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Web conferencing is an amazing and efficient technology with immense benefits. It allows people to meet and communicate without the limitations of distance, time, and travel. Since it eliminates the need to travel in most instances, it is an impressively “green” technology as well.
Of course, web conferencing is still a relatively new market, and its features are changing all the time. What should you look for? Here are the top five best web conferencing features we look for in an application.
1. Specific Application Sharing
You may have heard of screen sharing, which lets users share their screen with the participants of an online meeting. But what if you have an embarrassing iChat or email open, or you simply don’t want to broadcast your Sailor Moon wallpaper?
Enter application sharing. Application sharing enables users to hide everything else on the desktop, sharing only a single selected application with their audience. Any application available on the presenter’s desktop can be shared, and viewers do not need to have the application installed.Viewers do not have the ability to control the application in any way unless permission is granted, and the presenter can continue to use other applications without everyone seeing. So go ahead, keep your Bejeweled game open – no one will know.
2. Ability to Switch Presenters
Let’s say you are hosting a meeting, and another attendee has something on her screen she would like to share. If your web conferencing application allows you to switch presenters, you can “pass her the ball,” so to speak. She can then share her screen with the entire meeting. Having the ability to switch presenters can greatly enhance productivity because it enables everyone to have input. This makes web conferencing more interactive.
3. Public and Private Chat
Sometimes during a meeting, you may want to send a message to another participant. Almost all web conferencing applications support public chats between all of the participants of the meeting. Many web conferencing applications also allow participants to start private chats to one another (for example, a manager may send an executive a message to privately comment on a presentation given by an employee). Think of it as the high-tech version of passing notes in class.
4. Browser Based For Attendees
The beauty of browser-based web conferencing is its relative simplicity. No special equipment or software is needed. It does not matter if users are on Mac or PC, since browser-based web conferencing works on all operating systems.
Participating in a web conference is as simple as viewing a website with browser-based systems. This enables widespread participation and the setup is simple by just providing the web address and password, then anyone can join the conference. It is also a big time-saver, since participants don’t lose time trying to download applications and running into compatibility issues when trying to enter a meeting.
5. Video Conferencing
Worried about losing the personal connection that you get when you are face-to-face with clients and workers? Video conferencing allows participants to see your facial expressions and body language. You can talk, brainstorm, make presentations, demo new products or services, and get instant feedback in a video conference, the same way you would if your cohorts were sitting across the table from you.
Video conferencing is a great way to go green and reduce travel costs. It can connect people in different offices, states, and countries on short notice. For best results, look for a web conferencing software that supports multiple streams at once.
With specific application sharing, presenter switching, private and public chat, browser-based interfaces, and video conferencing, you can hold online meetings that are as productive (if not more so) than their in-person counterparts. Think we didn't mention some of the best web conferencing features? Let us know in the comments section!