FuzeBox has squeezed its online meeting experience into a new iPhone app called Fuze Join for iPhone.
The company already has an iPad app that Apple named one of the best business apps for 2011. In fact, it even had an earlier iPhone app, but CEO Jeff Cavins says the company realized that it wasn’t as good as it needed to be, so the team took the app down last year and started working on a new one.
“We just wanted to do something completely different and much more advanced,” he says. “We want to put personal telepresence in the palm of your hand.”
So what’s changed in the new version? Well, FuzeBox added what is perhaps the key feature, the ability to broadcast and view video. It also rethought the interface, allowing users to control the app with just five buttons.
Cavins took me through a demo of the new FuzeBox app — joining a meeting, viewing video feeds from other participants, starting text chats, and sharing our own slides and documents. There were lots of nice touches, for example the ability to tap a point on a slide on the iPhone screen and having that point get highlighted with a red dot on everyone else’s screen. We could also to get video from telepresence systems offered by other companies like Polycom and Cisco/tandberg.
What was most impressive, however, was the speed and responsiveness. We were able to watch high-quality streaming video (which Cavins says was 1080p resolution) over a cellular network connection in downtown San Francisco, and it was perfectly synced up with what was shown on the other computers in the meeting. Cavins was able to scroll through all the slides in a presentation from his iPhone, and again, the screens of the other participants followed virtually instantaneously.
One limitation on this front is the fact that you can “only” watch four video streams at once, so that the app doesn’t tax the iPhone too heavily. FuzeBox meetings can actually be much larger than that, so when you go over four streams, the remaining participants are represented by a still image at the bottom of the screen. You can move participants from one area to another, so if someone important joins late, you can still tell the app you want to see their video feed (it just means someone else will get bumped).
Fuze Join for iPhone is available to FuzeBox customers as part of its overall meeting service. You can download the app here.