Getting Started With BBM Meetings

The BlackBerryCentral team has been using BBM Meetings for a few months now and we thought it would be appropriate to give a review on our experiences with it. Some have also found that finding and buying a BBM subscription can be cumbersome.

Rest assured, we're here to help.

What Is BBM Meetings?

BBM Meetings combines a cross-platform experience that allows on-the-go meetings with ease. With multiple features like Screen Sharing, Recording, Call-In, HD Video + Voice BBM, Meetings is simply more advanced - at a fraction of the cost of other leading collaboration tools.

Each meeting can host up to 25 people per meeting with ease. If you have a solid connection, you can experience the crystal clear HD Video and Audio giving you the experience of true mobile conferences.

Who Is It for?

BBM Meetings was designed for on-the-go professionals with features that are optimized for mobile devices. 

  • Invite attendees from your local or company address book over BBM or email.
  • Chat while you meet by sending a message to the group, or privately to an individual attendee.
  • No data? No problem - simply dial in from any phone line.
  • Manage the meeting from your device - pass host controls, mute noisy lines, or dismiss attendees and lock your meetings to keep them private.

When it comes to online meeting services, customers are becoming increasingly mobile. While other companies have provided mobile version of their services, the mobile experience they offer fails to meet the needs of the modern mobile professional. According to BlackBerry, there are four main reasons why online meeting apps are failing their customers:

  1. Difficulty scheduling meetings from mobile
  2. Difficulty joining meetings from mobile
  3. Lack of support for presentations from mobile phones
  4. Cost that doesn’t reflect the value for mobile professionals

BBM Meetings is available at a fraction of the cost of incumbent solutions making better mobile collaboration more accessible to more employees. Here’s a quick comparison to show how other collaboration solutions stack up to BBM Meetings:

Smartphone client requirements

BlackBerry 10 OS version 10.2.1 or later, iOS version 7.0 or later, Android 4.0 (ICS)—no support for Gingerbread.

Computer client requirements

Mac OSX with Mac 10.6.8 or later (Snow Leopard or greater) or Windows 8, 8.1, 7, Vista w/SP1 or greater, XP w/SP3 or greater.

Review

As I stated at the beginning of the article, the BlackBerryCentral team has been using BBM Meetings for some time. Overall, the service has been incredibly dependable. We have weekly staff meetings and the service has always helped us conduct them with ease. We initially started off using Google Hangout but due to capacity limits and poor overall quality, we decided against it. Not to demean Google, but Hangouts is simply not designed with team collaboration in mind.

When BBM Meetings was beginning to rollout, the team took advantage of the new product and gave it a try. After the first use, we were definitely hooked. Our team is 20+ and constantly growing which means that BBM Meetings definitely serves our sizable needs well. Surprised by the HD Video + Audio quality, BBM Meetings is definitely one of the best ways to communicate with a large group. We've all used different platforms to join and use BBM Meetings; such as Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, and BlackBerry 10. No matter what platform we used, it was always the same experience. One small nitpick we came across was the inability to screenshare on iOS and Android apart from the browser and photo galleries. This could be OS limitations on non-BlackBerry devices; however, in promoting cross-platform use, it's a little bit annoying to be unable to use this function on a mobile device apart from BlackBerry 10.

One of my favourite features, however, is Gallery View which allows you to see all the meeting participants in one screen. It's extremely useful when delivering a presentation because you're able to see the attentiveness of all attendees;  it feels more like a conference table than a virtual environment.

Another great feature is Screen Sharing where you can present your desktop screen, or mobile screen depending on which method you're using to attend. Whether you're showing off pictures, a website, a project, an email or even the upcoming BlackBerryCentral app, it's a great way to show something quickly without the need to send things around.

One last mentionable feature would be Driving Mode - a function that allows participants to place their meeting in a non-video mode with simple swipe to the right. This keeps drivers focused on the road, while allowing them to listen in on the meeting via the BBM Meetings app. It will automatically mute your microphone, and stop the video from displaying.

 

The Good

  • Easy to use
  • BBM Integration
  • HD Video
  • The ability to join a meeting wherever you may be
  • Dial-in Toll Numbers for non-data participants
  • Screen-sharing
  • Cross-Platform utility
  • Driving Mode
  • Desktop Recording function
  • Secure, Reliable Service
  • Simple invitations

The Bad

  • Trials can take 6 Months + to obtain
  • Toll numbers can be quite expensive for individuals
  • Purchasing a license can be confusing

Feature Requests

  • Live Cast / Webcast function
  • Better name banners for attendees
  • Toll-Free Numbers
  • Easier Sign-up Process
  • PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) integration

Conclusion

BBM Meetings was announced in November of 2014 and has since gained a lot of attention from the BlackBerry community and select enterprises. For us, the service has been a tremendous help and the benefits of the service definitely outweigh any negatives or feature requests. Is the cost of BBM Meetings worth it? Absolutely.

If you're interested in seeing BBM Meetings in action, check out our demo video below highlighting the core features. If you're interested in purchasing a BBM Meetings license, check out our simplified instructions following the video.

Demo

 

How To Purchase

  • The first step to purchasing a BBM Meetings subscription is to Login or Register for an Enterprise Store account. Note: BES is not required for BBM Meetings
  • When you've registered and logged in, search for BBM Meetings in the Enterprise Store:

  • Once the search has resulted in a new page, select BBM Meetings - Annual User Subscription (Item # SPA-60299-011) from the product list presented to you. You should then be redirected to a page that looks like this:

 

  • Click Add To Cart, and proceed to the shopping cart by clicking Checkout. When prompted, select Proceed To Checkout and enter your Credit Card Information & Billing Address.

Here in Ontario Canada, the fee is C$165.00 for BBM Meetings, with HST bringing the total to C$186.45. This fee will vary depending on your location. When you have entered all of the required information, select Complete Order.

 

  • When you have completed your order, and confirmed the purchase, you will recieve a confirmation order. Shortly after, you should receive an activation email.
  • Follow the instructions provided in the activation email to begin using the BBM Meetings service.

That's it!

Want to try out BBM Meetings? Drop me a comment below to have the chance to join some of the BlackBerryCentral team in a BBM Meeting where we'll show you all the cool features and maybe a sneak-peek at the upcoming BBCentral app!

Run into trouble? Drop us a comment below, and we'll do our best to assist - or get you in touch with the right people.

Have a question about BBM Meetings? Feel free to ask!