ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Web Conferencing

Updated on July 13, 2009

Web Conferencing Basics

Web conferencing is basically conducting live meetings through the internet. Confused? It's the equivalent of a conference meeting around a table in the boardroom, but not limited to the people sitting in the boardroom!

It is similar to teleconferencing or a phone hookup but it's not just limited to audio or video, you can now share "content" as well. All parties can now examine a document and "mark it up" concurrently, individually and as part of a whole group.

The Evolution Process:

  1. Phone Conference - Many parties able to communicate at once with audio (telephone hook up)
  2. Tele-Conferencing - This was the next evolution bringing video with audio. This is best described as what you see on the news each night, with reporters on opposite sides of the globe able to communicate with each other through a live video/audio satellite feed.
  3. Web Conferencing - This adds live content sharing (electronic documents) to the audio/video and the communication occurs through the internet. It also adds the capability of private/public interaction as well as participation in polls, instant messaging, remote desktop sharing etc

There is a buzz growing in Australia about a new video phone to be released in the third quarter of this year. While this is basically a form of teleconferencing, it can be thought of as a form of web conferencing as it uses the voice over internet protocol (VoIP).

Web Meeting Types

There a number of different ways businesses can have a web meeting. A couple of common types as I understand them:

A webinar is the term used to describe a "web seminar". It is more of a web conference for invited guests or for a specific audience. Just like a regular old seminar, but viewed from anywhere in the world. Often it requires you to register your details in advance so you could be given a link to attend.

A webcast is more like a "broadcast on the web", intended for the general public. It is used for promoting your company or product to no one in particular (well, preferably some sort of a targeted audience!)

Video Phones

AIGURU_SV1 Skype Video Phone
AIGURU_SV1 Skype Video Phone

With the ASUS Eee Videophone AirGuru SV1 you'll be able to enjoy free Skype-to-Skype video and voice calls to friends and family all around the world. You won't need a computer to get connected and it's simplicity itself to set up, enter your Skype Name and password and start calling.

 

Advantages of Web Conferencing

  • Significant reduction in costs (travelling, accommodation, meals, time, hardware, call costs etc)
  • In fact, there are many free web conferencing sites (see below)
  • Not restricted by geographical location, therefore improves meeting participation (attendees)
  • Allows people to work from home if they choose
  • If you have overseas clients or customers, it could improve you customer support capabilities
  • It is a good way to keep logs of meetings as audio/video captures can involve only the push of a button
  • It is the way of the future (just watch all the movies set in a future time!)

Disadvantages of Web Conferencing

  • You require the hardware of a computer, camera, some software perhaps, depending on your web meeting service provider.
  • You'll need a relatively quiet location to hold the web conference (ie low background noise) but this is typically catered for in an office or home environment.
  • In the past it might have paid to have a tech savvy person on standby in case some of the set up goes wrong. However these days if you are using a web based service all you really need to do is log on and that's it. If you're new to web conferencing, you might want to watch a tutorial on how it works. Easy.
  • Depending on your business model it is sometimes best to do business face to face, with a handshake. So don't rely heavily on web meeting services or it could have a negative impact.

Free Web Conferencing - Dimdim Overview

Web Conference Solutions

These are some of the better known players providing Web Conferencing Solutions.

  • Adobe Acrobat Connect (free trial, pro from $39/month, unlimited meetings with up to 15 people)
  • Dimdim (free for 20 people forever, pro version cost = 1/10th of WebEx)
  • GoToMeeting (free trial, pro from $39/month for annual plan, unlimited meetings with up to 15 people, webinars up to 1000 attendees)
  • Microsoft Office Live Meeting (free trial, standard plan $4.58/month for up to 5 users, 15 participants, professional users $15.42/month for 5 users, up to 1250 participants)
  • WebEx (this is generally regarded as the "Grand Poobah" of Web Conferencing. But it's expensive. Unlimited online meetings for $59/month, free trial)
  • Zoho (this looks like it has a heap of functionality - just check out the home page, but one on one meeting free, everything else $12 per user per month)

THE NEXT BIG SOCIAL MEDIA EXPLOSION?!?

While this is probably not really related to web conferencing sites or software, it did capture my interest:

Qik is free mobile live video streaming for anyone, anywhere. Twitter provides real-time searching where as Qik is real time video streaming. (It could be the next big social media explosion!) It can be used to stream a video of an event from your mobile phone (that can be set to private if you choose) and is recorded automatically for others to see on Qik.com.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Ozman 

      8 years ago

      You may also have a look at Banckle Online Meeting http://banckle.com/products/online-meeting/default... It supports all advanced features for web conferencing, webinars, audio and video conferencing. You can also share an application, PowerPoint presentations or whiteboards with anyone from anywhere. The pricing is very flexible and subscription starts from just $9/Month http://banckle.com/pricing/online-meeting/

    • marcofratelli profile imageAUTHOR

      marcofratelli 

      9 years ago from Australia

      There's an interesting idea! Although maybe something like Skype would be good for personal video calls.

    • andromida profile image

      syras mamun 

      9 years ago

      well written and very interesting article.I think we hubbers can meet through web conference.

    • profile image

      Brian 

      9 years ago

      That is a GREAT post on conferencing, which is really gaining speed in the market. I can recommend a great conferencing guide for newbees to use when figuring out how to get started. The “Quick Start Guide for Web Conferencing”, which I got on Amazon.com, got me up and running in about 25 minutes:

      http://www.amazon.com/Web-Conferencing-Quick-Start...

      I read that the www.webconferencingcouncil.com had a non-technical relative of equipped with a a Dell E6400 with Windows XP, complete with built-in camera & microphone test this book to see if it was truly a quick start. This relative was able to start a multi-point meeting in 17 minutes, was able to share her desktop and present an online presentation (Microsoft PowerPoint) in under 25 minutes, and even started using the voting and whiteboarding features within 30 minutes - all of it witnessed but uncoached. I was a little bit faster but I am more technical than most.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom rubenoff 

      9 years ago from United States

      Very interesting stuff, Marco. Thanks!

    • profile image

      Sandra 

      9 years ago

      This article is very helpful! Another solution I would suggest is Rhub. http://www.rhubcom.com They offer a hosted and appliance approach to conferencing.

    • marcofratelli profile imageAUTHOR

      marcofratelli 

      9 years ago from Australia

      Thanks for reading guys. Second Life? I've never used that but I know people who use it regularly, it seems to be mor exciting than their real life!

    • Zollstock profile image

      Zollstock 

      9 years ago from Germany originally, now loving the Pacific NW

      Great insights. This is such a cost-effective approach to conducting meetings. I wish some of our local (and not-so-local) non-profits and government institutions would stop scheduling expensive retreats at fancy hotels with catered buffets and just get with the program. I work for an online education program, and we've used DimDim and (believe it or not) Second Life to facilitate virtual conferences for small groups .. with more or less success ;-).

    • profile image

      Conrad2010 

      9 years ago

      Well done very informative.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)