Have the conference, skip the room: Join.me

Since many of our blog readers are business owners or business professionals, I thought I would divulge a trade secrete that has enabled our firm to collaborate with each other and communicate with clients with greater ease and efficiency.

Actually, I wouldn’t classify it as a trade secret per se, but rather a pretty darn good program that’s worth every penny—especially since it’s free.  It's a web application called JoinMe (Join.me).

Launched in 2010, JoinMe is a browser-based web conferencing and screen sharing application.  It is rapidly becoming popular for both commercial and personal use.  Two of JoinMe's taglines read: "Our sincere condolences to mahogany conference tables everywhere"  and "Have the conference, skip the room."

A few weeks ago my brother-in-law showed me a website that he was working on.  He introduced me to JoinMe to show me parts of his website that weren’t yet live.  A couple of days later I had the idea to use JoinMe to walk my mother through how to use a certain website.  I quickly realized that JoinMe would be a great tool for our company.

With JoinMe you can do things such as:  collaborate on projects, present reports or perform reviews with distant clients, train clients on how to use your website, and even help a coworker at another office resolve computer problems.  While there are other similar programs on the market, Go ToMeeting for example, it's hard to get a better “bang for your buck” than JoinMe's free version.

JoinMe's free version includes:

  • Screen sharing with up to 250 attendees

  • Give control of your mouse and computer to an attendee

  • If you run more than one monitor screen, you can choose which monitor to share

  • Toggle the broadcasting of your screen on and off

  • Participants can chat and make comments to everyone or to just one individual

  • Securely share files with attendees

  • Each meeting receives a free conference phone number

  • Attend JoinMe meetings on iOS and Android mobile devices

In our company, we had previously used Go ToMeeting, which was a good application.  But at $50 per month per user we couldn't justify purchasing it for everyone in the firm.  Soon after discovering JoinMe we decided to make the switch.  While Go ToMeeting did have more advanced features, we found that JoinMe accomplished what we needed.  Now, everyone in the firm is using it and we’ll save hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

Pros

It's Free

With all the features JoinMe offers in their basic version you would think that there’s a catch.  In fact, the partners of the firm asked me that exact questions when I introduced them to the website.  My answer: there is no catch. 

So how does JoinMe make money?  They sell a “Pro” version that has added features for $29 per month.      

User Interface

JoinMe offers a very clean, user-friendly interface that even the non-tech person can easily navigate.  Sometimes free software and applications have underdeveloped user interfaces - but that's not the case with JoinMe.  

Browser-based

JoinMe requires no user account and no software download for hosts or attendees.  Simply go to the website and either start your own session or enter an access code to join a meeting.  If you purchase the Pro version, you can log into your account and use the application from any computer with internet access since it is browser-based. 

Security

As a financial advisor, we handle sensitive client information and we take privacy and information security very seriously.  JoinMe enables us to take the necessary precautions since the application uses 256-bit SSL encryption - the same technology used by online banks.

Mobile Apps

Are you away from your computer?  Download the free JoinMe app on iOS or Android powered mobile devices and attend web meetings as if you were at your computer

Cons

While JoinMe is definitely a solid product, it has its shortfalls:

  • Meeting can’t be recorded

  • Chat logs can’t be saved

  • No integrated audio conferencing—JoinMe doesn’t transmit sound, which means attendees must use a phone

  • The JoinMe app for mobile devices can only be used to attend meetings—not to host or initiate meetings

Conclusion

After using JoinMe for several weeks now, I’m definitely sold on the application.  Our company uses it with clients, each other, and even vendors on a regular basis.  I recommend you check it out.  I bet you'll find uses for it in your own business.