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TMCnews Featured Article


February 27, 2008

Applications for Web Conferencing

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Senior Editor


Communications tools enabled by Web 2.0 and IP-based systems have greatly enhanced the capabilities of Web conferencing. Whereas in the past Web conferencing was pretty much just a text-based affair, today it can be a rich multimedia experience for collaborating on projects and holding meetings with participants flung far and wide geographically.
 
The primary Web conferencing development to take place in the past few years is a trend toward real-time interactions, rather than the asynchronous nature of online bulletin boards or forums. Today’s Web conferencing systems allow true, live meetings to be conducted among participants who log in from their respective locations using a laptop or desktop computer and Internet connection, and sometimes a phone as well.
 
Web conferencing has many potential applications. One of the most popular forms of online meetings is known as the Webinar. Although Webinars often consist mostly of one-way communication—with a moderator presenting information to an audience—Webinars can be quite interactive. For example, the person or people conducting the Webinar could poll the audience, or host a question and answer period.  
 
During interactive sections of a Webinar, the audience may be invited to respond in a variety of ways, including via real-time instant messenger chat, or by discussing the topic at hand over the phone with the moderator(s).
 
Webinars and other types of Web conferences can incorporate a variety of multimedia elements, including: slide presentations, video via Webcam or digital video camera, real-time audio interaction using VoIP, polls or surveys, and screen or desktop sharing. Another capability of modern Web conferencing is application sharing, in which participants share control of a desktop application for collaborative purposes.
 
Web conferencing has many applications, depending on the tools and features available within a given system. Some examples of applications for Web conferencing include: giving sales presentations to clients, providing customer support, demonstrating products and software, conducting training sessions, collaborating on projects, and participating in a Web surfing “party” in which everyone share a single Web surfing experience.
 
Just as with other types of communications, the growing availability of broadband Internet connections has dramatically altered the nature and functionality of Web conferencing. It is easier than ever to connect with co-workers (even if they’re located far away geographically) and complete a variety of collaborative projects.
 
To learn more about the benefits of and applications for online meetings, please visit the Web Conferencing channel on TMCnet.com, brought to you by Packetel (News - Alert).
 

Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers whitepapers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users. Today’s featured white paper is Direct Push Synchronization over the Air, brought to you by CommuniGate Systems (News - Alert).

 
Mae Kowalke is an associate editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. To read more of Mae’s articles, please visit her columnist page. She also blogs for TMCnet here.




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