Web conferencing services are becoming more and more popular and necessary. With more businesses going global and more and more employees working from home, many businesses have adopted a conferencing service of one type or another.
Depending on the needs of the business, utilizing web conference services may be the best solution. They include the ability to share documents, make presentations and confer with anyone from around town or the world!
With the use of your computer, web conferencing allows you to launch a meeting with all the bells and whistles. The following is a list of services and solutions that web conferencing services accomplish:
If you are not quite sold on the idea of committing to a browser-based conference system, there are other conferencing solutions.
- No software necessary, browser-based system
- Entire audience can see each presentation, document and spreadsheet
- Set-up multiple users as presenters to the group
- Monitor audience participation
- Hand-Raise ability Know when a group member has a question
- Pointer Ability Keep everyone on the same track during the presentation
- Full Screen Enlarge the presentation to fill the entire screen
- Host ability to chat with individuals or different groups
- Present a slide show
- SSL Encryption for ultimate security
- Firewall Protection
Audio conferencing allows members to communicate via telephone. This can include regional, national or global members.
You will need to apply for audio conferencing services if you feel that this is the best solution since most phone systems only allow for three members to participate at one time.
For the most part, free conference solutions are for audio conferences only. Maybe you want to test a provider before committing to their contract or are deciding on the best conferencing solution.
Free conference providers will have limitations, but if you are looking to host a small group, the limitations may not even be noticed.
Microsoft Conference Solutions
Microsoft Live Meeting is the name of the application Microsoft offers. Live Meeting allows meetings to be integrated with Microsoft Office, which can be quite useful!
It offers similar benefits as web conferencing services, but with the added connectivity of Microsoft office.
They offer a standard and professional service. It is recommended to purchase the professional service since this allows the use of all the benefits that Microsoft Live Meeting offers.
A hosted conference offers many benefits. Services vary depending on provider, but for the most part, hosted conferences are mostly audio conferences that have an assistant provided from your conference provider.
The live assistant helps with checking-in, and any technical difficulties that may arise. The assistant is also valuable as an extra security measure. Hosted conferences allow you to focus on your presentation or meetings, while the assistant handles the details of running a smooth meeting.
Web Conference Services Pros:
Web Conference Services Cons:
- Computer requirements are relatively simple and almost everyone utilizing a computer for business purposes will easily meet and exceed the requirements
- Ability to share audio and visual presentations, slide shows or programs
- Easily communicate with each member
Fees can add up quickly. Depending on services rendered, standard web conference prices are about $.49/minuite per user. Audio capability can result in additional charges. If you plan to hold regular web conferences, there are subscription prices but, again, this will vary by provider and generally will require some sort of one-time set-up fee. These fees can range from $1000-$3000.
The following is a sampling of conference solutions known for their ease of use and efficient customer service. However, these providers are by no means the only good and recommended web conferencing providers available.
Highly recommended for their ease of use and ability to start and join secure meetings in merely seconds. They also offer full Macintosh support, Interactive Whiteboard and In-Session File Transfer.
Also known for their ease of use, MeetMeNow offers features such as screen sharing, file transfer and remote access. No special software is required to participate in MeetMeNow meetings.
Of course, only you will know which web conferencing services will best meet your needs. There is a huge need for conferencing solutions and many providers to choose from. Take your time, understand your business needs and by all means, use the free trial options!
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