey is a uniquely dedicated online marketer who personally follows each customer, each system try-out and each client inquiry with no savings on time or listening patience.
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