Monday, May 4, 2009

Can your business benefit from web conferences?

Do you want to discuss new trading opportunities with your partners in India? Teach English to a group of students in Iraq? Or conduct live meetings with your remote co-workers to show them several variants of the new design? Consider web conferencing. It's a (very) cost effective way of creating a virtual working environment with individuals all over the world.

Here are some basics about web conferencing features and options. Web conferencing is a meeting of several persons for sharing information via the Internet. From multi-million dollar corporations to modest home-based offices, web conferences save time and boost productivity by having decision makers all present in a single secure setting to discuss budgets, tasks, marketing strategies, and other important topics.

Web conferencing has proven to be a useful and rather inexpensive tool for many businesses and organizations, especially in such fields as Sales and Marketing, Team Collaboration, Education and Training, Schools and Universities, Live Tech Support and Corporate Communications.

This innovative online technology has become excellent replacement for in-person meetings among employees and executive boards because it saves travel costs. The employees can attend conferences even if they can’t physically come at the event.

In the beginning of the Internet age, the term "web conference" was often used to describe a group discussion in a message board and therefore not live. In the late 1990s, the first true web conferencing capability became available. After that dozens of other web conferencing plans were launched.

A web conference can be either a downloaded application on each of the participants' computers or a web-based application where the participant simply need to enter a website address to join the conference. The combination of audio and visual components lets attendants interact with one another similar to a face-to-face meeting.

Web conference features:

Typically, a web conference provides the following features:

• Live video to accompany presentations with digital video camera or multi-media files.
• VoIP to accompany presentations with audio.
• Slide show presentations (PowerPoint or Keynote slides) combined with markup tools and a remote mouse pointer help the presenter illustrate the topic.
• Whiteboard allows the presenter and attendees to make notes or highlight items on the slide presentation.
• Message abilities allow attendees to send private message to the presenter, who may answer in private or publish the message to the entire group for discussion.
• Polls and surveys allow the presenter to ask questions with several variants of answers.
• Screen sharing (or desktop sharing) where attendants can view anything that the presenter is showing on his or her screen.
• Meeting recording can record a meeting's audio for later review.
• Access control - if some part of presentation is private, a conference moderator will control what level of access each attendant has.

Ideally you get a product that is secure. A bonus would be getting corporate IM included, or document workspaces.

To try ALL the above features in a single product free for 30 days, sign up at