Here’s one for the I-Want-to-See-It-in-Action-But-It’s-a-Great-Idea File: A company called PhoneTopp, which launched today at the Under the Radar Conference, promises to let you participate in or even lead a WebEx or Microsoft Live Meeting Web confernce on your iPhone or BlackBerry. The company’s service sits as a middleman beween the Web conferencing system and your phone, squeezing presentation slides and video down into phone-friendly size on the fly:
Would it be hard to read slides on a teensy phone display? Maybe, but PhoneTopp will let you zoom in, zoom out, and pan around. One particularly nifty feature: You don’t even have to log on to get into the conference from your phone. PhoneTopp calls you at the appropriate time; answer the call, and it automatically scoots you into the conference.
The company says that it’ll begin offering the service in the first quarter of next year, for $8 to $10 a month. I got a sneak peek yesterday, but it was in video form, and therefore looked flawless; as someone who sits in on more than my share of conferences from odd spots like my car or an airport lounge, I’d love to see it live. And I’ll bet a lot of other WebEx and Live Meeting users would be tickled to have access via their phone, if it worked halfway decently.
As a company, PhoneTopp sounds like it may not have an infinite shelf life: You gotta think that WebEx, Microsoft, and every other company that does conferencing will build their own phone versions eventually. (PhoneTopp told me that Citrix is already at work on a phone version of GoToMeeting, which is why PhoneTopp isn’t planning to support it.) The company says that it knows that there may not be a need for its conferencing service forever, so it’s planning to roll out other collaboration tools that make the Web more mobile over time.