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Working together: 3 new team collaboration tools

David Strom | July 24, 2014
Flow, Glip and Slingshot try to enhance the ability of teams to converse and collaborate using a variety of tools.

Each session has its own unique identifier that is given out to participants either over the phone or via an email message. This is similar to how WebEx and other video conferencing tools work.

Slingshot offers Android, iOS, Mac (OS X 10.7 or later) and Windows clients (the last of which requires .Net Framework v4 or better and Windows 7 or 8). I had trouble using the screen-sharing feature on a Windows 7 PC with 2GB of RAM: my screens were shown upside down and backwards. I suggest using a system with at least 4GB of memory.

A separate Web client tracks administrative items such as user access and accounting details. You can start sessions from a Web browser but it will then bring up your client for the actual working parts of the app.

Common Office documents can be uploaded, viewed and downloaded as part of a shared session by dragging them into the interface. Users who don't have the client software can participate via a built-in audio bridge (but without a video feed). Sessions can be initiated from a mobile client, which is a nice feature that some of the larger video conferencing services don't yet support.

During an audio/video session, you can also create text chats and meeting notes, just like WebEx and other conferencing tools. They are not archived although they are listed in the Web admin panel. However, there is no event scheduling function.

Slingshot has five different pricing plans. It comes with a free 30-day trial (no credit card required to get started) that can support up to five users sharing a single session. Once the trial period is over, it costs $30 a month for a single active session that can be shared among five users. If you want more sessions, you'll want the enterprise plan at $100 a month for 25 users and five collaboration sessions.

Slingshot is in a very crowded and competitive market for video sharing services and its service needs a bit more maturity and polish before it can compete with more established vendors. If mobile access is important, then LogMeIn's Join.me has video conferencing, scheduling and screen sharing features, along with viewing-only apps for iOS and Android. Join.me is easier to get started and use than Slingshot, and it's free for up to 10 users.

Additionally, if all you want is video sharing, you might want to look at one of the free video conferencing services from StartMeeting, MeetingBurner, Google+ Hangouts or Zoom.

Bottom line

Slingshot's primary focus is sharing your screen between two or more people for a video chat, along with support for document sharing, text chat and meeting notes. For small groups that need these features, the free trial is definitely worth a shot.

 

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