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Yugma is a very reasonably priced web conferencing and desktop sharing tool which provides a good range of features for the cost. Although it lacks a couple of useful things that other services offer, the flexible pricing plans and low cost can make up for it. It is suitable for anything from small meetings to large scale webinars and even offers a free version with limited functionality.
Yugma.com prides itself on its approach to desktop sharing. When hosting a conference everyone can see exactly what the host decides should be shown - whether it be the full desktop or just one application. It is easy then for the host to give control to other people in the meeting so that they can collaborate on documents or highlight certain issues. This makes for a very smooth flowing meeting when combined with the quick switches that the host can initiate to change presenter. With some conferencing applications this can be a hassle, but Yugma handles it easily and simply.
The primary means of communication in a Yugma meeting is via the included teleconferencing facility. Participants just dial in using a normal telephone and are connected to the conference call after entering the meeting code. During the meeting participants can also annotate the screen using the integrated whiteboarding functionality. Unfortunately Yugma does not yet provide integrated VOIP support in its application, but it does offer a version of the tool which comes as a certified add-on to Skype. This provides most of the functionality of the standard application with, of course, the added benefit of all the communication being handled by the Skype network. One other slight oversight is that there is no support for webcams during a meeting. This probably won't cause too much of a bother for most people, but is something to think about.
For such a low cost service we were pleased to see that Yugma is cross platform compatible. A meeting can be hosted from Windows, Mac OSX or Linux and participants can join from a web browser on any of the same platforms. The whole system is Java based so there is a small download for both hosts and guests, but the web browser handles this as long as you accept the security agreement.
Security is handled very well in this web conferencing tool and all communications during meetings are encrypted using 128-bit SSL encryption. Meetings are also protected from unauthorised access by a unique key code which the host must pass out to the attendees. The service was also pretty reliable when we tested it and the only problems were a couple of hiccups in the display updating.
Yugma is a well implemented web conferencing tool and priced very reasonably for the amount of features on offer. If you can put up without the inclusion of web cam support and integrated VOIP, Yugma is well worth checking out.
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