Genesys Conferencing: Combo PlatterBy Baselinemag | Posted 2006-03-06 Print
Genesys Conferencing offered one of the first combined voice and Web conferencing services as it expanded into North America.
Parlez-vous Web and phone? France-based Genesys Conferencing started life 20 years ago as an automated teleconferencing firm serving Europe, and as a teenager pushed its way to the other side of the Atlantic.
Customers say Genesys was one of the first providers to offer combined voice and Web conferencing services, for a single, per-minute price—whereas competitors like Microsoft's Live Meeting and WebEx still rely on partners to provide audio conferencing and only recently began offering per-minute plans.
For Marriott International, the per-minute pricing model for both Web and audio conferencing provided more flexibility because the hotel chain didn't know exactly how many employees would access the service during a month. "Genesys had the only model suited for ad-hoc meetings," says Tom Maguire, director of Marriott's 20-person remote conferencing business unit. Marriott currently conducts about 400,000 minutes of Web and audio conferences per month, according to Maguire.
Steve Bergman, chief information officer of Goodwill Industries International, opted for a nationwide contract with Genesys two years ago. The job-training organization, which operates 2,000 thrift stores nationwide, had experienced spotty service with another, smaller teleconferencing provider, which he declined to name.
A key factor for Bergman was Genesys' reputation for high-quality service. "We've never had a problem," he says. "Genesys was interested in working with us, and they made the negotiation process really easy."
But Genesys sometimes has a snafu or two. The American Society of Civil Engineers used Genesys' services to present about 75 Web seminars last year for its members on topics ranging from landfill stability to designing traffic intersections. John Casazza, director of continuing education, says Genesys was less expensive than WebEx and seemed to provide comparable features.
On a few occasions, however, Casazza's staff has had technical problems with Genesys' Web conferencing service, including times when participants have been unable to join a meeting. "It doesn't happen often," he says, "but if we can't resolve it in 10 minutes, we've had to cancel the event." For its part, Genesys says it has support staff available 24 hours a day to resolve such issues. And to Casazza, the glitches mainly reflect the state of the technology today: "That's just the nature of live transmission over the Web."
GENESYS OPERATING RESULTS*
Figures converted from euros at period-end exchange rate
Total assets $131.65M
Stockholders' deficit -$14.15M
Cash and equivalents $11.94M
Short-term investments $578K
Long-term debt $82.97M
Shares outstanding 36.62M
Market value, 2/22 $29.66M
**As of sept. 30, 2005, except as noted
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