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Technology: Reviews - Communication Tools Matrix

Topics on this page:

Introduction

MCR regularly uses a variety of communication tools in our day to day work:

  • Skype for free computer-to-computer calling and conference calls
  • Adobe Connect for meetings with multi-party video and screen sharing
  • Adobe Connect for offering distance education classes and RML updates.

In addition, we have tested a number of other communications tools. The results of our tests, along with features of each tool, are listed below.

Whichever tool you use, it is important to keep aware of videoconferencing etiquette.

Communication Tools: Features Comparison*

The matrix below shows features of each of the communications tools tested by MCR staff. You may also wish to check the Comparison Chart on Wikipedia.

Tool Cost Capacity OS* Audio Video Chat Desktop Sharing Slides
(PPT)
Share Docs Whiteboard Break-out Record Mobile
Large Group Presentations/Meetings
Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro

Fee

1,500 All VoIP
Teleconf
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Wimba / Elluminate Fee Unlimited All VoIP
Teleconf
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Yugma Free
Fee
500 All VoIP
Teleconf
No
(unless w/Skype)
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No
Small Group and One-to-One Meetings
Google Talk Free Unlimited
(Chat)
All VoIP Yes Yes No No Yes No No No Yes
Skype Free 25
(VoIP)
All VoIP
Teleconf
Yes Yes Yes
(3rd party)
No Yes Yes
(3rd party)
No No Yes

*OS = Operating System

Communication Tools: Pros and Cons Comparison*

This chart shows the results of testing by MCR staff.

Tool Pros Cons Additional Information and Features More Information/ Download or Purchase
Large Group Presentations/Meetings

Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro

Can be accessed through a web browser

Can be used with the teleconferencing feature (for an extra fee) so users can call in using an 800 number; this saves bandwidth and reduces audio problems

If bandwidth is low, the voice over IP feature can have audio problems

Video-conferencing possible with inexpensive desktop web cams

Screen sharing (desktop, windows, and applications)

Slide share (PowerPoint)

Chat

Whiteboard

Polls

Break-out rooms

Recording

Read more:
- Adobe.com
- Wikipedia article

Purchase a license

Wimba / Elluminate

Can be accessed through a web browser

Screen sharing does not record

Video is not displayed simultaneously; it switches based on who is talking

Video-conferencing possible with inexpensive desktop web cams

Screen sharing (desktop, windows, and applications)

Slide share (PowerPoint)

Chat

Whiteboard

Polls

Break-out rooms

Recording

Read more:
- Wimba.com
- Wimba Classroom features

Get a license

Yugma

Free (with basic features)

In our tests at the MCR we found it difficult to figure out how to use this tool

Additional features available for fee

Read more:
- Yugma.com

Download

Small Group and One-to-One Meetings

Google Talk

Free

Audio quality was excellent in our testing

Audio only

A free web-based application for instant messaging and voice over internet protocol (VOIP), offered by Google Inc.

Read more:
- Wikipedia article

Download

Skype

Free

Can do conference calls (audio only) with up to 24 people

Audio quality generally excellent in MCR's day to day use

One-to-one video only

A free Voice Over IP (VoIP) program that lets users Instant Message (IM) or call (VoIP) through your computer

One-to-one video

Can call regular phones for a fee

One to one screen sharing

Read more:
- Skype.com
Download

*These tools were last reviewed March 2011.

MCR Staff Contact

Please contact John Bramble (john.bramble@utah.edu), Technology Coordinator, for more assistance.