A thorough and informative review of LotusLive Engage from ChannelWeb:
LotusLive Engage combines four major elements that its rivals, Microsoft Online Services, Google Apps and Cisco’s WebEx, do not: social networking for business, dedicated storage, hosted meetings and realtime collaboration tools. While the others each have individual pieces, Lotus has combined them into a single offering that, it appears, makes good business sense. The basic architecture of LotusLive Engage allows for both intranet and extranet group collaboration, which we see as particularly useful in organizations that need hand-in-hand collaboration with third-party contractors, for example, while keeping those contractors at an arm’s length from corporate systems and data.
The article goes on to say:
Each user also has the capability to create a profile — with photo, contact information and the like — to be available to other users also on LotusLive Engage. One key differentiating feature of the application is this: Users, under their accounts, can invite up to 15 “guests” into a meeting, even if those guests do not have LotusLive Engage accounts or any other software installed. That can be particularly useful in engaging colleagues and other collaborators inside and outside a company for realtime engagement.
Where Lotus extends its capabilities is in taking the live meeting and collaboration model and bringing it to a social networking platform. The IBM LotusLive community already has membership from people at scores of companies; invitations to connect and collaborate are easily exchanged on the platform. While it’s possible to connect in a similar fashion on “free” services such as Facebook, the IBM LotusLive community is streamlined for business connection and, simply, working together.
While we’d like to see full cross-platform support, we like and recommend LotusLive Engage for several important reasons. Technically, it takes complexity out of running a meeting and collaboration application; from a pricing perspective, it’s reasonable, given the functionality it brings to bear; and given that use models have changed to leverage social networking as a tool for organizations and, in fact, transactions, the combination of all these aspects makes LotusLive Engage strong on multiple fronts.