Bridging the Distance: TimeBridge Now Includes Web Conferencing

free-scheduling-software-integrate-outlook-google-calendar-exchange-availability-timebridge1Scheduling service TimeBridge (previously reviewed on WWD) announced today that they’ve come out with a personal conferencing service that is fully integrated into their scheduling application. The company seems to be working on rounding out a more complete set of scheduling and communications tools particularly handy for distributed teams of web workers.

The TimeBridge scheduler lets you set up a meeting or conference call by prompting you to pick some ideal date and time options, then sends them to the participants to vote on their best dates and times. It then provides you with a mechanism to accept a mutually agreeable time slot and confirm the meeting with everyone. Now, built right into the scheduler, is a button to “make it a Web conference” or “add a free conference call”.

The web-based conferencing system rivals WebEx and GoToMeeting. It is entirely Flash-based, so it requires zero download, and it seems to be pretty reliable and stable. Its capabilities include:

  • share screen — for viewing someone else’s desktop. Perfect for demos.
  • share documents — for viewing PDFs, Word documents, spreadsheets and more.
  • white board — for collaborative composition. The white board feature also lays over documents for real-time, collaborative annotations.
  • co-browse — for the ability to share a web browser view, where any party can click on active links.

Another useful feature is TimeBridge Groups, with which you can group together different configurations of people such as your design group, your executive team and client teams. This feature makes it easier to schedule meetings with pre-designated groupings of people.

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So what does the new web conferencing feature cost? The company’s CEO and founder, Yori Nelken, says that TimeBridge can price their new conferencing service competitively because they have no customer acquisition costs. They already have an enormous customer base for their free scheduler, so upgrades are an easy sell. What might cost $50 per month from a competitor is being offered by TimeBridge for $8.95 per month. Of course, when I heard that price, my eyes lit up.

How Web Workers Can Use It

I face several challenge as I’m growing my social media marketing company with web workers in five different locations in the U.S. and a new addition in the UK, including:

  • training new hires on the proprietary ways we execute social media marketing tactics
  • having virtual meetings with the entire team that can include demos and brainstorming
  • showing clients in other parts of the world the social media assets we’ve created for them
  • demoing samples of our work to potential clients remotely

TimeBridge’s price is attractive for a lean, mean virtual company in startup mode. And it seems like it could provide an immediate functionality and efficiency that is lacking from many virtual teams. I think it is brilliant to build out a suite of “virtual meeting” tools for the new way we’re doing work.

So What’s Missing?

timedriverSomething that I think would enhance the TimeBridge toolset is the service from TimeDriver that I’ve been using to allow other people to select available time slots on my schedule to set in-person meetings for my time at South by Southwest Interactive. I mentioned this to the folks at TimeBridge, and they acknowledged — somewhat dismissively — that this is something for the future.

If TimeBridge is being touted as a “personal scheduler” with virtual meeting space capabilities, I think the missing piece of the puzzle is just that — personal scheduling. Since part of my web work includes virtual demos and, occasionally, in-person meetups, being able to give people access to open time slots on my calendar and letting them select and book the meetings themselves would be a killer app.

What are you using to schedule meetings? What apps do you use for web conferencing and free conference calls? Are your solutions integrated, and does that matter?

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