As anyone who has attended online meetings knows, traditional software with its clunky user interfaces and required software installations was in need of a change. That’s why LogMeIn’s online meeting service join.me has for some time now offered an advantage: you could quickly host or join online meetings for free, then chat and share screens without cumbersome software downloads.
Today, join.me is expanding that service to include free video conferencing.
The video conferencing feature was introduced into beta at the end of April, but today marks its official debut. During the test period, thousands of participants tried out the service, which can be used to host video-only calls, making it competitive with free services like Google Hangouts or Skype, for example. Plus, it can be used alongside online meetings and screen sharing sessions, which pits it against the other major video conferencing players today, like GoToMeeting, Fuze, WebEx, Blue Jeans, AnyMeeting and more.
The company built the technology in-house by leveraging HMTL5 and WebRTC, which allows participants to join the video calls without first having to download software. At launch, meeting attendees can join meeting from their Google Chrome web browser, though the plan is to extend the functionality to other browsers in future releases. Join.me’s simplicity has long been one of its best features, so it’s good to see the company continuing on this course as it moves into video conferencing.
The user interface for the new feature is also different from what traditional services offer. In join.me’s video conferences, attendees individual video feeds are in the form of “bubbles” which can be manipulated, moved and even bounced around the screen. (A great distraction for when your video conference is long and boring, perhaps?)
Like join.me’s overall product, the new video conferencing technology also starts out free of charge. Users can access up to five feeds per meeting (so, five participants). Afterwards, Pro and Enterprise users can pay for additional feeds (currently up to ten), as well as other advanced features like unlimited whiteboards, recording capabilities, meeting tools, reporting, customizations, and more.
As an alternative, video conference attendees could also choose to join a conversation by VoIP or phone instead to cut down on video feed usage.
Owned by LogMeIn, join.me today has become the company’s fastest-growing product, which has served to impact the company bottom line significantly. Today, join.me is included in LogMeIn’s division called its “Collaboration Cloud” business. In Q1 2015, that business’ revenue grew 52 percent year-over-year, and contributed to 31 percent of LogMeIn’s total revenue (which was $61.1 million – up 25 percent year-over-year, in large part thanks to join.me’s growth.)
Though LogMeIn doesn’t provide an exact count of join.me users, the company does note that there are “tens of millions” of users total, including “hundreds of thousands” of paid customers.
While the official launch of the join.me video conferencing is the big news today, the technology the company developed supports other products and expansions LogMeIn has planned. Already, the join.me video libraries are being used in Rescue Lens, a newer service that lets customer support reps help customers troubleshoot by way of a smartphone’s camera. And LogMeIn tells us that it plans to expand the technology to other offerings in the future including “Internet of things” services.