The product is Webinato and it comes from our friends at omNovia. I reviewed omNovia way back two years ago and it is still a player on the webinar platform scene. omNovia offers all your basic webinar functions: polling, slide shows, white board, application sharing plus a couple of innovations: the e-curtain which uses a theater paradigm to keep early webinar attendees out until you’re ready to start showing your slides; and the recast, an enhanced version of webinar recording that allows some degree of real time participation in a prerecorded webinar (such as taking polls or sending comments).
What I’ve always found discouraging about omNovia is a complicated enterprise-oriented pricing scheme that I found expensive and not all that easy to grasp. To the rescue comes Webinato, a slightly less functional version of omNovia with a price point clearly designed to compete with Citrix’s GoToWebinar product. omNovia’s stated goal with Webinato is to offer a webinar platform truly specific for webinars as opposed to collaborative meetings. Hence you won’t find any real time video broadcast and you don’t have application or desktop sharing. The latter is a bit painful in that you might want to demonstrate a desktop app during a webinar. The former is no big loss because as any of you know who have read my stuff before, I don’t place a lot of stock in showing live video of yourself during the webinar. It should be noted that the ability to play YouTube videos during the webinar is still included in Webinato.
So, I mentioned a spanking at the beginning of this piece. Why does Webinato deserve a spanking? The third major feature NOT available in Webinato is the ability to record the webinar. Yes, you read that right. If you want to record your webinar you must upgrade to full blown omNovia. I was absolutely stunned to learn this. One of the most requested features of webinar software is the ability to record webinars for future replay. Considering that Webinato, from a price perspective, is a direct challenge to GoToWebinar, and GoToWebinar has recording capability, you have to wonder what the boys and girls at omNovia are thinking.
This is my guess. As I mentioned earlier, omNovia uses the innovative “recast” method of webinar capture. When you watch an omNovia re-cast, you can participate in polls and make comments. This data is then stored in the back end of the product for subsequent review by the webinar presenter. If you want to post a simple recording of your webinar, you have to actually go into omNovia’s back end and select a recast for conversion into a simple mpeg file. Since all of this is a bit more complicated than a simple straight-to-mpeg approach (like you get with all other webinar platforms), that might account for why omNovia felt recording went outside their price point for Webinato.
Needless to say, I’ve written to my contact at omNovia and requested that simple recording (not recast) functionality be added to Webinato within the current pricing structure. The bottom line is that Webinato is just what the doctor ordered for omNovia fans who don’t like omNovia’s price tag. It comes soooo close to the perfect solution but until recording capability is put back in the product, I predict it will get whupped (or should I say spanked) by the competition.