3 of the Best Web Conferencing Tools
Getting web conferencing underway can seem like an enormous task. Firstly, you need to prepare yourself for a change in working, from face-to-face meetings with handshakes and coffee, to dealing with someone thousands of miles away at your own desk. The preparation is slightly more in depth than that of a usual business meeting as rather than just booking a conference room, technical aspects need to be addressed.
Not every business associate is a technical wizard and the last thing you want is to find yourself drowned by your new technology acting up mid-speech or negotiation. You need to be prepared to use it and use it well.
There are an abundance of new web conferencing tools popping up all over the internet nowadays and it can be hard to decide which tool is best for you. If you’re not technically minded, it can be hard to understand why certain tools are used more, why some are free and some paid for and which of the categories you should fall into.
Firstly, you need to consider what it is you want from a tool. Before even embarking on the quest of web conferencing tool hunting, you need to understand what your own criteria are.
- What’s your budget for a tool?
- How often will you use it?
- What specific functions do you need?
- What countries are your clients in as not all tools are available everywhere?
- Is your work confidential? Are you looking for secure video conferencing solutions?
These questions are a great start to get the ball rolling. They’ll help you understand what you’re looking for, your limitations and boundaries, and where to begin your search. There are many reviews of products which answer these simple questions and can be a great helping in determining which tool would be right for what you’re hoping to achieve.
A Little Helping Hand
GoToMeeting is a tool based around the concept of document sharing. It allows you to perform instructional demonstrations and provide slideshow style presentations via voice. Video support isn’t an option with GoToMeeting, which is a bit of a bad point, as the tool focuses on using your voice to present the information supported by a shared view of your screen with other users.
What’s great about GoToMeeting is that it’s a fully interactive tool. The presenter has the ability to pass control to another user for them to demonstrate something from their screen, without giving them full ‘presenter’ status. Additionally, it allows the user to record meetings, for minutes, confidential records, attendance recording etc. The other added bonus is that the system is HIPAA compliant and making it one of the best secure video conferencing solutions.
GoToMeeting is a relatively expensive tool as it has quite extensive features. At $49 a month, it’s not an option for every business, especially if you don’t use it on a regular basis.
WebEx is a Cisco product which also comes in at $49 a month for users. Although it’s an expensive tool, it had a whole bunch of features that are great for a variety of different business meeting formats.
All users can share their screens and their files with all over participants of the conference. Additionally, it allows you to schedule meetings in Outlook and invite other users, which is a nice professional touch to a system. The video functionality is also a big bonus as WebEx supports multiple video streams at once, allowing all participants to show their faces at the meeting – very similar to being in a real life conference.
On top of all that, WebEx support mobile devices, so that business people trying to jump in a meeting on the go can find themselves tuning in via their iPad or Android phone.
Document sharing isn’t something everyone needs, no matter what spin you put on it. Sometimes businesses just need to have the propensity to meet interactively with clients and other business partners. TinyChat is perfect for that.
The tool itself is free, which means great cost savings all round. It allows user to link up to 12 webcam streams to a meeting to be able to talk across the system as though everyone is in the same room. The whole system is based solely on setting up a small chat room and sending the link to other participants to join in the conference. It’s a nice simple tool to use, quick to get your head round and does a great job at providing a platform for online meetings.
About the Author:
Sophie Evans is a freelance writer who refers to herself as a ‘research hound’. She loves to indulge her customers by digging up information that no-one else can find. Because of this, she understands what happens when you’re not keeping your details secure online and urges people to visit http://securevideoconference.com to see what they can be doing to improve their security.