What is Web Conferencing?

Web Conferencing is conducting live meetings, presentations, training, collaborations, or marketing and product launches via the Internet.  Either an application is downloaded and installed on each of the attendees’ computers, or a web-based application is launched in the attendees browser (usually accessed by clicking on an invitation link distributed by e-mail). Any size organization can benefit from web conferencing from large enterprise companies with overseas branches to the small home based office.

An interactive environment just as if you were sitting in a conference room face to face

You can engage your audiences with all the multimedia tools you need for a meeting or presentation. Interactive and collaboration features vary among Web Conferencing solutions but may include: Streaming Video, Web Cams, PowerPoint presentations, chat, surveys, polls, Q&A, file sharing, applications sharing,  whiteboards, annotation tools, collaborative Web browsing, and file transfer (see the Web Conferencing Store “Feature Comparison“).

Integrated Teleconferencing

Along with viewing a collaborative interface on the computer screen (refer to our Screenshot Layout page to compare interfaces), attendees will also be connected via telephone on an integrated conference call (teleconferencing) to insure a reliable audio connection. There are some situations where the audio will be heard on the attendees computer speakers (audio streaming) such as when doing a WebCast.

As Web Conferencing has evolved and matured, it has grown to meet a wide spectrum of end user requirements. General categories have been defined as: Collaborative, Webinar / Webcasting, and HD Video Conferencing.

Webinars and Webcasts also offer the assurance of problem free connection with an Operated Assisted call and/or the size of your meeting exceeds 125 (up to 1000’s) participants. When personal attention matters most, dedicated operators greet and screen up to 1,000’s of participants for investor meetings, product seminars, focus groups and press conferences.

Webcasting (or Webinars – a Seminar over the Web using Webcasting) is the broadcast of either a live or pre-recorded (on-demand) event over the Internet. See our “What is Webcasting?” page that compares Webcasting to Web Conferencing.  Typically a Webcast is one-way, from the speaker to the audience with limited participant interaction, and may involve the use of streaming audio, video, Q&A, Polls, and slide presentations. Participants connect through a web link, watch Slide Presentations and Streaming Video, while listening to Streaming Audio of the presenter (via one-way VoIP) over their computers speakers. Webcasting products offer scalable solutions that can reach from 100’s to 1,000’s of people.

Web Conferencing Advantages

  • Eliminate unnecessary travel time
    You can participate in meetings around the globe, at a moments notice, and at a reasonable cost
    All this happens from your PC desktop.  You eliminate all expenses and time lost incurred by travel to a meeting destination.
  • Convenience  and ease of meeting anytime
    All the participants join the meeting from the convenience of their desktop PC or laptop, or mobile phone while traveling.  Everyone logs into a designated web page to share their ideas and participate in the meeting. It is same as gathering in a room and participating in the meeting face to face. Only difference between the two is that in web conferencing the room is the web page and the meeting is conducted over the Internet.
  • Team Collaboration
    Whatever you can do in a conference room face to face with your team, you can do in a web meeting. Shared applications, such as, virtual whiteboards, polling, interactive chat, breakout rooms are used to generate ideas during the web conference. You can include presentation tools such as power point, video clips to  help  present your ideas to your team. You can share files, and transfer files and documents to participant desktops in real-time during your meeting.
  • Integrated Audio and Web with video
    Most Web Conferencing Services offers Integrated audio and web with automated dial-out capability and a host of advanced audio features to control your meeting.  It offers personal meeting rooms for breakout sessions and sharing of live video webcam with your participants.
  • Desktop sharing tools
    Participants can share their power point slides, files and documents with other participants. They can also share their ideas as text messages through chat windows, with other individuals participating in the conference.
  • Record and archive meetings
    Web Conferencing enables the host to record and archive an online meeting session. You can upload the file to your web site for instant replay for client product updates, staff meetings, training sessions, etc.

Increasing popularity of web conferencing

The technology is slowly replacing the face to face meetings due to number of benefits which it offers to the organizations. Companies are able to cut down the expenses on travel. The technology helps to overcome geographical and regional barriers when it comes to sharing of ideas, sales presentations, and discussing important strategies with clients and management in overseas subsidiaries.