About Web Conferencing Software
Travel expenses are at an all-time high. As a result, companies are tightening the reigns, placing restrictions on all business activities that impact travel budgets. Additionally, many organizations are operating “leaner” than ever before and are attempting to minimize impact to productivity by keeping staff members in the office as much as possible.
Yet, travel is a necessity in today’s dynamic marketplace, and severe restrictions can hinder critical business operations. Therefore, companies must find new and innovative ways to communicate and collaborate with peers, partners, prospects, and customers.
What Is Web Conferencing Software?
Web conferencing software is a powerful and useful technology that allows live meetings, such as Webinars, demonstrations, presentations, training, and brainstorming sessions to take place via the Internet. Users log in to a secure URL to view meeting materials such as slides or video, and use standard phone lines or VoIP for audio communications.
Key Benefits for Your Company
A Web conferencing software application can deliver significant benefits, including:
- Reduced Travel Costs: Businesses spend large portions of their travel budgets hosting training classes, sending sales reps to visit potential clients, running marketing events, and conducting executive meetings. With Web conferencing software, these types of sessions can be held remotely, which attendees participating from any location around the world. This way, they can communicate and collaborate as effectively as if they were all in the same room, while eliminating all airfare, gas, toll, hotel, and other expenses.
- Enterprise Search: Traditional onsite seminars are quite costly. Marketing staff must secure facilities, order catering services, rent projection equipment, and pay to fly in speakers and organizers. Web conferencing software allows the same presentation and/or demonstration to be given to prospects via the Internet. In short, the event can be hosted just as successfully, while the expenses associated with onsite sessions can be avoided. Those funds can then be diverted into other lead generation programs.
- Improved Customer Convenience: Many businesses host a variety of marketing and training events for both existing and potential clients. Yet, virtually every company has been hit hard by the sharp rise in travel costs. As a result, prospects and customers now have far less flexibility when it comes to attending trade shows, seminars, educational courses, and other in-person events.
Web conferencing software allows customers and prospects to attend these types of sessions without the large investment. Content, communication, and collaboration are all maintained, yet the attendee realizes additional advantages in terms of convenience and cost-efficiency.
Does My Company Need Web Conferencing Software?
Web conferencing software can help companies of all sizes to find the balance between conducting business and reducing operating costs. It provides complete business continuity, empowering employees to conduct sales calls, host marketing events, perform training for both employees and customers, and much more without high travel-related expenditures or significant downtime.
Key Features of Web Conferencing Software
Web conferencing software offers a full suite of capabilities that enable unhindered communication between presenters and audience members. With a Web conferencing software package session leaders can:
- Conduct presentations using slides created in PowerPoint, Mac Keynote, or other presentation software. Presenters can draw attention to specific topics by highlighting information on the slide as they are speaking.
- Display live video through the use of a Webcam or digital camera.
- Converse with session attendees in real-time through VoIP (both presenters and audience members must have headphones and speakers).
- Make online meetings more interactive by pushing URLs, forms, cookies, scripts, and other data directly to session attendees, so they can participate – “hands on” – in demonstrations and other activities.
- Record sessions for playback at a later date. This is particularly useful for marketing Webcasts. Companies can maximize results by allowing prospects who were unable to attend the “live” session to register to view the recorded version at their convenience.
- Makes notes or draw diagrams on a whiteboard, to further illustrate certain points. Some Web conferencing software solutions even allow presenters to give whiteboard control to an attendee, so they can add their own notes or graphics.
- Take and answer questions from audience members through text chat facilities. Questions and responses can be kept private between the meeting participant and the session leader, or they can be made public for all attendees to view.
- Conduct polls and surveys to gather information and feedback from attendees.
- Share their desktop in real-time. This provides audience members with a complete view of the session leader’s screen, as he or she opens and navigates various applications. Some Web conferencing solutions even allow presenters to pass control of their screen over to co-presenters or audience members.
Additionally, most Web conferencing software packages on the market today are available via a hosted or on-demand model.
What to Look for When Choosing Web Conferencing Software
- System Redundancy: Since most Web conferencing software packages are offered as hosted solutions, companies must rely on the service provider to ensure maximum up-time and optimum performance. Look for a vendor that has redundant or mirrored servers or other back-up mechanisms in place, so that meetings are not interrupted if there is a hardware failure while the session is in progress.
- Security: Many session materials include sensitive information. Additionally, attendees provide confidential contact data when registering to attend an event hosted via Web conferencing software. Therefore, it is important to choose a third-party provider that leverages advanced security mechanisms to keep all information protected from unauthorized access.