The use of web conferencing has steadily been on the rise over recent years. With the improvements in IT, webcams and the internet, communicating via web has become efficient and effective. Put simply, web conferencing means using computers to communicate visually, either by using webcams or through sharing screens.
Throughout its development, a range of options have been implemented that now make web conferencing more sophisticated, but maybe a little more confusing. To clear up any confusion, we've explained a list of the key terms you may encounter when looking into web conferencing.
A web conference is a visual meeting between two or more participants in different locations using online conferencing technology. Webinars and webcasts are types of web conferences. When combined with a teleconferencing service, web conferencing makes for an efficient and cost-effective method of hosting a meeting.
In addition to the visual and interactive aspect of the web conference, hosts and guests still need to verbally communicate. You can guarantee high-quality audio by dialling into a teleconferencing service as well.
Some web conferencing programs allow you to access audio via the internet. This means that as well as sharing documents on your screen you can also talk via the computer. Everyone needs to have an appropriate headset and have a decent internet connection to access VOIP.
Webinar (or web presentation)
A webinar is presentation done online. Webinar presenters can share audio, documents and applications with their webinar attendees. This is useful when the presenter is conducting a lecture or information session.
A webcast is a non-interactive presentation, broadcast over the internet to many simultaneous listeners or viewers. A webcast may either be distributed live or on demand. The transmission is one-way and does not allow interaction between the presenter and the audience. A webcast might be just a simple audio stream or it might include visual aids such as PowerPoint slides, recorded video clips or live software demonstrations.
The host of a web conference is the person who is organising the meeting. They are the person responsible for setting up the web conference in the appropriate format (is it a webinar, webcast or simple web meeting?) and sending out the invitations. They are usually the person who is responsible for the businesses unique codes.
Guests are any participants that have been invited to attend the web conference by the host. They are provided with the meeting details, the dial-in numbers and a guest code. They simply dial into the audio conference and access the web conference via their computer.
Presenters do not have to be the host. The host can set up meetings so that multiple presenters can contribute to a web conference. They are the people responsible for delivering the content of the meeting.
Webcam (video streaming)
A webcam can be used to show a participant's face in a web conference. If a participant has a webcam, they can be seen by the other meeting participants.
Video conferencing is facilitated by the use of specialised hardware including a TV, camera and telephone. This needs to be set up in a dedicated room such as a boardroom or office. It allows guests to view each meeting room rather than share documents.
Now that you have a better understanding of the basics, learn more about how web conferencing and virtual meetings can enhance your business efficiency and productivity.