Conferencing, as we all know, is a kind of interaction conducted to share information, plan, suggest, reason, put counter-arguments and reach conclusive decisions. It always has a motive and is done with a purpose but due to the new trend of globalization, members of the business group are miles apart.
They still need to interact and every time coming together and having a face-to-face conference is financially not viable therefore there has to be a medium of communication that would help them to converse and discuss matters.
Necessity has led to invention and now each participant sits at his own desktop and connects to other participants across the world. This can be done either with the help of the downloaded software or by typing a URL and going to the site. It is generally done with the help of Flash or Java technology.
In web conferencing the tools common to web pages and Internet communication are brought together to create an environment that would enable each and every participant to put forward his/her opinion. The tools that are used are HTML, XML, ASP, java scripts, Flash animation, Instant messaging and streaming audio and video.
Function of Software
The host invites the participants to the conference conversation and they can log in only when they type in their respective Login Id and Password, which is done for security reasons.
In case the conferencing is in the internal server environment the users do not require a login id or a password since the data used in the conference is not allowed to go beyond the internal network and stays behind the firewall.
Web conferencing software is traded by the vendors and the cost is calculated either by the duration of usage or by a fixed fee. Vendors as per the requirement of the organization also sell their software as a licensed product and the company can download it on their own server.
Let us see how a normal web conference would take place. The host would accumulate all the data that is required for the conference and then let participants know that there would be a conference at a given time. Then he/she invites the participants using the software or by e-mailing them.
The participants accept the invitation and at the given time open the web conferencing software to join in on the conference. The participants can see each other in the web browser and their conversation takes place over the phone, voice chat, instant messenger or a VoIP. When the conference ends the participants and the host log off or close the browser.
Features of Web Conferencing
- Web conferencing facilitates sharing of applications which enable the participants to share documents like slide presentations, spreadsheets - even if the participants do not have the software in their systems.
- Apart from sharing PowerPoint, participants can also give presentations using programs similar to this, where slides can be viewed.
- Video can be seen which means that each participant can view all the other participants.
- They can give presentations by using whiteboard principle.
- Show and label images and diagrams using whiteboard principle.
- Still pictures can also be transmitted with the help of a webcam and the pictures can be viewed using screen sharing.
- Interactive question and answer sessions can be held wherein audio and video both can be used.
- Documents can be modified then and there with everybody viewing it.
- Files can be shared and transferred from one participant to the other.
- Recording can be done by a participant for referential purposes later.
Web conferencing has acted as a technological boon and has made the procedure of decision-making faster. Its use is increasing day by day and efforts are being made to improve on the available versions.