If you've ever participated in a web conference, you know how useful technology can be in bringing together geographically diverse meeting participants.
Although it started as a business application, video conferencing has now made its way into the consumer market with solutions (e.g. Skype) that connect friends and family who are separated by distance. No doubt about it, web conferencing is here to stay – and if your company isn't onboard yet, you're missing out on a valuable business tool.
Selecting a video conferencing provider is trickier than it sounds. You'll find a wide range of providers who seem to promise similar benefits. But if turnkey conferencing is important to you, you'll need to keep an eye out for solutions that have the features you need to connect with both internal and external meeting attenders. Here are just some of the features to look for in effective web conferencing software.
- Convenient interface. Although you may be a technological wizard, you have to allow for the possibility that some of your meeting participants may not have a comfortable relationship with technology. A convenient user interface and streamlined setup process are essential for full buy-in from your conference participants.
- Event registration & notification. Web conferencing solutions should give meeting participants the ability to preregister for the event and then remind them about the event through e-mail notifications.
- Desktop sharing. Presenters appreciate features that let them share an application that is running on their computer with the larger group.
- File and document sharing. In addition to the ability to view desktop screenshots, your conferencing solution should also let you transfer documents, presentations and other files to conference attendees.
- Recording & playback. Top video conferencing platforms including WebEx and GotoMeeting let you record your video conference for later review. This feature can be especially useful for individuals who are unable to attend the live event.
- Security. Try to avoid videoconferencing solutions that lack comprehensive security features. Firewalls, password protection, and other features are designed to protect your data and video discussion from unwanted intrusion.
- User support. Most web conferencing platforms are happy to provide their users with pre-meeting planning assistance and technical support at no additional cost.