Having conquered the PC space and made a good stab at the MAC space, the webinar industry is now going where no man has gone before: the mobile space.
A few months ago, Adobe Connect introduced its mobile application for the iPhone. It allows audience members to attend a webinar on their iPhone. It looks pretty slick. I have not had an opportunity to test it yet so the jury is out for me. Look for a review of it here as soon as I get a chance to kick the tires.
What I have tested is an interesting application by Premiere Global Services (alternatively branding themselves as PGi). The application is called PGi Mobile. It enables the user to moderate a teleseminar (or the audio portion of a webinar) from one’s iPhone.
What is at first disconcerting is understanding that you are NOT calling into the teleconference when you use this application. You are using your login credentials (provided by PGi) to administer the teleconference. Hence you can mute and unmute attendees, kick attendees off the call, establish “breakout rooms” (called sidebar sessions), record your teleconference and dial new participants into the teleconference. Using this last option you can have PGi call your iPhone and bring you into the teleconference and even though you are the moderator you can just as easily enter the conference as a participant because all your moderator controls are in the application itself. If you want to control your behavior as the moderator, then you do need to dial in as a moderator.
For the teleseminar moderator, this application frees you from your desk. But what about the webinar moderator? This usage takes a bit of imagination to justify. One possibility: if you are using a webinar product that does not integrate audio controls into its interface, then using PGi’s audio service and using this app to control attendees might work. Another possible application might be a team moderation approach where you monitor the webinar chat room while your co-moderator who might not be near a PC, monitors and controls the phone portion of the webinar. Still, these ideas are a bit of a stretch. The iPhone app seems ideally suited to teleseminars. (If you have used this application with webinars, please let us know in the comments box below!)
Teleconference services have provided PC applications for conference control for some time now. The real conceptual trick to PGi Mobile, is wrapping your head around the idea that the application is on your phone but really has nothing to do with your phone. You control the conference using your phone as a portable computing device and you call into the conference using your phone as … well … a phone. Once you grasp this distinction, you will find PGi Mobile quite intuitive to use and a great example of the online seminar industry going mobile.