Web Conferencing: There's Probably More to it Than You Think
“What’s the difference between a video and a web conference?”
While video conferencing can be incorporated into web conferencing and they do have certain similar features, the two technologies are fundamentally different.
The terms are often used interchangeably in the workplace but they serve two different purposes.
Here’s what you need to know:
Web conferencing is a form of real-time communication in which multiple computer users that are connected to the internet can all see the same screen at the same time.
Web conferencing is popularly used to conduct a web meeting and various ‘eLearning’ tasks such as training modules.
Webinars, or a web version of a seminar, are also one of the biggest uses for web conferencing, with the ability to extend your reach to as many people as you want worldwide with the use of webcasting.
Web conferencing differs from video conferencing in that it is all about disseminating large amounts of data to large numbers of people.
While there are interactive features that you can use with web conferencing, the focus is not necessarily on hearing what people have to say, even though web meetings can be a way to collect feedback (but more on that later).
Video conferencing is all about the human connection and face-to-face communication between two or more people.
It is used when understanding the people that you’re communicating with is paramount, along with guaranteeing that all participants are paying attention at all times.
Web conferencing tools allow employers to give their IT department remote access to their employees’ computers, no matter where either party is in the world.
This can enable companies to outsource their support departments and it decreases the amount of time your employee has to wait to receive assistance, thus increasing overall efficiency.
It helps businesses with their customers, too.
No more confusion while communicating or repeating instructions over the phone or instant message – your customers will be able to watch as their problems get fixed on their computers right before their eyes.
It’s that easy.
It can be difficult to hold an impromptu meeting when the people you need to meet with are not local.
Web conferencing provides much more flexibility. Typically, you send an email invitation or pick up the phone to alert attendees of the web teleconference.
Attendees can log into the web conference system instantly and the meeting starts.
Be confident that invitees will be able to join your meetings easily, without needing an additional download. Immediate productivity!
Create your own customized, always-on URL for your digital meetings, brand the environment, and securely store all of your files and layouts in an organized manner.
Let users access or download all kinds of content—PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, notes, web layouts, rich media, and more—from a single, easy-to-find location, kept securely for future reference.
Allow even first-time users to actively participate in meetings without training.
Employee training costs time and money, especially for companies that have high turnover or agencies that recruit hundreds of brand ambassadors, for example.
Web conferencing allows you to record your training sessions, and this scalable approach allows new employees to be trained without taking existing ones away from their regular jobs.
Record your meetings for future viewing while retaining live meeting functionality, edit the meetings and republish them to your content library for widespread on-demand access.
Additionally, automatic indexing of your recordings allows your viewers to skip to the most relevant information.
Plus, with Adobe Connect Pro, the web conferencing software we provide here at Pragmatic, you can record and archive your content for free; normally you are charged a recording or storage fee for your content.
Getting everyone to participate in meetings can be a tough skill to master in the business world.
In an audio conference call, video conference, or face-to-face meeting in person, not all attendees will feel comfortable speaking up or asking a question in front of the group.
Meeting presenters are able to engage the audience in different ways, track the amount of input that each user contributes, and, if desired, make participants anonymous, so it’s no wonder web conferencing is one of the best conferencing solutions available.
Whether it’s through Q&A sessions or conducting polls, those who might have chosen to remain silent are provided a voice and can provide valuable feedback just like everyone else.
Through an online meeting, you can create surveys that each participant must fill out, and it’s up to you if you’d like to publish the results or keep them private.
Web conferencing is great for brainstorming, too.
Since everything is done in real time, the results are instant, just like in real life. Enhance decision making and improve collaboration to reach consensus faster.
Using electronic meeting systems (EMS), various tools like highlighting, drawing, or a whiteboard clearly identify the contributor and add structure to the discussion.
Within web conference meetings, you can create multiple breakout rooms, each with its own private VoIP (voice over internet protocol) or telephone conference call.
Customize these rooms and easily monitor breakout sessions, move between rooms, or broadcast messages to participants across room boundaries.
With each passing day, nearly every aspect of the world is becoming more mobile-focused.
Everything people are doing is being optimized to be enjoyed while on the go — checking emails, reading blogs, watching news — and web conferencing is no different.
Fully host, present, and collaborate on virtually any mobile device with web conferencing.
Phones or tablets, iOS or Android — you can web conference anywhere your life takes you.
Begin and end meetings, advance slides and control animations, share documents and other media-rich content, take shred notes, run polls, and drive meetings with active tools and pods.
Convert your meetings to mobile-friendly MP4 format so your viewers can access the content on almost any mobile device.
Especially with mobile, bandwidth usage and network load can sometimes cause a problem.
With web conferencing, video is optional and as a result, a much lower amount of bandwidth is needed. With on-premise Adobe Connect deployments, much of the network load occurs on internal systems, reducing network traffic and associated costs.
In addition, servers can reduce bandwidth requirements and improve delivery for groups in remote locations.
Web conferencing usually costs less than video conferencing, and it’s a much more reliable option than free conferencing.
Not only does it require less equipment, but you can conduct even a large conference or seminar without booking a room, as participants can log in from their computer.
There’s no need to pay for good lighting or maximum bandwidth.
Web conferencing technologies allow employees to quickly and easily reach almost any market in the world, without the high cost of travelling.
Just ask SAP, who recently reduced unnecessary travel costs by 90% by using web conferencing.
Web conferencing allows employees to conduct more meetings, by reducing the time spent travelling.
It helps them avoid having to catch up after time spent on an in-person meeting, and it even enables them to periodically work from home.
Employees that work from home report a better work life balance and greater happiness.
Happy employees translate into harder working employees and greater company effectiveness.
These are just some of the many examples of how web conferencing can help you with your business.
Some might say that web conferencing is dying down, but we have seen firsthand that it is alive and kicking as we head into 2015.
Our team of conferencing experts has been in the industry for over 15 years, providing a wealth of knowledge on web conferencing uses and benefits.
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