Fresh out of the Nokia BetaLabs comes Nokia Easy Meet, a web browser based mobile collaboration prototype. Great, I use online collaboration with conference calls and slide sharing a lot in my daily work but my solution (Centra) is purely PC based and does not allow sharing content with mobile devices. So I checked out Nokia's prototype application for the purpose.
- File Sharing, supporting Power Point, JPEG and PNG
- Meeting Minutes
- File Downloads
- Participant Awareness
- Remote Content Access (OVI Files).
- One click to join a conference, including voice conference
In practice, it works as follows: As a collaboration conference initiator you need to register with the service, either from the PC or the mobile phone. In fact, everything can be done on both the mobile and PC, although it's a bit more comfortable to use the PC for getting started.
Once registered, setting up a meeting is simple. Enter time, date, participant e-mail address or phone numbers and upload pictures or power point presentations. Once done, participants get an e-mail or SMS with a link to join the meeting. Invited guests do not have to register and just have to type in their name so they can be seen in the status window of the conference. Once they have joined the conference, they can immediately see the shared content such as pictures, presentations and so on.
On the PC, the presentation section can be seen alongside the other windows for instant messaging between participants, a presence window to see who's currently online, a window showing the different pages / images available for sharing, etc.
When changing from one page / image to the next, it appears quite quickly on the screens of other participants, even on the mobile. Very nice push technology. Same for IM messages, distribution is quite quick. The whiteboard function allows to draw lines in the main presentation window, e.g. to highlight a part of the presentation and changes are also distributed within a few seconds.
As it is still a research protoype, the graphical design of the solution, especially on the PC, is still a bit rough, but that's just that, the technology itself works very nicely and use is straight forward and quite simple to master.
From a conceptual point of view, the biggest issue in my eyes is to make both PC users and mobile users happy with what they see in the main presentation window. For my test, I used a screenshot image with tiny fonts, which are not shown very well on both the PC and the mobile. While much bigger on the PC, the text could still not be read. So for collaboration it's probably best to use power point presentations with big text or pictures without too much tiny content. For the mobile device, a zoom function for the main screen might be something that could help, but I think that would push the processing power of current S60 phones a bit too hard. But as processors become faster, screen resolution increases and screen sizes become bigger, there's a good chance that we are moving closer to a sweet spot where the presentation can be shown in a good resolution in a PC browser and an acceptable quality on the mobile device supported by an intelligent zoom function.