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BeamYourScreen is a simple web conferencing and desktop sharing application. Their bland website does not do the company any favours, but if you can look past this, the product is actually OK and provides just a decent and useful set of features. However, the prices are quite high and this is one of the few companies we have seen who demand that you take out at least a one year contract. The only other option is a lifetime subscription, which is a pretty hefty commitment.
BeamYourScreen provides the facility to share your desktop whilst hosting an online meeting. Participants in the meeting join through a simple web page so there is no download necessary and the web browser handles everything for them. Once logged in everyone can see the host's screen and the host can grant remote control access to participants or request it from them. The host also has easy access to functions to switch presenters and allow someone else to take charge of the meeting for a time.
BeamYourScreen does not provide integrated VOIP support in its application so if you want voice communication in your meetings you must use a separate teleconferencing facility or VOIP application. The company offers a teleconferencing service with its subscriptions but, unlike many other services, charges are imposed on guests dialling into the conference as well as the standard call charge. It is possible to request a toll free number for your guests or have the system dial out to them, but this costs extra. Unfortunately a number of users have found the system to be very slow, problematic, or simply not working at all. It’s hard to overlook this as it is vital that the system works very effectively or you could lose face (and business) due to its failure.
Security is well catered for with BeamYourScreen and all communications between participants are encrypted using 256-bit AES technology. This is more than enough for most uses. Meetings are also protected from unauthorised entrants by a 9 digit key code which the host must provide to all participants.
This service differs from many other web conferencing applications in that it allows you to purchase the software to install on your own servers - thus waiving the monthly fee. Obviously this is a cost effective solution if you have the servers available and the staff to support them, but for infrequent or small business users it will probably be too much hassle.
BeamYourScreen is a decent, if expensive, service. For large organisations doing a lot of web conferences the one off fee option may be attractive, but most users will want to stick to the monthly billing option. Although the service is relatively good, we think it is a bit much to charge a set up fee and specify a minimum 12 month contract, but a free trial is available so you can make your mind up before committing. The lifetime subscription potentially offers good value for large organisations, but otherwise it’s quite a costly investment.
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