The market for Web conferencing software solutions is hot. Nowhere is this more evident than in the rapidly growing number of solution providers. Only a decade ago, there were less than five vendors in this arena. Today, there are dozens of Web conferencing software products out there for companies to choose from.
So how do you know which Web conferencing software package is best for you? Start by looking for the following functionality:
Almost all Web conferencing software solutions offer audio capabilities in some form or another. But some provide only teleconferencing services, requiring attendees to have access to a cell phone or a land line in order to participate. This limits convenience for mobile workers, and increases costs by creating additional toll charges. Therefore, you should look for a Web conferencing software solution that offers VoIP capabilities, so attendees can engage in discussions directly through their computers using speakers and a microphone or a headset.
The majority of Web conferencing software vendors deliver their solutions via a hosted or on-demand model (also known as SaaS, or Software as a Service). This means that all software and hardware is installed, tested, and maintained at the third-party provider’s site and then “rented” by clients, who access the application via the Internet.
When evaluating any type of hosted software solution, uptime, reliability, and performance must be top priorities – and Web conferencing software is no exception. You want to make sure that meetings and events will not be interrupted because of hardware failures or other system outages that may occur while a session is in progress. Therefore, look for a Web conferencing software vendor who has the appropriate measures in place – such as redundant or mirrored servers – to ensure optimum service continuity.
Branding is an important component of all marketing and customer relationship management strategies. Therefore, you want to make sure that the events you host – even those that are conducted online – present a consistent look and feel to all attendees. Some, but not all, Web conferencing software solutions offer extensive customization capabilities. Custom colors, logos, and other graphical elements can be used to ensure that the interface to your online event environment adheres to all corporate branding guidelines.
A large volume of highly sensitive information is shared during the use of Web conferencing software. Financial executives share data with investors. Engineering and product management teams share product roadmaps with customers. And trainers divulge in-depth details about existing solutions to users. When this information is uploaded to the event site, it is then stored on the third-party provider’s servers.
Additionally, attendees who register for events provide contact information such as phone numbers and email addresses. This data, too, is maintained on the servers administered by the Web conferencing software vendor.
That’s why it is critical to select a Web conferencing software provider who has implemented advanced security technologies to keep information secure and protected from unauthorized access and use.