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Why Web Conferencing?
Web Conferences enable users to hold collaborative meetings with interactive whiteboard tools, give sales demonstrations with real-time efficacy, stage presentations with full and select moderator control or hold enhanced, multimedia roundtable discussions. With parallel developments in telephony, such as VoIP, and available full duplex webcam support, users can defray the cost of traditional teleconferencing even further. And, with recording and playback tools available in the leading Web Conferencing Service providers, audience members and authorized users can access meetings, presentations and demonstrations again and again or continually reference whiteboard sessions.
Functionality aside, Web conferencing has many economical advantages:
- Travel expenses: Web Conferencing Services can substantially reduce meeting-related travel expenses.
- Material expenses: Web Conferencing Services can reduce overhead related to meetings materials.
- VoIP and beyond: Leading Web Conferencing Services offer VoIP functionality, giving it a serious advantage over traditional teleconferencing and video conferencing.
What to Look For in Web Conferencing Program
Web Conferencing is a fairly recent development, but one that has evolved rapidly and progressed far beyond its initial functionality and capability in only a few years time. As the Internet has accelerated due to new methods of data transfer and new telecommunications media like VoIP have been developed, Web Conferencing has been enriched further, making it possible for meetings to occur in real-time, with hands-on interaction and advanced multimedia integration.
Despite the advances made by Web Conferencing, not all programs are created equally. Below are the criteria TopTenREVIEWS used to evaluate Web Conferencing Services:
Web Conferencing shouldn’t be a cheap substitute for physical, location-based conferences. Rather, they should be an improvement upon them or equal to them. By offering a variety of feedback and interactive whiteboard tools, as well as other features to simplify the meeting process and make ad hoc or improvised meetings a possibility, Web Conferencing can improve the quality of meetings, making them more focused, democratic or a combination of both.
With the development of VoIP and other enhanced telephony, as well as the advancement and integration of webcam and video into real-time efficacy, Web Conferencing should have a variety of telephony and webcam/video options to fuel their meetings and give it the personal touch necessary to remain effective. Many users still find traditional call-in/call-back and toll/toll-free telephony to be more effective than newer VoIP technologies. Web Conferencing providers should offer a variety of telephony functionality and, as is evident in the best of those providers, full integration of a variety of telephony methods for added flexibility.
As the Internet has advanced, evolved and expanded, so too has its threats. Web Conferencing programs should offer seamless security with user registration and authentication and end-to-end encryption while remaining firewall-friendly.
Web Conferencing is fairly complicated. Even those with experience in teleconferencing and video conferencing may find themselves in need of assistance. Web Conferencing programs should come with built-in help menus and step-by-step guides for every stage of the meeting, from initiation to termination. Web Conferencing Services should also provide technical and helpful resources on their site in the form of tutorials, guides, FAQ sections, knowledgebases, direct chat and moderated forums. Many Web Conferencing providers also offer 24/7 support for meetings.
Web Conferencing programs are a functional and cost-effective technology that provides consumers with an alternative to physical, location-based meetings.
Our objective review of Web Conferencing programs rates Adobe Connect Pro the overall best bet but we stress that the most important measure of any Web Conferencing program is how well it meets your personal needs. Take a look at our review of GoToMeeting for another outstanding service that offers Web Conferencing with simplified pricing. Each of the ranked programs has advantages and disadvantages worth considering.