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Microsoft pushes Live Meeting

Sep 16, 20032 mins
Data Center

What are three people doing sitting around a table (see picture) of laptops on top of Fenway Park’s famed Green Monster (see picture) yesterday? Hosting a Web conference, of course. (If they had been there a few hours later they would have been watching Manny Ramirez’s homerun sail way over head…) Why would someone host a Web conference on top of famed 37-foot wall, you ask? It’s Microsoft’s way of promoting it’s new Office Live Meeting 5.0 offering (read the news here and John Fontana’s analysis here.)

Microsoft’s Anoop Gupta, corporate vice president of the real-time collaboration business unit, traveled across the country yesterday hosting three meetings: at Fenway, an El Station in Chicago and Pier 39 in San Francisco. The premise was to prove that a) you can host a meeting from anywhere and b) you don’t necessarily have to travel thousands of miles and many hours for a half-hour face-to-face meeting. (This mantra is for all Web conferencing products, not just Microsoft/Placeware.) Now the cynic in me figured he was flying on a private jet to each destination when I first heard about the publicity tour, but he assured me he was flying commercial. Coach even.

For the Fenway event, Gupta and his colleagues dialed into the meeting via a standard cell phone and used Verizon’s CDMA data network for laptop connectivity (see picture.) An engineer accompanying the group says they were getting about 153K bit/sec throughput from their Wall-top vantage point, more than enough horsepower to push a few PowerPoint slides across the ‘Net. And Fenway at 8AM is plenty quiet enough for any meeting.

As a bonus, here’s a few more pictures from the event: