As I have mentioned earlier on, here you have got the second weblog post around the subject of Meetro, a relatively new beta in the Instant Messaging space and which I mentioned I would be weblogging about it to indicate what are my Top 5 favourite features from this client. As you may have noticed already this is a particular piece of software that I feel would be having its own space within the IM clients already available out there because it provides some unique functionality that other IM clients do not have plus it merges quite nicely with other options already rather popular and available in other related tools.
You may be wondering what this application has got to do with Knowledge Management, collaboration and communities of practice, right ? Well, from my own point of view I think it comes to fill in a gap that all three items above seem to have been missing all along: and that is the fact of facilitating the sharing of knowledge and information, and boosting collaboration, for the mobile workforce, which in some companies, like IBM, it is starting to count for up to 40% of the total population. Which, I think is quite a lot. Yet, there are companies out there where the tools available actually fail to provide that cutting edge advantage of sharing knowledge regardless of where you may be.
I mean, I have been working remotely since 2001 through telecommuting and I have gotten so much to it that I doubt things would ever be the same whenever I need to go back to the office. Yet, I feel that one way or another things could have improved a great deal more in order for those mobile workers to stay connected with the rest of the peers in order to be able to share content in exactly the same fashion as being at the office. So when you have tools like Meetro coming along you just have got to grab them and make extensive use of them in order to go break the tools barrier and just focus on the sharing; again, regardless of where you may be.
So, with all that said, I think it is time now to detail what my Top 5 reasons for using Meetro would be, as a knowledge sharing and collaboration tool for the mobile workforce. I am sure there are others but, at least, these are the ones that I find rather interesting and worth while mentioning:
- Easy to Setup with an almost non existent memory foot print: Indeed, being used to a number of different IM clients where the memory foot print is rather large it is just great to be able to see how there are some IM clients out there as well with a very intuitive user interface after the initial setup and still very manageable. This is particular important for us, mobile / remote workers, since it would allow us to be connected in almost no time and without having to worry about disrupting the machine while staying in touch. Speed of execution and reliability at its best.
- Integration with other popular IM clients: Indeed, I have already mentioned this one in the past. With all of the IM clients available out there one of the key items from any new comer is integration with what is already available out there so that you do not lose your buddy list(s). And the fact that Meetro integrated with AIM, ICQ, MSN and Yahoo! quite nicely is a great option. I know that I have mentioned in the recent past that I had already given up on Instant Messaging but just because I may have done it it doesn’t necessarily mean that others may have. So being able to tap into them from a single unified IM client is just a great option. At least, for me, thinking that I have got multiple buddy lists from all over the place.
- Location Awareness: this is, in my opinion, the one feature that makes Meetro unique. For those people working remotely, or while on the road, it is actually perhaps what will make this particular tool a must-have. Imagine that you are travelling and arriving late at night into a new city to meet up with a customer. You arrived at the hotel because you need to get connected and get the presentations online and you fire up Meetro. Then you find out that two of your colleagues will be in your same town meeting up other customers. So you get together with them and find out that the core presentation materials have changed and you get them from them. You are now ready to go to your customer, do the presentation and enjoy the rest of your evening meeting up your colleagues who helped you before. Amazing, right ? Well, that is what Meetro could do for you from a business perspective!
- A picture is worth a 1.000 words: Indeed, this is one of the other features from this IM client that I really like. The fact that in your buddy list you can have up front the picture from your buddies next to the distance that separates you from then is a superb addition towards instant location notifications that would make a fantastic addition in the always difficult area of social capital using icebreakers. What a better way of getting yourself introduced to your peers than by showing them how far they are from you and also a picture of what you look like or something that would tell a bit more about your character? And all that in a single window without having to do any additional clicks. Pretty slick, I would think.
- Chat History: This is another great feature that I really enjoy very much. When being constantly away on the road, at customer sites or working from home it is always really handy to be able to recall previous chat conversations with your colleagues while perhaps you may be talking to them as well so that you have got a little bit more background. But the main reason why I really like this feature is because by allowing me to keep the chat history while I am busy with it I have got a very good opportunity to capture those knowledge snippets that I could then share in a much more sophisticated repository so that others could reuse that same information at some point.
There you have them. My top 5 features, amongst many others, like adding the MiniMeetro to your weblog, file transfers, working with groups, etc. etc. that I find quite interesting in order to allow mobile workers to come closer to one another and focus on continuing further with the sharing of knowledge and collaborating than having to worry about which tool would fit in their main needs and that of their buddies. Meetro seems to be fitting that profile quite nicely ! At least, from what I have been able to see myself over the last couple of weeks. Perhaps in another weblog post I will review those same features I indicated above and see how they would come across. Reason why I am saying that is because I do hope they will continue to innovate in this particular space and perhaps bring us the power of VoIP mixed up with the location awareness capabilities of Google Maps. At least, those are two of the main features I am missing from other web offerings, like Skype or Frappr. Let’s see how things will evolve over the next few weeks; for the time being if you are looking for an IM tool where locating your colleagues physically is a must-have then Meetro is your best choice. At least, for now.