Web Meetings to the Rescue
The combination of 9-11
and higher fuel costs has exacted a toll on corporate travel in the
Foreign competition drives the never ending need for greater
The days of getting on a plane, flying to a meeting and
returning, even the same day, have dramatically reduced.
In a previous issue
of The Next Wave we discussed how video conferencing is becoming
In this issue we describe web conferencing.
Research tells us that there has been a 40 percent increase in
web conferencing in the past several years.
with many other technology driven changes, the first few systems were
high end, expensive and difficult to use.
Now anyone with a browser and
an internet connection can fire up a Web conference without special
equipment and expect it to work even through firewalls.
How does this web
meeting concept work?
First of all you need to select a vendor that provides this kind
of service. They all work basically the same. You set up a meeting
on-line through the internet. You will provide a meeting name, date and
meeting password is always a good idea.
Most software will e-mail the attendees you establish, the
information they need to sign on through their internet browser.
As the meeting host you will see who has logged-on and records
are kept for attendees.
The voice component
may very well be separate from the meeting arrangements.
There are a variety of services that can set up conference
calling capabilities so each attendee can ask or answer questions.
Some advanced suppliers of this service, such as Raindance Web
Conferencing offers the voice component as well.
There are many
companies that provide the service.
Below are a few.
WebEX Meeting Center was
the first and is now the largest provider. Some studies say they have
60% of the market.
Along with providing web conferencing capabilities, they also
have modules for more targeted needs: Training Center for
education; Support Center for customer support; and Event
Center for large Webcasts.
WebEX however is pricy and may not be as appropriate for the
casual meeting environment.
Microsoft Office Live
recently acquired PlaceWare, a major Web conferencing player and
immediately became a substantial vendor in this environment.
The price: Presenter edition $75.00 per seat per month or $.35
per minute... a bit more affordable.
Microsoft has committed to upgrading the product, so expect
upcoming versions to fill in the gaps.
Network Computing) software makes it possible to view and fully-interact
with one computer from any other computer or mobile device anywhere on
the internet. VNC is cross-platform, allowing remote control between
different types of computers.
For ultimate simplicity, there is even a Java viewer, so that any
desktop can be controlled remotely from within a browser without having
to install software.
VNC offers a free version which from our experience works pretty
professional version is also available.
The vendor websites
for more information are: