Archive for May, 2010

Things You Can Do to Get the Most Out of Your Web Conferences

May 28th, 2010

There’s a good chance that the next time you attend a class or seminar it will be online. Webinars are fast becoming the go to means for disseminating information to large groups of people quickly. Attendees love it because they can attend from the comfort of the home or office. Businesses are big on it because they can reach employees or prospective clients no matter where they are, and save big while doing so.

Attending a Web Conference

The quality or success of a web conference will be evaluated differently depending on the person. While the overall success is largely determined by the host, there are some things you can do to get the most out of your web meetings. Factors you can control that are needed for a web conference include:

  • Internet connection: High speed is preferable as it will enable faster downloads. It also enhances video and sound quality.
  • Speakers and microphone: A microphone is optional as it depends on the format of the particular conference. Speakers are essential.
  • Webcam: This depends on whether you are supposed to be seen in the web meeting. In many instances this is not necessary.

Making Your Contribution

contribute to a web meetingIt’s true that the web conference is different from the standard meeting setting, but rules of good etiquette still apply. If you are expected to log in at a certain time, do so. Make note of any email reminders of the conference so you won’t miss the date.

If it is supposed to be an open discussion, prepare some quick points beforehand. Make notes during the session if you think it necessary. Take advantage of chat function during meeting to post questions without disrupting the presentation.

Avoid straying off topic. It might be a big money saver, but with web meetings time is still money. Using tools that enable collaboration and free flow of ideas will make for a more meaningful session. Some features you might want to look out for include:

  • Whiteboard
  • Text chat
  • Live video

As with face-to-face meetings, you typically get from a web conference what you are willing to put into it. Luckily, attending a web conference is not a technical issue, so you can concentrate on what is important. So before you attend your next webinar or web meeting, think about what you will contribute.

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Web Conferencing + Online Gaming = LAN Party of Today?

May 20th, 2010

Love them or hate them, video games are here to stay. The debates about content, benefits and ills will rage on for a long time but certain aspects of the industry cannot be ignored. Video games represent some of the fastest growing areas of technology today.

A Brief History of the Gaming Consolebefore web meetings - magnavox odyssey

The video game console represents possibly the best example of the meeting know how and imagination. Like so many tools being used today, game consoles had a relatively humble beginning with the release of the Magnavox Odyssey in 1972. This was followed by the Atari Pong in 1975. Subsequent releases by these and other companies included:

  • Magnavox Odyssey 100 and the Odyssey 200, both released in 1975
  • Atari Super Pong, 1976
  • Wonder Wizard 7702, 1976
  • Atari 400, 1979
  • Vectrex, 1982

Most would agree that the era of the modern console began with the introduction of the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985. This sparked something of a race with other developers such as Sony over the following years. Bringing along and aiding the growth of the multi billion dollar gaming industry today.

Enhanced Communication Capabilities of Consoles

Not satisfied with groundbreaking graphics and enhanced game play, developers sought to take advantage of the growing Internet audience. Online gaming basically means that the game is played over a network. This can be anything from World of Warcraft to Xbox Live. The real time interaction is no different from the collaborative capabilities of web conferencing software.

Gamers have been able to test their mettle against other players on PC and console games for some time. Additionally, headsets allow them to maintain constant voice communication with team members. Like web conference tools many online games played on the PC have a live chat feature. Players can form teams or go one on one using online communication capabilities.

While most players might not stop to think about it, when they go head to head with others at distant locations, they are in fact conferencing.

This overlapping of technology is good not only for the gaming industry but also for web conferencing companies as well. While gamers and web conference users wait for the next big development, one thing is clear, the sky is the limit.

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Web Meetings, Do IT Know Best?

May 14th, 2010

IT departments have become a standard component of many businesses today, especially those that heavily utilize computer and communications technology. In charge of the company’s technology needs, the IT guy is the one you kermit learn more about web meetingscall when for are your computer troubles.

In spite of their obvious technical know how, IT staff is sometimes at odds with the company’s decision makers. Not surprisingly most of these little squabbles revolve around money. IT department strive to bring the best products to the company but often overlooking the staggering price tag that comes along with a top of the tier product. With communications technology there are lots of grey areas where cost is concerned. Sometimes it makes sense to go all out, sometimes it doesn’t.

The Web Conferencing Dilemma

Deciding to use web conferencing is not much of a quandary these days. There is ample evidence that supports the idea that this one of the best routes a company can take for communications. However, with there being so many vendors out there, making a decision can be hard. Just remember that certain features are considered essential, such as:

  • Audio conferencing integration
  • Screen sharing or remote desktop
  • File transfer
  • Text chat

These are pretty much standard with most web conferencing solutions. Just keep in mind that the quality of these features varies depending on the provider.

The Clash over Web Meetings

The thing to remember is that IT staff usually knows what they are talking about. It is what they were hired for. Still, it never hurts to do your own research. A more informed buyer is a better buyer. With web meetings, higher cost does not always translate to quality. Start by defining the need of the company. Once you start out with a clear picture of what your company needs, choosing a conferencing solution becomes simplified.

Choose a solution that is scalable, that is, capable of growing as your company does. You’ll find that on this issue, you and the IT department will be on the same page.

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Choosing the Right Conference Tool 2 – Web Solutions

May 7th, 2010

One of the first choices you might be faced with when exploring web conferencing solutions is going with a hosted or on-premise service. This is only one of two possible solutions for online conferencing. The other method is using an appliance such as those provided by RHUB Communications.

Using a hosted service means that the service is operated from a server controlled by the vendor. Thus, the flow of the meeting is largely dependent on the vendor’s capabilities. Pricing for hosted services is generally based on the number of attendees. So the end user is dependent upon the provider for performance issues such as having the appropriate bandwidth and to quickly fix bugs.

choosing between web conferencing services

Making the Tough Decision between Conferencing Services

In deciding between the two types of web conferencing services, what boils down is how much control the user would like to have. What some consider a negative to the hosted option is the fact that the vendor needs to stay on top of potential issues that may arise. Bugs must be reported quickly, and the vendor must also respond quickly. The performance and usability of the service is almost entirely dependent upon the provider. Also, users need to stay on top of upcoming updates as it could also cause compatibility issues with the user’s operating system. As such, there is the need for constant communication between the vendor and the end user.

On the other end, on-premise solutions performance is dependent on the user. Users will also have more control in allocating resources to support their communication needs. Appliances are attractive options as they require no manual software updates and brings down the cost of ownership through elimination of monthly fees.

The success of your real-time communication will depend on variety of factors. Even within hosted or on-premise solutions, features and offerings will vary by provider. Learn more about what each supplier has to offer and try the product before you make your decision. This way you can avoid headaches later and ensure smooth communications with your online meetings.

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