A couple of weeks ago I discovered a new, free webconferencing product, which is being developed by a group spread from Ottawa, to Boston to Hyderabad.

I’d been delivering a teleclass series on blogging and at the same time developing for the class some videod explanations of various in future to combine the two processes into a webinar format. But I did not know much about what products or services were available and at what cost, with what reliability etc.

So, via Google and Yahoo! I’d done a circuit of webconferencing product/services sites on the web. It seemed they all made similarly grand promises and it seemed also that there was nothing available for less than about US$50 a month (in Australian dollars about $67 today). Not a huge amount of money, but with my home based business guy hat on, I was keen to find a more economical deal. Could there be an open source product which would not incur that sort of expense, I wondered? There was.

It’s called Dimdim – no, I don’t know why, although I don’t think that name is going to fly in some countries (mine, for instance – I’ve already had some quizzical looks, as in ‘you’re joking aren’t you?’ when I’ve mentioned it to others).

The product is promising a good set of features:

  • Presentation and Document sharing
  • Audio and video sharing
  • Application sharing
  • White board and Annotations
  • Chat
  • Polls
  • Question manager
  • Record and Archive

I emailed for more information and had a personal response, followed by a very informative Skype chat with one of the team, Sundar Subramanian.

There will be a Community version, free, and an Enterprise version which will have a dollar price tag to cover a range of value-adds.

There is a fairly basic (e.g. soundless) demo on the site. The product has been in Alpha since late July and there is now an Beta alpha download available (26Mb). General availability is planned for Nov 1.

On the Dimdim blog, Sundar provides a commentary on the project’s development, not so much about the technical side of things, which would be over my head anyway, but more in the way of reflections on the process, which I am finding quite interesting.

I’m just downloading the Beta alpha now. I’ll be testing the product and will follow up with a post on that process.

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