If you are collaborating on a given project with someone else, whether on the technical or the business side, you have to rely on a handful of tools to ensure proper communication. After all, reaching a final quality product requires communication on the highest level, and this means: voice, chat, screen-sharing, remote control and file-sharing. And while there are quite a few solutions in the market, both free and commercial, it’s important to bring up a software that seems to be ideal for the huge majority of designers and developers.
TeamViewer prides itself in its ease of use, and rightly so. It is a all-in-one solution for the communication channels that I mentioned earlier over the internet. With TeamViewer, you can connect with anyone using the software, regardless of whether they are using Mac OS or Windows (not available for Linux). There are several versions available, the free version on one hand, and the lifetime licenses for the remaining three on the other, priced at $700, $1400, $2600 respectively. It might not seem very economical at first, but then when you see the features offered by the free version, plus the fact that if you choose the paid product, it’s a one-time fee (as oppose to paying a small monthly fee for the rest of your life), it makes more sense.
The catch is that the free version is only for personal use, which means that if you are using it on a freelance project, for example, then you’re breaking the rules. Of course, there’s no way of finding out, but the guys back at TeamViewer are placing their bets on the fact that the users will play fair, or opt for a paid product to benefit from more features.
To use TeamViewer, all you need to do is download the software from their website, and then you can run it directly (no need to install), although it makes more sense to permanently place it on your local machine. And once opened, you arrive at this screen:
All what is left to do, is for the other person to enter your ID number, and then the password that appears above, and voila, you’re in! Once logged in, you can choose the screen to share, and you will both be viewing the same desktop (ideal especially for the designers showing their work to colleagues or partners). You also have the ability to chat using the side window that appears, or with a click of a button, start chatting via VOIP. One of the more appealing features, besides how easy it is to handle and work, is the fact that it works around any firewalls and will never require any configuration from the user.
As for the disadvantages, apart from the fact that you should not be using the free version for commercial use, it limits the usage to one-on-ones, requiring you to get a hold of a paid version in order to invite more people to the virtual meeting.
In conclusion, if you do not rely on remote access and screen-sharing solutions on a regular basis (meaning it’s more of a once-in-a-while activity), and you want the simplest, most straight-forward method of communication on several levels, then TeamViewer might just be the answer. If remote meetings are part of your daily routine, and it’s normal to bring a handful of people scattered all over to the conversation, then you are going to need a paid solution. In which case, you should visit Wikipedia’s page on desktop sharing and compare your options.