Web and video conferencing technology is becoming more sophisticated with each passing day. A few years ago it was a novelty to talk to someone online and see their image at the same time. Today, web conferencing brings together entire companies in complex interaction that rivals live face-to-face meetings. How you can take advantage of the latest advances in web conferencing depends on your particular needs. Here are some points to consider.
1. Do you need to make a Powerpoint or other presentation during your conference?
If you answered “yes” to this question, you’ll be happy to know that today’s web and video conferencing services allow the host of a conference to present a slide show or PowerPoint demo that will be visible on the screens of all participants. Similarly, hosts can also open and display other document formats to their attendees. If you need this kind of capability, make sure your conference provider can provide it for you.
2. Do you need phone conferences integrated with your web/video conference?
Many organizations have found conference calls to be an efficient way to get work done. If you’re already connecting with your members and staff through conference calls, you can extend this by choosing a web conferencing system that integrates phone conferencing alongside online conferencing. The combined service will give you the ease of telephone conferencing along with the enhanced visual and presentational features of online conferencing.
Some services allow the host to pay the long distance bill for all participants (free conferences), while others require each participant to cover their own long distance fees.
3. Do all the participants in your conference use the same type of computer?
If your participants will be using a variety of computers (PC, Mac, Linux), then you will benefit most from choosing a web conferencing system that works on any platform. While previous conferencing systems required downloading complex software that worked only on specific operating systems, newer conferencing formats are delivered online and are browser-based. They work on any operating system and if your audience is eclectic then you will get the best results from these types of conferences.
4. Will it be necessary for one of your technicians to “take over” and operate the computers of any of your participants?
If you want to use conferencing as a service tool and want to avoid having to send your service team on physical visits to customers, you can save a lot of time and travel costs by selecting a web and video conferencing system that allows the conference host to conference to go online and actually take control of the client’s or conference participant’s computer. If you’re considering web conferencing as an after-sales service tool, then this particular feature will probably give you one of the biggest benefits you could ever want.
5. Do you want to conduct an online survey or poll during the conference?
If you have a large organization and want to conduct a quick and accurate opinion poll or vote on a particular topic, the new polling capabilities of the most advanced web conferencing services will be an important feature for you.
Likewise, if you need to gather demographic information about your meeting participants, gain valuable insights, or conduct quizzes and tests on your participants, then the new online polling capabilities of today’s web conferencing systems will be an important feature to consider. account when choosing the format of your conference. The data from these types of online “surveys” can usually be saved and used for future use.
6. Want to brainstorm online, using a “whiteboard”?
Brainstorming is a great way to tap into a group’s ideas and to generate and select new ideas. If this is what you like to do when you hold physical meetings, then you’ll probably want to be able to do the same in your virtual meetings as well. This is now possible in some of the more advanced web conferencing systems through the use of a “group notebook” that allows meeting participants to use a shared workspace. The results of these brainstorming sessions can usually be kept in a storage area.
Which of these features will benefit you the most? It all depends on your particular needs. One thing is for sure, though: once you experience the convenience of online meetings, you won’t want to go back to the era when every meeting required you to pack your bags and hop on a plane.