Web conferencing allows conducting presentations and live meetings over the Internet. During the session each participant sits in front of his or her computer and is connected to the other participants of the conference via the Internet. The connection can be either a Web-based application or a downloaded application on each participant's computer. Web-based type of the connection requires attendees to just enter an URL (a Web site address) to join the conference.
Internet conference is equally popular with multi-million dollar corporations, as well as with home offices. This method of communicating, sharing information online that connects people located at different places is very effective. Online meeting allows participants conducting brainstorming sessions to find problem solutions, discuss campaigns, logos, budgets, business strategies and so on. Web conferencing saves much time, increases productivity and even saves travel costs. This technology has replaced face-to-face meetings among many organizations due to its higher efficiency.
There are 3 basic types of Web conferencing.
Webcast is an online broadcast that connects participants of the session via the Internet. This type of internet meeting is used mainly for online presentations. Webcast is available for hundreds of recipients simultaneously. But Webcast has limited audience interaction.
Webinar (from Web + seminar) has more interactive features as compared to a Webcast. So it allows conducting online seminars. It is perfect for question-and-answer-type sessions.
Web Meeting is the most advanced type of Web conferencing with the highest level of interaction opportunities. International businesses, corporations with branch offices across the country, companies that practice home working greatly benefit from online meeting. The participants of a Web Meeting can share documents, exchange information and converse in real time. Conducting a Web Meeting is possible even with a rudimentary system, a digital cam and a broadband connection. But the set-ups may vary.
• Slide presentations, created in the Power Point, for instance.
• Live video. Video can be broadcast though a Webcam or a digital video camera.
• Whiteboard with annotation. This feature allows the presenter and other participants make notes on a blank whiteboard, or mark, or highlight important items on the slide presentation.
• VoIP. (Voice over IP). This feature involves audio interaction in real time during a Web conference, via use of headphones and speakers.
• Recording. This enables all persons concerned to view the video record of the conference at a unique Web address at a later time.
• Surveys and polls. This allows the presenter to ask the audience questions with multiple choice answers.
• Text chat. This tool is used for live question and answer sessions for the conference attendees, either for all, or just for two.
• Screen/desktop/application sharing. Allows the attendees view the information displayed on the presenter's screen.
Here are some basic tips that will allow you to conduct your web conference successfully.
• Schedule the online meeting ahead of time, so you have enough time to prepare all necessary materials and information for the conference.
• Upload your presentation to the system beforehand and make sure the slide show works in a proper way.
• Notify the attendees of the meeting in advance. Send e-invitations with the data, meeting URL, exact time, audio materials and other information you find useful.
• If you use a Power Point presentation in your conference, make sure the size of your presentation will be manageable for the attendees with slower Web connections. For that you can limit the amount of graphics or other less meaningful content components.
• If you want a feedback on your presentation in real time, make up questions and include them into your presentation.
• Test the system and make sure all features and applications function well.
• Join the conference 15 minutes before the beginning, as it leader. This will give you the necessary time for the final preparation. You can go over the last minute details to make sure everything is perfectly ready for the session.
• Start the meeting with introduction of the event and its agendas. Try to get the participants involved from the very beginning. Keep your conference at a fast pace. Dynamic style of the meeting will help keep the participants tuned in.
• If you want to have maximum computer performance, close applications that you will not need for your conference. This will speed up the operations.
• When showing some applications or documents during the session, use the full screen option. This will have maximum impact on the participants.
• If you want to share your desktop, make sure your personal information is securely hidden. Remember to close instant messaging and e-mail in order to avoid pop-ups.
Just like any other service, Web conferencing services can be purchased. You can sign up for Web conferencing online. You can find Web conferencing providers on the Internet. There are enough providers on this market today. We offer you a number of Web conferencing service providers on our site. You can compare rates, terms and features they offer. Choose what provider will be the best for your type of business and will perfectly meet your requirements.
The costs of web conferencing services vary from one provider to another. Some providers charge a flat fee per one session, others sell minutes of their web conference connection, or you can find a provider that charges a monthly fee for a certain amount of online meetings per month or for unlimited number of sessions. Some providers offer free trial sessions. This way you can test their service, so you will not buy a pig in a poke.
You will find a lot of Web conferencing companies on the market. On our site you can choose the provider, whose rates fit your budgeting and whose online conferencing tools and features are well suited for the meeting you are going to arrange. Compare conference rates different companies have, find offers with tools and features you will need at your conference. Pay attention to the permitted amount of participants per session.
It will be great to find a provider that offers a free trial session. During the online conferencing demonstration you will discover all pros and cons of the company. Prepare several questions for the staff. If the team is in tune with their product, they will clear up confusing points and will give you detailed information on their services. Find a company that is also interested in collaboration. Such a provider will most likely meet your requirements.
As business Web conference might involve some secret company documentation, strategies and information, every provider is greatly concerned about their customer's safety. In order to protect customers from industrial spies, hackers and other online eavesdroppers, providers offer a number of the following security measures.
• Secure sockets layer (SSL). This tool provides a secure connection between you and other participants of the online meeting through encrypting the information transferred. So, the information cannot be stolen or changed by crooks.
• Password protection. There is a password that is created for every conference. It is sent on a secure e-mail server to each participant. As a leader of the conference, you can assign every attendee an individual access code that will verify their identity.
• Non-persistent data storage. Switching confidential information between servers will protect it.
• Make sure that only limited amount of people have physical access to the network, this will prove the network's security.
It is hard to tell which type of Web conferencing is better. The thing is that these types are targeted at different types of leaders.
Reservationless Web conferencing is automated and available to a customer 24/7 on demand. This type of online conferencing is affordable, easy to use and does not require any advance setup. Reservationless internet meeting is perfect for experienced people, who know all the angles of Web conferencing and do not need help.
Operator-assisted Web conferences are a great help to the newcomers into the world of Web conferencing. With an operator you do not have to think about introducing your speakers, moderating question & answer sessions, announcing the beginning and the end of the meeting. An operator helps the discussion flow. Plus an operator settles pre- and post-conference managerial procedures and technicalities. Event registration services, participant polling, conference recording or re-broadcasting and others are what operators also can do.
When doing the system test you can see a little window with "Video Off" on it, in case your Web cam is not plugged in. Find a sound level meter that is next to a little video window. Plug your mic/headset into your computer and go to the system test. After the system signal speak into your microphone. If the mic works, you will see the sound level meter moves up and down.
If you do not see any moves, right click the "Video Off" and select Settings. You will see a small window with a number of tabs at the bottom. Click on the tab resembling a microphone. Select your sound cart as the source. Check the Microphone Volume slider. It should be set high enough. In this window you will also see a sound level meter that should move up and down as you speak. If this does not help, contact the tech support.