A couple of weeks ago I reported about the upcoming launch of Moxtra, a new tool from a group including many former WebEx folks that was starting a private beta for its virtual binder-based social collaboration and collection product. Moxtra is now officially launching, debuting its iPad app to the public today and also launching the web-based version for general use.
This time around, I didn’t just get a demo of Moxtra, I was actually able to use it via a pre-release preview build. And the experience really was quite unlike Evernote or any other similar types of tools, as Moxtra VP of Marketing Jan Sysmans had indicated. For one, while Moxtra can also be used completely independently of anyone else to organize movies, images, notes and other content into binders, complete with audio notes and more, it’s a lot more comfortable with use as a social tool, for sharing contents among teams and groups.
Sharing with Moxtra is as easy as sending email invites from within the app, right from a dedicated bottom interface bar button that appears in every binder you have. You can also invite friends through Facebook, view contact info for everyone participating in the binder, and change their role from Editor, to Viewer (can look but not change anything), or remove them altogether. It’s actually a lot simpler even than setting up FTP shares, which is a common way for groups of people to collaborate on a set of media files or documents. And there are notation and markup tools built-in, unlike in FTP environments.
All binders have activity streams, which display a thumbnail of any media added or changed by binder members, along with a date for the activity and a text description of what kind of change was made. It’s a little like a social feed on Twitter or Facebook, but without the noise, so you can focus on the practical changes that have taken place in your collaborative workspace.
Another nice feature of Moxtra is that you can record audio on any page in your binder, and save it as a new Moxtra Note. That makes it incredibly easy to put together brief audio/visual presentations, say for explaining how a piece of software works or walking someone through your latest design proposal. You can share these out via the web using unique URLs, too, so your collaborators don’t necessarily have to be on Moxtra to participate. And if you’d rather do it live, there’s a built-in meeting tool, Moxtra Meet, that lets you instantly set up web conferences from your iPad or the web-based app with everyone sharing the binder.
“Moxtra Meet is basically the equivalent of a WebEx meeting,” Sysmans said in an interview about the launch. “It’s a real-time meeting that anyone can schedule within Moxtra. That will allow you to start a real-time meeting that includes VOiP, and you can invite anyone to your binder meeting, so you can selectively share the contents of your binder with anyone, and they don’t have to be on Moxtra – it can be all browser-based.”
In terms of potential usage, Sysmans had a few use cases to share, including a home improvement project, wherein home owners could share plans with designers and contractors, make notes, keep track of receipts and purchase orders, meet to discuss plan changes, and more. That’s an example that blends home and professional uses, but you can see how it might be effective in both realms.
“That’s where we’re playing right now – it’s that intersection between digital project management and project collaboration,” he said. “It’s something that very few applications do well, and by combining the binder concept with the remote access to all of your files from your iPad, with Moxtra Cloud, with Moxtra Note and with Moxtra Meet, we believe it’s a strong combination.”
Moxtra is free for the time being, with the company mulling paid premium plans down the road to generate revenue. The company now has 25 employees, most of whom are engineers, and is headquartered in Cupertino. For the first time, the company is revealing via TechCrunch its CEO and co-founder, too: Subrah Iyar, former co-founder and CEO of WebEx. A strong founding team is likely why Moxtra is so solid out of the gate, despite the many moving parts that make up its overall vision. Moxtra is a product with a lot of room to run, and I can’t wait to see how it grows from here.