Archive for the ‘Web Conferencing’ category

Four Great Tools to share your Screen easily and without any Software Downloading

August 28th, 2017

No software downloading means less annoyance for your users and thus more participants to your virtual events. Let’s have a quick glance to TurboMeeting, MegaMeeting, GoToMeeting and WebEx, four great tools that allow you to share your screen without any software downloading.

Screen-sharing is one of the most useful and utilized functionalities during webinars, video conferences or remote support operations.  Unfortunately, the products for virtual conferencing that do not require any software download are few. Yet, it is proved that users’ preferences go to no downloading solutions, like the browser-based ones. If you adopt this technology, you have then better chances to increase the number of participants to your webinars and virtual meetings.

TurboMeeting is a suite of video conferencing servers manufactured and distributed by the company R-HUB (http://www.rhubcom.com). Clients can access a webinar hosted on a TurboMeeting server simply by clicking on the special link in the invitation email through their browsers. No software is downloaded. This solution offers a huge set of functionalities to make your webinars and video conferences highly interactive and engaging, among which there is naturally screen sharing. You can easily show slides, documents, photos, videos or other relevant material to back up your arguments that way.

MegaMeeting (http://www.meagmeeting.com) is specialized in browser-based solutions for webinars, video-conferences and one-to-one meetings. Screen-sharing is just one of the multiple functionalities that this solution offers its users and, again, there is no necessity to download anything. What makes the difference with TurboMeeting is power. R-HUB`s servers can host webinars up to 3000 participants for room, MegaMeeting up to 250 only. MegaMeeting is also more expensive, as it costs per year more or less the same as the purchase of a R-HUB`s server that though lasts much longer than one year.

GoToMeeting (http://www.gotomeeting.com) is one of the most popular platforms for web conferencing. Simple and cost-effective, it allows you to host any kind of virtual events, from your webinars to the classic online meeting. All the usual functionalities (among which screen sharing) are present. To enter a webinar, participants have simply to digit the ID of the event and their email on the form on the special web page. Among the cons, there are the severe limitations on the number of participants, which cannot go over 100 attendees. The price is comparable with R-HUB`s TurboMeeting.

WebEx (http://www.webex.com) is the pioneer of web conferencing, as it was founded in the far 1995. The max number of participants per meeting is 200, while the price per year is 590 US$ (to make a comparison, a TurboMeeting server that can host up to 1000 participants cost 995 US$). The recent integration with Cisco Spark assures users a clean and crisp audio. Screen sharing is present among many other useful functionalities.

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Why to Choose a Browser-based Web Conferencing Tool?

August 25th, 2017

Being the simplest to deploy and use browser-based web conferencing tools are the most appreciated by your clients. Consequently, the number of participants to your meetings is maximized.

Have you ever noticed that most users feel a sense of annoyance when the time to install a new app comes along? Statistics (source: Nomura) confirm that clients do not like software downloading. Only in the US,  app downloads declined more than 20 % in the last few years, and the app market is regarded as saturated. On the global market there is still a modest positive trend, but the bell will probably toll also for international downloads very soon.

What is behind the fall of apps? Simply, nobody likes complicated technologies, as people are naturally lazy, and the process of downloading and installing an app is considered to be tiresome by most users. Biologists give an explication of these behaviors. The latest researches confirm that between two different courses of action of which one is harder almost everybody would opt for the easier solution. This happens because the human brain is genetically conditioned to optimize time and energy, in other words, to work as little as possible. In nature, laziness is then a virtue, and not a sin.

This simple rule – the simpler the better – works naturally also for web conferencing. The main practical consequence is that web conference hosts should opt for the easiest-to-use tool, in order to have as many participants to their conference as possible. Choosing a solution that users find difficult to handle would be penalizing, as hosts would lose a more or less large share of their potential audience. This explains the success of browser-based web conferencing solutions, actually the easiest to use for clients on the market.

In fact, web-based products do not require any downloading or installation and virtually no setting-up. It’s a real piece of cake: the client has just to open his browser, reach an address and conference in. Honestly, it is difficult to imagine something easier. With a solution like R-HUB`s TurboMeeting (http://www.rhubcom.com), for example, clients has just to click on the button “join meeting” in the invitation email they have received. The process of downloading starts automatically and in a few seconds they are in the conference. In case of webinars, TurboMeeting deployment process is totally browser-based and there is no downloading.

The growing success of browser-based web conferencing solutions confirms our assumptions. Besides TurboMeeting, other successful products that use a browser-based approach are GoToMeeting, WebEx, Adobe Connect. They have all become quite popular, and I would not be surprised that you were invited to utilize one of them at least one time in your life.

In conclusion, the ease of use and installation for your clients of a web conferencing tool should be one of your leading criteria of choice, as you can maximize the number of participants to your webinars and conferences that way. Being browser-based web conferencing solutions the easiest  to use, they should be preferred to the options that require software downloading or other more complicated methods of installation.

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The ABC of Virtual Team Management

July 13th, 2017

Managing a virtual team can turn out more difficult than expected. Luckily, there are some few best practices that help.

Managing virtual team implies to face a whole host of challenges, from lack of face-to-face communication to working across different time-zones. Luckily, some few best practices for remote managers have been developed in the last few years. We have summarized them up in the following list of tips.

1) Prepare a welcome manual to provide your new hires with all the necessary information about how to do things. This will help you to save a lot of time and make your new hires more productive and less questioning since the beginning.

2) Utilize some operational documents during each step of the process, so that everybody knows what have to be done next.

3) Include in your welcome manual a Communication handbook, or, better, create it as a separate manual. Here, you will lay down the directions on how to communicate with other team members.

4) Hand out a contact information sheet, or make it available as shared document to every team member.

5) Hold regular virtual meetings both individually and with the whole team. It is the only way to create cohesion within your team.

6) Make periodic reviews to inform your team members about their individual progresses. In the reviews, measure individual and team performances, in order to give adequate feedback.

7) From time to time, have some face-to-face time with your team members in order to build confidence and strengthen relations.

8) Consider time difference. You’d better change meeting times frequently, in order to avoid making the same people wake up early or stand up late.

9) Hire the right kind of workers. Select only people that are really cut out for virtual teams through a test period.

Tools are important for virtual teams. It is necessary to have an instant messenger, screen sharing, screen capture, cloud file sharing, and other collaboration tools. You’d better opt for an all-in-one solution, like R-HUB`s web video-conferencing servers http://www.rhubcom.com , rather than creating a confusing, contradictory and often difficult to manage personal set of various apps.

R-HUB has a suite of servers purposely designed for real time collaboration that gives you all the necessary functionalities to hold and manage your real time conferences. The utilization of a new technological approach allows R-HUB to knock down delays to 3-18 seconds only (usually they are 30-40 seconds) in their live streaming servers, in order to enhance interactivity.

Live interventions during a conference are supported, so that your virtual meeting looks as real as possible, and contents are shown on the whole desktop for a more effective communication. Differently from traditional live streaming products, speakers can be located everywhere in the world.

Last, don’t forget to develop the proper mindset for virtual team. The feeling of being isolated from the team can be fought by appreciating and celebrating team members’ achievements. If you manage a team composed of people from any corner of the world, working on flexible schedules is a real necessity as well as accepting all cultural differences and setting the hours when you are available online in case of need.

In conclusion, managing a virtual team takes more work than a local team, but it can be affordable. Just keep in minds these simple tricks and good practices when building your virtual team.

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Are Free Virtual Conferencing Solutions Really for Free?

June 12th, 2017

True hidden costs of free virtual conferencing products could be more expensive than you expect.

Who has been never allured by free conferencing tools at least one time in life? Yet, you should remember that nothing comes for free: paid solutions can be expensive, but they have their pros. On the other side, it is a common misconception that the free version of a product must be as effective as the paid version. The reality could be far different: in this article, I will explore the most common flaws of free tools for virtual conferences.

Be aware of the phone bill

Free conferencing solutions are often based in the US, which means that users are charged for their calls. This could be very burdensome for your customers, especially if they have to call from abroad, as long-distance rates are decisively high. So, don’t be surprised if your foreign customers are reluctant to join your conference calls.

The missing functionalities

The usual marketing trick of most producers of virtual conferencing solutions is to provide users with a limited set of functionalities in the free version, so that they are enticed to shift to the paid version in a second time. So, don’t be too much surprised to discover that the function you desperately need is available in the paid version only.

On the other side, paid solutions are very rich in functionalities that greatly improve security and productivity, from speaker identification to reporting and recording. Naturally, you have to give something for some more comfort.

Free, but not scalable

When your business grows, a conferencing solution with limited features becomes a real bottleneck.  Unfortunately, not every free product is scalable. And migrating from one platform to another is often a pain in the neck. It is better to spend something more and start immediately with an inexpensive, but scalable, paid solution, than regretting after.

The customer service that is always out of service

When something is free, money must be saved somewhere, mustn’t it? The somewhere is usually the customer support. So, don’t be surprised to get little, if no help with a free conferencing product when something goes wrong. In other words, free solution is not 100% reliable, which might be acceptable for private usage, but it is too bad for business usage.

The take away from this article is that free conferencing does not come really for free. You buy cheap, you buy twice. You’d better spend something more in the beginning in order to get a reliable and full service rather than trudging along with unsatisfactory, incomplete free software.

Are you interested in virtual conferencing? You are going to find more interesting resources on R-HUB`s blog at http://www.rhubcom.com

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What are the Most Popular tools to Manage a Virtual Team?

May 21st, 2017

A quick overview of some of the most popular tools that helps to manage remote workers, from Dropbox to TurboMeeting.

It seems that virtual teams are more productive and efficient than traditional teams. Is that the reason why going virtual has become so popular in any digital and non-digital industry today? In any case, almost every manager will certainly have to deal with virtual teams and remote workers in next future. Therefore, be wise and ride the changes by starting to learn the ropes of virtual team management right by now. A fundamental step is to get an idea of which tools are available on the market for the purpose.

R-HUB TurboMeeting

Let’s start this quick overview with TurboMeeting (http://www.rhubcom.com), a suite of servers for virtual conferencing developed by R-HUB, a company based in San Diego.  A TurboMeeting server is an all-in-one solution that enables clients to perform a huge set of tasks, likehosting video and audio conferences and having access/giving support to remote computers. It is also a good solution for collaboration.

TurboMeeting strong points are:

Its intuitive GUI that is easy to learn and use and that provides you with all the necessary functionalities to interact with your team in real time quickly and efficiently.

Its lightweight and compact size that allows user to get rid of server rooms and server cabinets.

– Its being self-installing and self-updating machines. TurboMeeting servers do not require any devoted IT team and they scale up to 3000 participants per conference  without additional costs, as R-HUB adopted a flat license policy.

It is safe. The on-premise server based technology that R-HUB use is deemed as the most reliable and secure. This makes TurboMeeting a great solution in industries that needs extra care for data protection.

Google Apps

Google does not mean only the most popular search engine of the world. Among the several activities of this famous brand, we find also office and communication tools that are daily used by thousands of clients throughout the world, like Google Doc, Google Calendar, Gmail Chat). They are all applications, which mean that it is not necessary to bring home any piece of hardware.

Google Apps strong points are, in my opinion:

  • There is a free version of each tool that enables users to utilize almost every feature of the paid versions. This makes Google Apps really cheap and in everyone’s reach. Small organizations and start-up with budget constraints will love it.
  • Their design and layout looks very similar to Microsoft office. Google Doc mimes perfectly Microsoft Office, at the point that I had nothing new to learn when I was asked to use it for professional purposes. So, no retraining is necessary for your remote workers.
  • You can use Gmail with your .com domain name, which gives a professional appearance to your email communication.

Yammer

Described as a social network for companies, Yammer is featured by a social media-like atmosphere similar to Facebook. Among its users, we found giants like 7-Eleven, eBay and Groupon.

Yammer strong points:

  • Social media-like atmosphere: Micro blogging, profiles, groups, private messaging, file uploads are some of the functionalities of this tool that applies the principles of Facebook design to virtual work environments.
  • Tested directly from Yammer. Their team is completely virtual and global, being composed of thousands of distant workers spread throughout the planet. Therefore, the team that test Yammer is the same that use it.

Dropbox

Dropbox is not exactly a collaboration tool, being purposely and specifically designed to share files of any sort thought the internet. It’s free, which makes it a popular solution despite its evident limitations, like the impossibility to implement read-only permissions for certain users.

Basecamp

This on-line collaboration tool is expressly designed for virtual team managers. Basecamp is not only about sharing information; it offers all the necessary functionalities to carry on with your team projects.

Basecamp strong points:

  • Purposely designed to manage teams. Basecamp allows you to perform almost all daily tasks that are necessary to manage your team. This allows you to stop using dozens of different applications to fulfill each individual managerial task.
  • Very rich in features. It is possible to share documents and files, to arrange virtual and real meetings, to set deadlines, to create to-do lists for your team members, and more.
  • Ease of use. You can see at glance what needs to be done and who is responsible for that.

If you are interested in tools for working from remote, you are going to find more resources on R-HUB`s blog at http://www.rhubcom.com

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