Web conferencing services are becoming more and more popular and necessary. With more companies going global and more and more employees working from home, many companies have adopted a conferencing service of one kind or another. Depending on the needs of the company, using web conferencing services may be the best solution.
Web conferencing services include the ability to share documents, make presentations, and consult with anyone across town or around the world. With the use of your computer, web conferencing allows you to start a meeting with all the bells and whistles. The following is a list of services and solutions that perform web conferencing services:
1. No software needed, browser based system
2. Every presentation, document, and spreadsheet can be seen by the entire audience
3. Set multiple users as group presenters
4. Monitor audience engagement
5. “Raise your hand” skill: knowing when a group member has a question
6. Pointer skill: keep everyone on the same path during the presentation
7. Full Screen – Expand the slideshow to fill the entire screen
8. Host ability to chat with individuals or different groups
9. Present a slideshow
10. SSL encryption for maximum security
11. Firewall protection
And a quick overview of the pros and cons of web conferencing shows us:
o The computer requirements are relatively simple and almost anyone who uses a computer for business purposes will easily meet and exceed the requirements.
o Ability to share audio and visual presentations, slide shows or programs.
o Communicate easily with each member.
o Fees can add up quickly. Depending on the services provided, standard web conferencing prices are approximately $.49/minute per user. Audio capability may result in additional charges. If you plan to run regular web conferences there are subscription prices but again this will vary by provider and will usually require some sort of one-time setup fee. These fees can range from $1,000 to $3,000.
If you’re not entirely sold on the idea of committing to a browser-based conferencing system, there are other conferencing solutions.
Audio conferences allow members to communicate by phone. This may include regional, national or global members. You should request audio conferencing services if you think this is the best solution, as most phone systems only allow three members to participate at a time.
For the most part, “free” conferencing solutions are for audio conferencing only. Perhaps you want to test a provider before committing to your contract or are deciding on the best conferencing solution. Free conference providers will have limitations, but if you’re looking to host a small group, the limitations may not even be noticeable.
Microsoft conferencing solutions
Microsoft Live Meeting is the name of the application offered by Microsoft. Live Meeting allows meetings to be integrated with Microsoft Office, which can be very useful! It offers similar benefits to web conferencing, but with the added connectivity of Microsoft Office.
They offer a standard and professional service. It is recommended to purchase the professional service since it allows the use of all the benefits that Microsoft Live Meeting offers.
An organized conference offers many benefits. Services vary by provider, but for the most part, hosted conferences are mostly audio conferences with an attendee provided by your conference provider.
The live assistant helps with “check-in” and any technical difficulties that may arise. The wizard is also valuable as an additional security measure. Organized conferences allow you to focus on your presentation or meetings, while the assistant handles the “details” to run a meeting smoothly.
Of course, only you will know which conferencing or web conferencing services will best suit your needs. There is a great need for conferencing solutions and many providers to choose from. Take your time, understand your business needs, and of course use the free trial options!