Wednesday, July 12, 2000

Show the World Your Wares

My last meeting in town was also out-of-town. I went from Qubit in Lakeland to MShow in Highlands Ranch. Vast stretches of land were being carved into by developers for housing developments and office parks. And off the Lucent (Technologies) exit on the highway, the modern building with MShow's logo on the front aided my driver in navigation. I sat down with Bob Ogden, Chairman and CEO of Mshow, to participate in and observe a live demo of their technology. We saw Frank in our video player (the client wraps itself around Real Player or Windows Media, but currently doesn't support Apple's Quicktime) and could click on the map menu option to see where everyone else who was participating. From the conference room we were in, Bob let Frank (who was in one of their video studios) know we were there by "whispering" to him via the Instant Messaging client. Frank directed us into a Powerpoint presentation that he controlled and showed us the results of a poll we'd just taken in real-time. When he pulled up a Web site for us to view, we could go off on our own and search, and be brought back into the demo by him administrating and clicking to the next page he wanted to show.

You may be thinking this is one of those pieces of technology that's tough to use and impossible to access without a super-deluxe-multimedia system on your desktop. Think again! With a 28.8 modem, users can join the interactive experience and still participate. One of the beautiful aspects is the ability to switch between communicating via IM, video (with a web cam) or the telephone. You can click on the Phone icon in the menu bar and up will pop a message box instructing you where and how to call into the conference. MShow's 800 number is just one of the ways they take care of the full show and demo for clients. They'll also archive it for you for 30-days and sell it to you after that. Bob and I left the conference room, and he walked me around their new offices. I saw the many rows of cubicles of show handlers (who assist clients in every detail with producing their demo), sales, producers and all the other necessary elements to a thriving dot-com company.

Mshow has two years under its belt and a bunch of Fortune 5000 clients: Qwest, who uses MShow for product rollouts to their sales team; Cisco, who demos to their VAR channels; and, who targets end-users with the demos. And with its ability to work on a 28.8 modem up to a fast-speed connection, even through a firewall, this product has the pervasiveness, reach and impact Bob aims for it to have. In fact, one of their mottos is "reach everybody," and with the flexibility in the client, it seems possible they might. Stay tuned for a possible demo and CyberScene TV show using MShow!