Archive for September, 2009

Why Webinars?

September 29th, 2009

If there is one thing we are all short of these days it’s time. It is one thing to think about upgrading your skills and increasing your value in the job market. It is quite another to juggle that with work, children, community involvement and anything else you can add to this list.

Often our jobs may require that we attend seminars or training sessions of some type. Web conferencing has made the prospect of meeting and training significantly cheaper. In fact it has become such an attractive option many companies now see it as their first choice. Advantages of web seminars over traditional training seminars are many. Some of those that readily come to mind are:

  • A reduction in travel costs
  • Employees don’t need to leave the workplace to attend, so they can still be engaged at work
  • There is no need to print information as everything can be viewed onscreen
  • Webinar and conferencing sessions can be recorded and saved for later viewing
  • The ability to stream video or audio makes for compelling content

Webinars are made even more interesting by the use of streaming video, audio feeds, annotations, whiteboards, and video broadcasting with a webcam – all common web conferencing features. These usually help to enhance the presentations and keep participants engaged. Partner this with interactive collaboration and you a very powerful tool.

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Web Conferencing Hits the iPhone

September 24th, 2009

Iphone – the feature rich device that has taken the world by storm has entered another arena, web meetings. According to news reports a new application was recently created for this popular smart phone that allows users to schedule online meetings and view meeting agenda among other features.
The application was created by TimeBridge, a company that specializes in software for setting up and running meetings online. One of their more popular offerings issues a SMS reminder prior to when a scheduled meeting is about to start. This is known as the Meeting Time Messenger SMS notification tool. (This new application won’t be available until October and is currently going through Apple’s approval process.)

Apple has always presented itself with something akin to an air of exclusivity. Owners of Apple computers have for years seemed to be part of an unofficial club. Given that their prices tend to be higher than PCs that trend has continued, although they have trotted out smaller laptops in recent years that are a bit easier on most pockets. The iPhone however is a bit different. Not everyone who owns one is necessarily an Apple devotee. Many computer users who insist they will never trade in the reliable PC for a Mac are huge iPhone fans.

What will this do for web conferencing? It seems that many have embraced this new idea. Larger players in the market are already making online meetings a relatively simple and convenient procedure by integrating web conferencing with the iPhone.

We at RHUB have developed a universal attendance technology that allows for anyone to join a meeting as long as they can open up a browser and have access to the internet. What does this mean for phones? As long as your phone has 3G capabilities, you are able to attend the meeting. Therefore, there are never any issues with attending meetings when using TurboMeeting. Like what the spokesman for the Men’s Warehouse says: “I guarantee it!”

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Hemorrhaging Data with Your Web Conferencing Solution?

September 17th, 2009

Everyone is familiar with the story of the Dutch boy who saved his country from flooding by plugging a hole in the dike with his finger. (If not I inserted the hyperlink just for you.) Modern day data leaks may not have any of the inspirational undertones, but the allegory is a good reminder that leaks of any kind must be plugged somehow.

Data leaks can cost money, and in the context of the current economic climate the consequences can be damaging for any company. Industrial espionage may not be talked about as much as it used to be, but there are still other ways to lose data. Environments such as open meetings and webinars can present an open invitation to hackers.

Web conferencing, like so many computer related technologies allow companies a greater level of freedom. This comes in the form of accessibility and the ability to move information and generate feedback at a rapid pace. Think of it as a highway, which allows for rapid transit, but which at certain points can be blocked off to prevent unauthorized access.

A Breakdown in Security

The two main areas of concern with web conferencing security are transmission security and access security. With transmission security, the aim is to protect the information while it is the process of being moved from one point to another. The latter is related to preventing unintended parties from being to gain access to a meeting or webinar.

Generally, passwords are issued to those invited to take part in a web conference or remote support session. The obvious danger is that passwords or IDs can be cracked, leaving the appliance vulnerable to attack. Some services offer a secondary password which only enforces the idea that using passwords is not a reliable form of security. If the hacker cracks the first password, why wouldn’t he be able to crack the second? It is always best to generate irreversibly encrypted passwords and to integrate it with the use of your own firewall.

Web conferencing data that is being transmitted is stored temporarily on a server. While this also presents an opportunity for hackers, security protocols such as Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption usually prevent stolen information from being read.

How Your Appliance Can Protect You

To prevent data theft, choose a web conferencing option that utilizes the first line of defense against attacks, namely your own firewall. Internal meetings can be held behind the firewall thus preventing outside access. DMZ deployment is also another effective security feature of web conferencing. With this option you can control access by determining whether internal or external parties will be involved in the meeting. In this way anyone who tries to gain access from outside the firewall will be rejected.

If you have concerns about the possibility of data loss during web meetings examine the security features of your conferencing solution. Even if the information is not of a highly sensitive nature you still have the right to be protected. If you have already fallen victim to data loss it may be time for you to consider other options.

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Remembering 9/11

September 11th, 2009

This morning at the Pentagon, President Obama was introduced by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who spoke of the “great pinnacle of sacrifice” shown that day.

“Eight Septembers have come and gone,” Obama said. “Nearly 3,000 days have passed, almost one for each one who has been taken from us.”

“We recall the beauty and meaning of their lives. No passage of time, no dark skies can dull the meaning of that moment.”

9/11 Memorial Website

Sept 11 Digital Archive

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The Greening of Productivity Through Web Meetings

September 1st, 2009

Every company is concerned about their carbon footprint and is looking for ways to go green and so protect the environment. Making virtual collaboration a part of your operations is a necessity in the modern business environment. This serves many purposes, two of which are helping the environment and bettering the bottom line.

One way that many businesses are achieving the virtualization is by utilizing web meetings. With the improved capabilities of web conferencing security and integration, interacting with clients or employees in diverse places is now a breeze. Having  meetings online helps companies cut down on travel, which in turn cuts down on fuel usage and vehicle emissions. In fact many companies such as Fujitsu have started using web conferencing as a way to reduce their carbon footprint.

Proper use of internet web conferencing not only help companies protect the environment but can make better use of workers’ time and save resources. Developing a company strategy that mandates a set percentage of business meetings being held using web conferencing software is a start. This is especially beneficial if attendees have to drive or fly in to meetings from other locations.

Online meetings have in many cases been shown to run for shorter times than face-to-face meetings. This will free up time for more productive activities. This goes a long way also towards improving a company’s profitability. On-site meetings, especially if employers from other locations attend, can be costly. Expenses in monetary terms include gas, air travel, hotel accommodation, food and presentation material and handouts. Web conferences eliminate all that.

All of these methods of working and communicating cut down on travel. While travel by itself does not negatively impact the environment, it is a contributory factor. Web conferencing is thereby a viable alternative for those companies that are serious about being environmentally friendly.

Many companies are taking note. With this renewed drive for sustainability, RHUB has made a 4-in-1 web conferencing and remote support appliance that runs on only 4.5 watts. Goooo green!

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