Saturday, January 21, 2006

web conferencing

What is web conferencing?

Internet technology has rapidly made its way to everyone’s home and at present, right into the boardroom as well. There is no denying the fact that meetings play a significant role in the hasty world of business. A company meeting does not only needs a lot of tedious preparations but can incur high expenses as well. Air cost, taxi fares, hotel fees and the stress of traveling can all be eliminated. How? Web conference is the answer to one’s woes with traditional face- to- face meetings.

Web conferencing has its origin way back in the 1960’s. Even before the World Wide Web has been in existence, PLATO was created. PLATO is a Computer-based Education Research Laboratory (CERL) which was first used by students of University of Illinois. The main concept of the system is to support hundreds upon hundreds of users at a time through one terminal connecting to a mainframe computer. Structured around this basic idea, PLATO gone great improvements through the years with added features like instant messaging and file sharing. As technology prospers, it subsequently created descendants that were commercially sold integrating the present features of a web conference.

In recent years, more companies make us of web conferencing as means of communication for off-site employees and for home based freelancers. And since offices can be located in all parts of the globe, a virtual meeting is one quick solution for restrictions regarding location and time. An increasing number of companies use web conferencing. In 2004, audio conferencing alone boomed into a multi-billion industry almost overnight.

Aside from a corporate meeting, web conference can also be an efficient tool for sales meeting, trainings, seminars, product launches and demonstrations. It is evident that nothing can persuade consumers better than see- to- believe demos and receiving instant answers to on the spot queries.

Web conferencing uses the power of the internet to connect to other participants, wherever they may be. It enables unlimited users to be logged on simultaneously and communicate with each other in real-time. Web conferencing is also known as computer conferencing. One of the first software of this technology initializes conferences through postings or text messaging on virtual message boards. At present, web conferencing uses synchronized and live discussions in addition to forum and bulletin boards.

Most people referred video conferencing as web conferencing. In reality, they are two completely different concepts. Web conferencing offers more features other than seeing and talking to the other person on the other end on a screen. In a web conference, participants can exchange word documents, spreadsheets or presentation. Message boards and co- browsing also makes it even more interactive and effective.

Web conferencing provides dynamic and user- friendly interface. With the integration of JavaScript, intensive HTML/ XML/ ASP, Flash animation and other software, it is still set to improve. Faster bandwidths and developed HyperText Transfer Protocol enhance the virtual conferencing experience with speedy connection and ample virtual space. All these technologies contribute to the efficiency and interactivity of web conferencing.

One can initiate web conference by purchasing web conferencing software or commissioning a hosting service provider. Hosting services already bundled the use of licensed software together with server space. They can charge on per minute, per user or per meeting fee.

Private companies need not worry about sensitive information that might disseminate through web conferencing. Programs do include encryption and security options that can keep highly classified data safe. A personal login name and a unique password are required for all participants for them to gain access to the conference. TLS and SSL encryption is commonly used to protect delicate company information. A firewall can also effectively safeguard a meeting against obtrusive and uninvited users.

The simplicity of this technology is just appealing. Web conferencing can surely be used even by start up companies. For one, it doesn’t need ultra high- tech gadgets. A basic computer (with a video capture card), a microphone and a web camera are three of primary things one should. Of course, every user should have an internet access to connect with the rest of the participants. A telephone can be a back- up tool when audio conferencing is not provided online.

Web conference is a breakthrough technology that every company should at least give a try. Most software and web conference hosting providers can provide free trials that one can take advantage of. Try one and explore what web conference has to offer to increase the productivity of your company.

1 Comments:

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