The New WebinarJam: Announcement #5

Hello Beautiful People (Can you tell how excited I am?)!

I’m very pleased to announce that Stage 1 of the New WebinarJam is officially in Beta.

And it’s awesome.  This single new deployment of the JamSession Room is going to improve the reliability, quality, and ease of use of your Webinars DRAMATICALLY.  And this is only the FIRST of THREE stages of our planned WebinarJam Improvement.  But I don’t want to get ahead of myself…

What is it?

Stage 1 introduces a brand new Virtual Meeting Room technology.  We call it The JamSession Room, and it’s where you will conduct your Live Streams, Webinars, and Virtual Presentations.  It completely replaces the Google Hangouts Room that previously worked pretty good… when it felt like it.  I’m not bitter.

That JamSession Room technology is where you and your presenters will gather to share webcams, share your desktop, or share application windows so you can give your demos or show your slides.  It’s elegant (And will get even better), it’s beautiful (And will get even better), and even though all JamSession Powered Webinars will now run on our cluster of cloud-based servers, it’s a 100% FREE Upgrade to ALL current WebinarJam Users.

Thank You.  I saw a Facebook post yesterday where someone said that we’ve always placed our loyal customers on a pedestal – and that means SO much to hear someone recognize what is actually a company policy.

What’s Changed?

We’ve managed to (So Far – the beta test will tell us more) keep most of the things people loved about WebinarJam’s webinar room, and got rid of (Most of) the things people were less than thrilled with.

The Good Stuff:

  • Hybrid Video Injections – Work Better than Ever.
  • Attendee Spotlight – Awesome
  • Feedback Flow – Yes!
  • Polls, Surveys, Call to Action Buttons – You Bet.

Even Better Stuff

Remember how in Google Hangouts you could only have 1 person on the screen at a time.

Yeah, no.  That was lame.  Check this out:

JamSession Room will simultaneously display up to 6 HD Full Frame-Rate WebCam sources - Simultaneously.

That’s right.  The JamSession Room will simultaneously display up to 6 HD Full Frame-Rate WebCam sources – Simultaneously.  (The look Donna is giving me is because I was doing The Robot during our last testing session #DontQuitMyDayJob.)

And The JamSession Room scales gracefully, giving more bandwidth to individual signals as there are less signals to transmit.
hare your screen with Thumbnails of all of the presenters

Of course, you can share your screen with Thumbnails of all of the presenters across the bottom of the interface, and in a future revision, we plan on rolling out Picture In Picture, where your webcam is a thumbnail while your screen share is the primary source.  That will be something that happens closer to Q1.  

Even Cooler Stuff:

Because we’re able to skip the use of a GooglePlus connection to YouTube Live and can connect directly to YTL – the delay between you and your attendees has been cut in half.  Solid, low latency wired connections via a quality ISP are showing delays in the scant 8-12 second range.

What Do I do? Cause I want this shizzle!

Nothing.  You’re gonna get it.  Here’s how it will work:

We’re obviously balancing being cautious and expeditious.  We want you to have this new tech, but under conditions of Tank-Like Stability.  So, this week, we’re rolling out Beta Accounts to Users that have helped us in the past with testing.

Depending on how it all goes, We’ll begin provisioning accounts SYSTEM WIDE.  The timetable is always subject to what we find that needs fixing, but taking an optimistic view, we could be starting the roll out in 7-10 days.

You’ll know you’ve been given access to the JamSession Room because your User Interface will indicate that you now have JamSession Beta Capability.  There will be a notification in your dashboard.

What Can I do with it?

Try to break it.

Remember, this is a BETA product.  It will absolutely have glitches and bugs.  While we’ve done our level best to test the ever living poop out of it, everyone’s machines, set ups, locations, etc. are different.  That’s why we put it into Public Beta – so you can tell US what you find that needs to be fixed.

Can you give a Webinar with it?  Absolutely.

Should you give a Webinar with it? If that Webinar is critical to your survival – then NO.  

Remember, as amazing as our Developers are, the prospect of Simultaneously mixing, syncing, managing, and encoding 6 streams of High Definition Video from unstandardized computers and ISPs is HARD – that’s why we’re pretty much the only people that are doing it in this capacity.

Just know the honest, unvarnished truth – we don’t know what could go wrong because your situation is different than ours.  So, while we encourage you to test it TO DEATH, just know that things could break – and if they do in the middle of an important webinar, while I absolutely feel your pain, that’s what is possible with the Beta.  We cool with that understanding?

Cool.

Finally, there will be a bug-reporting process.  As an Honor-Agreement, if you’re going to Beta Test this technology for us, you are also agreeing to report any bugs that you find.  That’s really important, and I hope you help us to help you.

What’s Next?

If you’re on the Original Beta Designation List, we’ll be contacting you shortly with Instructions.  As that process progresses, we’ll update everyone with our next anticipated roll out, and additional considerations when using the JamSession Room for your Webinars.

While this is the end of this communication, it really is the beginning of a NEW Era of WebinarJam.  Over the coming weeks, you’ll see WebinarJam deploy new technology and features that are simply not available ANYWHERE – for ANY PRICE.  We like it that way, and we know that our customers like that too.  There is more exciting news ahead, including a massive re-design along with some crowd-favorite features that you’ll soon wonder how you ever lived without.  

Special Thanks to our Ever-Jam Development Team, led by Raul Predescu and Hector Yague.  They’ve given up countless weekends and regular sleep to bring you this opportunity, and their contribution and innovation cannot be understated.

And thank YOU.  I know that WebinarJam started humbly as a Plug-In for Google Hangouts.  But because of the loyalty, support, and enthusiastic cheerleading of our customers, we’ve stretched to make it become something extraordinary.  Your support has made our jobs very fulfilling.

XOXO,

Andy Jenkins

CEO, Genesis Digital

 

The New WebinarJam: Announcement #4

Good News!

Google has updated their API and we’re now able to start a webinar with Hangouts on Air using the automated process again!  Effective tomorrow, you’ll no longer be redirected to your YouTube channel to manually create your live session.

(And the crowd roars!)

As a reminder, WebinarJam’s simplified start up process is:

  1. Open your webinar owner link.
  2.  Log into your google account
  3. Wait for the start broadcast button to fully load
  4. Enter the room in the WebinarJam right sidebar
  5. Start your broadcast!

Tomorrow morning (Nov 18th) at 10:05 AM Pacific Time, we’ll be updating the process to your accounts.  If you are broadcasting a live webinar at that time, you will be completely fine, this update will have no impact on a webinar in progress.

Before you login to WebinarJam after the update tomorrow morning, you’ll need to take three steps to ensure you have the update fully installed in your account.

Step 1. Clear your cookies.
Step 2. Login to your WebinarJam Account
Step 3. Refresh Your Browser

This update is the first in a long line of good news we’ll be bringing you over the next few weeks.

Update on JamSession Room BETA

We are still moving forward with our plans for the Jam Session Room beta, our replacement for the Google Hangouts broadcast room.   We expect to have a final round of performance testing on Tuesday with our entire staff.

We will start granting access to the Jam Session Room to some select power users next week, and based on results, roll out the beta version to all users, in stages, shortly thereafter.

Thank you for your loyalty and support as we’ve navigated this Google change.

Keep Jammin’,

Andy Jenkins
CEO, Genesis Digital

The New WebinarJam: Announcement #3

Hey Everyone!

I apologize for not shooting a dedicated video for this update, but I’ve got a pretty good excuse…

We’re TESTING!  🙂

As hoped for, two weeks ago we called out that our first WebinarJam JamSession Room milestone would be achieved in about two weeks.

Lo and behold, we made our deadline (Cue Fanfare!!!).

So, let’s talk about what that means, what happens next, and answer some questions.

First, if you haven’t been keeping up – I STRONGLY recommend that you first watch these two update videos:

WebinarJam Update #1 – The Exodus from Google Hangouts has Begun.

WebinarJam Update #2 – The 3 Phases of The NEW WebinarJam

Watch those videos first, and then go ahead and dive into the rest of this update – trust me, it will make a lot more sense if you do.

What The JamSession Room Milestone Means

The JamSession Room is part of our “Stroll Phase”, as referenced in Update Video #2, and in this image below:
Stroll Phase

We have fully integrated the new Virtual Meeting Room into the core of WebinarJam.  As of this moment, we are testing the new technology with currently existing WebinarJam features.  We’re checking to make sure that things like:

  • Feedback Flow
  • Attendee Spotlight
  • Video Injections/Hybrid Webinars

…and other features that were built to work with Google Hangouts are now working and stable with the JamSession Room.

We’re making sure features like Screen Share work both on a Window/Application basis as well as a “Share Full Desktop” mode.

And we’re ensuring that the 6 Presenter maximum is reliable for folks that want lots of Presenters on their Webinar.

What Happens NEXT?

We plan on internal testing taking about 2 weeks.

At the conclusion of that testing, we’ll start to roll out BETA access to The JamSession Room to our members.

When that happens, BETA TESTERS will be able to chose the webinar provider when they configure their webinar, as you see in the image below:
BETA TESTERS will be able to chose the webinar provider
Obviously, we’ll have more documentation for our users when The JamSession Room becomes available. For the time being, we wanted you to know that this is designed to be a fairly smooth process.

Beta Testing will be in 2 phases:

  1. Limited Roll Out
  2. System Wide Roll Out

The Limited Roll Out will be organized internally to reduce the risk of failure.

The System Wide Roll Out will be to all current members.

In other words, everyone gets to be a Beta Tester.  🙂  So, don’t worry, all you have to do to get Beta Access to The JamSession Room is be a customer.

The Bottom Line:

I’m happy to report that progress is as designed.  As always, there could be unforeseen challenges anytime brand new technology is put under load, and we’re aware of the risks.  That said, we’re pretty excited about this first stage of the New WebinarJam.

Questions (and Answers)

I’m sure you can imagine that we’ve received hundreds of questions.  And I get it – there’s a lot going on, especially when you consider that The JamSession Room is just ONE of THREE update phases.

The 3 new WebinarJam phases
For the time being,
we’re going to remain focused on answering questions having to do with the transition from using the Google Hangouts meeting room to the JamSession Room.  As we clear through each of our milestones, we’ll dig deeper into the next phases of WebinarJam.

Operating from that principle, here are some answers as a bit of a recap:

  • What’s the status of the New Release?  When?

We’re on track with The JamSession Room, which is part of our Stroll Phase.  We’re transitioning from Integration to Internal Testing.  If the winds are with us, we hope to begin Phase 1 of Beta Testing in about two weeks.

  1. What key features are changing in the First Phase?

Not many.  You will continue to be able to:

  • ScreenShare
  • Use Video Injections
  • Use Attendee Spotlight
  • Have up to 6 Presenters
  • Have massive webinars
  • Use Feedback Flow…

Plus, we’re in the process of bringing back “The Green Room” feature (Google killed it in Hangouts – The JamSession Room will bring it back).  You’ll be able to huddle with your co-presenters before and after a webinar without broadcasting that signal.  This feature MAY be a bit delayed (i.e. longer than two weeks from now), but it’s definitely in process.

While we might still encounter a situation where we’ll need to modify or change a feature, our intent is to keep all of the features that are loved about WebinarJam Studio, and with the deployment of the JamSession Room, make the process of having a webinar as simple as possible.

2.5. What new features do you plan on for the Final New WebinarJam (Phase 3).

This list is incomplete. However, currently, we plan on rolling out the following features when we get to Phase 3 (I don’t have a time frame, as said timeframe depends on the first 2 phases)

  • All New PageBuilder – More Flexible Templates and Design Options for your Registration, Thank You, and Replay pages.  Now, your webinar pages can perfectly match the look and feel of your brand.
  • Password Protected Webinars – Each Attendee will be given a unique Password to log into a webinar, putting an end to signups with fake email addresses.
  • Slides from the Cloud – Upload your presentation to our server and control it from the WJ interface.  This will clean up the quality of your presentations and give your presentation computer more upstream bandwidth to use.
  • ExpressJam – Set up a webinar with just 3 clicks.
  • Smart Preferences – Set up your webinar preferences Globally, and save time when you use them every time you configure a new webinar.
  • New Automations – Communicate with your registrants and attendees based on their behavior, and customize the messages they get after they take (or don’t take) a specified action.
  • File Sharing – Upload files to distribute to your attendees during the webinar.  Give them a Brochure, Handout, Homework, Application, etc.
  • InLine Help – Now you don’t have to be the only expert in your company.  Helpful instructions and examples are delivered directly in the WJ interface so your assistant can set up your next webinar.
  • FaceCast – Broadcast your webinar to FaceBook Live.
  • Integrations – Deeper integrations with 3rd Party apps, including Zapier.
  • The JamCast Engine – Complete control of your broadcasting signal. Real-Time transmission with no watermark.
  • And… more
  1. Is there anything to Download?

For Presenters, there is a small download that enables the features in The JamSession Room.

As always, attendees will have to download NOTHING.

  1. What’s this going to cost me?

As we’ve demonstrated throughout our history, our policy is to continue to improve upon our service without causing financial issues to our customers.

Therefore, Both the JamSession Room, and the NEW FEATURES of The NEW WEBINARJAM are included in our customer’s subscription.

🙂

The JamCast  Broadcast Engine (the final phase of our roadmap) is an optional service. That service will not only be affordable at a retail level, we will also offer our typically generous incentives to current customers.

The Soar PhaseIf you want to learn more about Phase 3, Check Out this part of Video Update #2.

Thanks for tuning into this Update.

I hope to have a further progress report (now that we’re testing internally) within a week’s time.

In the meantime, we understand that you will continue to have questions, especially as we get into later phases of development.  We are very focused on our first phase, and that’s where our attention will be for the next few weeks. If we don’t answer a question pertaining to a later phase of development, please don’t take it personally – there’s a LOT of information to deliver in every phase, and we’re trying to keep everyone focused on the improvements that are dead ahead, as well as assuage any subscription concerns.

Feel free to ask whatever questions you like.  As we near those development milestones, we’ll meet you with answers.

Thanks very much for being a customer. We’re looking forward to giving you this new technology so you can take your Livecasts, Webinars, and Virtual Events to the next level!

XOXO,
Andy Jenkins

P.S. Have you been wanting to try WebinarJam without the full year commitment?

Now you can! Sign up for our free trial here.

20 Ways WordPress Rocks the Casbah

A few weeks ago, we released a comprehensive list called “The Genesis Digital Company Tool Kit”, in an effort to spare you the time that it takes to narrow down a quality, reliable list of tools, services, and platforms. In that same vein, we certainly know there is no shortage of choices to create your website, but WordPress is so, so easy to love. There are some that still consider it a fledgling program, but it was actually first introduced in May 2003. In the terms of technology that makes it a wonderfully mature option.

Today we’ve got 20 reasons a small business owner should consider using WordPress for their website.

  1. Unique
  2. Secure
  3. Regular updates
  4. Mobile Friendly
  5. Easy
  6. Plugins
  7. Free
  8. Room to grow
  9. Popularity
  10. Search Engine friendly
  11. Privacy
  12. Memberships
  13. Syndication
  14. WYSIWYG
  15. HTML
  16. Scheduling
  17. Pages
  18. Discussion
  19. Levels
  20. Change is easy

Let’s discuss one by one…

  1. Unique! WordPress has a tonnage of themes and plugins (read: A LOT) that can make a website that’s as unique as your business, even if you use a popular template.
  2. Secure!  If someone has an issue with WordPress security, this is generally because they are using plugins or themes that are outdated. Or, they may even be using an outdated version of  WordPress itself. Updates are always important for any software, site, or platform. Speaking of…
  3. Regular updates! WordPress, its themes, and plugins are regularly updated. This means advances in technology and security all trickle down to you and your website. You get the benefit of having many coders all working to keep your website safe and ready for the latest technology and devices.
  4. Mobile Friendly! As we all know, every year Apple introduces a new iPhone, currently up to seven generations, and most of us clamor to get each new iteration. Now, think about all the other companies, even Google, who put out phones and tablets, generation after generation. It’s a lot and makes  it hard to stay current. Fortunately, most WordPress themes and plugins are mobile friendly, which means you don’t need to do a lot of extra coding in order to make certain your website is easily readable on a variety of devices. Plus, those updates mentioned above make certain it keeps working as you expect.
  5. Easy! Many hosting services offer a free program that will install WordPress for you.  You can even have a programmer or IT colleague add plugins that allow your site to operate as easily as possible.
  1. Lots of Plugins availableThere’s an app for that! Ok, so in WordPress they call it a plugin, you say potato… Anyway,  95% of the time there is a plugin that will do just about anything you want within WordPress.  There are even business specific plugins! Hoo-Rah!
  2. Free! While you will need to pay for hosting and a domain name, WordPress is free. This includes so many themes and plugins. There are also very reasonably priced paid themes, but you can find great options for nothing!
  3. Room to grow!  Just starting out? Get a free theme and plugins.  Add posts and pages yourself.  Later, hire a Virtual Assistant (VA) to help design and layout pages.  Eventually you can even get a full time WordPress Editor or Website Designer to do all the work in keeping the site updated and everything customized to your business.
  4. Popularity!  Even if you have customized every option possible, it’s still super easy to hire someone who can easily familiarize themselves with your website needs.  It also means there are lots of options for plugins and themes!
  5. Search Engine Friendly! Add Yoast SEO (hint: It’s a WP plugin), or you can easily edit your articles and pages to make them even more Search Engine Friendly yourself.
  6. Privacy! We just mentioned how search engine friendly WordPress is. However, if privacy is your concern, it can be hidden, either the full site or individual pages. You can password protect any page without adding any plugins, or use a plugin or membership program to password protect whole sections. Speaking of…
  7. Memberships! WordPress is great for creating membership websites, whether you want to drip content to members, have it all delivered at once, create communities, or allow members to share content amongst themselves. Have at it, because you can do it!
  8. Syndication! All your articles can be automatically converted to RSS feeds that can be syndicated to blog directories and other article curation sites.

 Offers WYSIWYG and HTML

  1. WYSIWYG! It’s a crazy word that means “What you see is what you get”. Quite simply, rather than writing a bunch of code, you can make edits without waiting for a web designer. This means you can create a new article whenever you feel like it. When you’re a busy entrepreneur, this time saving feature can be a lifesaver.
  2. HTML! While that Visual editor is great, the HTML/Text editor is equally great… important, even.  With it, you can easily insert our WebinarJam Embed Button or any other code onto a page!
  3. Scheduling!  This week you have time to write five articles. Next week, you know your schedule won’t allow you time to write even one… no worries. Just plan two articles this week, two articles next week and then you have an extra article for use when you need it.
  4. Pages! WordPress was originally created as a blog software program. However, it’s also a Content Management System (CMS). This means it allows you to create a number of pages to build a permanent website, organize them under parent pages, and a “blog” portion to use for updates or regular articles (like this one!).
  5. Discussion! Spammers are everywhere, and a few can sneak in under the radar, but you will get your share of great comments, as well.  You can edit comments to remove other brand mentions, or delete a whole comment if you don’t feel it benefits you or your readers!
  6. Levels! Of access, that is! The administrator can set up multiple different users and allow them different layers of access for everything from editing the full website to article posting.
  7. Change is easy! With WordPress, instead of having to code every page when you make a change, you can instead install a new theme, customize it, and your site will look brand new again!

BONUS “Rocks the Casbah” Reason…

  1. Autosave! WordPress now regularly autosaves posts. If you’ve done a lot of work on an article and suddenly your internet drops off before you’ve had a chance to save… No worries!

Convinced? In case you didn’t know, this blog is a WordPress site and we love it!

Be sure to checkout www.Kartra.com if you’re in the market for a CRM.

Do you use WordPress? Have any tips or tricks you’d like to share with us? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so leave them in a comment below!

The New WebinarJam Announcement #2

Here’s a summary of what the video explains…

Release of the Google hangouts replacement for WebinarJam will happen in three phases:

  1. Stroll – coming up in just a couple of weeks
  2. Sprint
  3. Soar

 

 

WebinarJam actually works in two parts:

  1. The Room
  2. The Broadcast

Google Hangouts is the current Room. Google Hangouts on Air is the current broadcast.

During the Stroll, the JamSession Room replaces Google Hangouts Room. Youtube Live replaces Hangouts on Air.

If you wish to continue using Hangouts, you can.

Key Stroll Points:

  • BETA testing of the JamSession Room (everyone is a beta tester!)
  • Takes place in current interface
  • It is 100% FREE and OPTIONAL
  • Connects to Youtube Live Broadcast via direct protocol
  • Will have advanced features in later stages

Key Sprint Points:

  • BETA testing the New WebinarJam
  • Takes place in new interface
  • Many NEW features
  • You will be able to import WJS webinars into NWJ
  • FREE to all current customers

Key Soar Points:

  • All NEW optional service
  • Premium broadcasting engine with custom options
  • Low Latency (very near real-time)
  • No Google or Youtube Watermark
  • High attendee limits
  • Very affordable with generous incentives to current customers
  • Will have several broadcast options, including BYO-Broadcaster

Check out all the amazing features on WebinarJam and start jamming today! 

 

FAQ

  1. Should I schedule a webinar I have in December now, or should I wait? It is totally safe to go ahead and schedule your future webinars. All your registration links will continue to function just as they do now.
  2. How will this affect EverWebinar? This will have zero negative impact on your EverWebinars. The UI remains the same as you are currently accustomed and you can still use the source video of your choice.
  3. Will I still be able to take my webinars and still make them EverWebinars?
    Yes, absolutely. Your integration capabilities stay as convenient as they are now.
  4. Will my recurring webinars, replica replays and existing webinar links work? Yes, those features will continue to work. Video Injections will IMPROVE and will automatically get recorded in your replica replays. Your RR will still function streaming directly from YT and you can still import them from EW.
  5. Will attendees be limited? No
  6. Will I have to learn a totally new system over again? No. Your user interface will remain almost identical to the one you are currently using, with one exception. Starting a webinar will be EASIER.
  7. Will the recordings still be on YouTube? Yes. Anytime you broadcast via Youtube Live with the JamSession Room, a recording occurs on YT.
  8. Will there still be a 30 second delay? Nope
  9. Will viewers need to download an app? No
  10. How can I be a BETA tester? Just keep being a customer 🙂