The rising demand for online collaboration has been further stimulated by time constraints and the need to get swift responses to queries. Resolution of various business challenges without having to change location physically has also necessitated the development of online collaboration platforms that can meet these demands. However, Instant Messengers which are otherwise, very great tools for social collaboration tend to fall far short in terms of security when the focus shifts to matters of corporate confidence. Thus, another gap emerged within the online collaboration space demanding a platform which is capable of providing versatility and security especially for business collaboration. Campfire has come to fill that gap perfectly well with its array of features that satisfies the needs of business people.
By using Campfire, subscribers are able to create chat-rooms within the platform within seconds. The chatrooms are password-protected and the subscribers is able to invite others who may be colleagues, clients or vendors to join the room. Campfire boasts of computer servers that are protected with not just with biometric locks, but also round-the-clock surveillance. Additionally, its computer network enjoys protection provided by enterprise-class firewall thus ensuring adequate guarding against unwanted entry. As the room is password-protected, the conversations taking place therein are secure. Campfire boasts of having being used to send over 60 million chat messages by over 100,000 people to their clients, colleagues as well as other teams. Using Campfire is quite easy for subscribers as it is web-based and therefore, free of any installation hassles.
Signing Up to Use Campfire
To begin, Campfire is another in a bouquet of online service brands that include Basecamp, Highrise and Backpack. It is therefore possible to use the same Basecamp, Highrise and Backpack username and password on Campfire. However, if you have not registered on any of those services, you need to do so on the Campfire platform and registration is free. The process is also a very simple one to undertake. Simply navigate to the Campfire website at Campfirenow.com and click the ‘Sign In’ or ‘Plans and Pricing’ links at the top of the page. The former opens the Signup page. There is a Signup form which contains six fields to be filled as well as timezone. These fields include:
- First Name
- Last Name
After filling these information, simply complete the process by clicking on the ‘Create My Account’ button at the bottom of the form. However, if you clicked on the ‘Plans and Pricing’ button, you will be taken to the pricing page which also allows you to sign up after selecting the subscription plan of your choice. The Signup button on the Plans and Pricing page will however, take you directly to the Signup page just described.
Costs of Using Campfire
While it is free to signup for Campfire, the platform provides great choices for its users wherein they can decide which pricing plan suits their needs and pockets. However, Campfire provides a free plan as well as free 30 days trial period for any plan chosen. Regardless of the plan selected by the user, Campfire will automatically set the account to the free plan if payment is not made after the expiration of the trial period. This allows users to keep enjoying the platform thereafter. The pricing plans are as follows:
- Free: This plan is free of charge and comes with a 10 MB storage allowance in addition to accommodating 4 chatters.
- Basic: This plan costs $12/Month and is ideal for small groups. It accommodates 12 chatters and comes with 1GB of storage. Enhanced security is enabled but Conference calls are not enabled.
- Plus: This plan costs $24/Month. It accommodates 25 chatters and comes with 3GB of storage. Enhanced security is enabled and 500 Conference calls minutes provided.
- Premium: This plan costs $49/Month and is ideal for big groups. It accommodates 60 chatters and comes with 10GB of storage. Enhanced security is enabled and 750 Conference calls minutes provided.
- Top-of-the-line: This plan costs $99/Month and is ideal for heavy users. It accommodates 100 chatters and comes with 25GB of storage. Enhanced security is enabled and 1000 Conference calls minutes provided.
Features of Campfire
Campfire was designed to have many features that make collaboration much easier and very secure for its users.
- Live Image Previews: Users in the chatrooms can upload images in various formats including PNG, JPEG and GIF directly into the chatroom and it will be viewed by all the members of that room.
- Transcripts: Campfire makes a history of chats in the rooms available and these can be accessed at anytime by the users.
- Conference Calling: Users can initiate a conference call right from the chatroom by inviting members to join in. This makes it very possible to follow-through on chat conversations with live calls.
Benefits of Campfire
Campfire offers its users several benefits and these include the following:
- Ease of Use: Campfire does not involve any downloads and installations. Therefore, all the hassles of downloading is sidestepped with Campfire. It is web-based and very simple to use.
- Available on Mobile: Campfire is also available for users on mobile, specifically iPhone. The Campfire iOS app also has the features typically found and enjoyed on the web version. The user interface is streamlined and optimized for iPhone while users are still able to view images, Office document formats, Youtube, etc. Users are also able to access all their Campfire chatrooms right on their iPhones while being guaranteed full SSL support.
- High-level Security: Users who have Plus and Premium accounts enjoy the same level of security being used by online banks; SSL security. Apart from the chatrooms being password-protected, users enjoy the added security of determining joins the chatroom.
- App Add-ons: Campfire enables users to enjoy various third-party applications. These may be iPhone, Mac OS X and Windows desktop applications. They include Flint, Sparks for iPad, Sparkflare and Propane among many others.