Posts Tagged ‘web conference’

Why Can’t I Join A Web Meeting? Overcoming the Frustrations of Managing Online Meetings

December 3rd, 2014

Women own 10.6 million businesses in the United States and they employ 19.1 million workers. With these staggering numbers, it’s safe to assume that they often face the ongoing challenge of running their businesses more efficiently, especially when it comes to managing meetings.

Web conferencing has been around for years. And, with its longevity, you would think that using the technology would be even simpler now.  But, believe it or not, just the basic steps of clicking a web link and dialing a phone number to connect with a group of people online still leaves many frustrated users unable to join in. Whether they have to overcome the challenges of  waiting forever for downloads, entering incorrect meeting IDs or just the irritation of sluggish transitions as presentation slides slowly coming across the screen –  it’s true that users are still experiencing some major concerns with web conferencing technology.

While it’s hard to find leading statistics on web meeting attendance failures, in general, most failures are connected to issues with downloading and with challenges connected to first time users of the technology. These two issues alone can significantly drive up the meeting failure rate.  When someone is a new or an occasional participant in web conferencing, their chances of having problems with joining an online meeting are greater than someone who routinely utilizes the technology.

Since most web based meetings require that users either have specific software or apps already loaded on their device or that they download it for the meeting, new users trying to download the “client” software/apps for the first time may experience challenges with downloading the software. In contrast, people who regularly attend specific meetings probably already have it on their meeting device and can more quickly connect to the meeting. When the meeting system requires client software/apps, the likelihood of someone not being able to join increases with the factors mentioned above.

Moreover, client software for desktop and laptop computers has to be downloaded from the meeting software website. As such, there are a several reasons why such a download can fail or be difficult for users to complete. Such as:

  • The computer may be blocked from downloading any software by the user’s IT department
  • The user’s firewall is set to block ports needed by the download software
  • The Antivirus software loaded on the computer blocks the download
  • The Operating System version is not supported by the software
  • The Browser used to access the meeting site blocks the meeting address

Obviously, there are a number of reasons that can hinder the download process. When someone is joining a meeting for the first time, not being able to download the required software is extremely frustrating and usually causes that attendee to give up, thus causing an meeting attendance failure.

Meeting software running on the device is required if the attendee needs to:

  • Show their screen and/or web cam
  • Use VoIP for audio communications
  • Need to use their keyboard in the meeting to operate another computer

If an attendee is just joining to see the presenter’s screen and can use a regular phone for the audio, it is not necessary to download software. Modern systems (such as TurboMeeting by RHUB) uses a Guaranteed Meeting Attendance, browser based technology to enable the attendee to join the meeting and see the presenter’s screen without requiring a download of software, thereby, allowing for a significant increase in people joining the meeting.

Initiatives, such as WebRTC, promise to make browser based attendance more common and more powerful with the caveat that everyone joining has a compatible browser. The browser compatibility issue of WebRTC makes it a problematic issue when inviting attendees that are not aware of the browser requirement. At this time, while WebRTC is gaining a lot of press, it does not really remove the issue above; ie a new attendee who is joining with and unknown device/environment and cannot get in.

Another constraint of the software download issue is the size of the download and thus the amount of time it takes, especially if the prospective attendee is not on a very high speed internet connection. Bloated software modules take time to download and execute. If the attendee waits until meeting time to try to join and incurs a substantial time delay in the process, again, they will be frustrated and possibly just give up. One way to deal with this issue is to use meeting software that pays attention to the download module size. If all the required features are available but the download module is smaller, it will also load and execute faster, making the experience more acceptable for the attendee.

In addition to these technical issues there can be mechanical issues that frustrate attendees such as entering or giving the wrong web meeting and/or audio conference ID information. A possible solution to this is to use the browser based approach mentioned above and just email a link to the attendee. The attendee just clicks the link to join, enters their name and uses the internal VoIP system for the audio. This approach is very powerful for webinar type meetings. It does, however, compromise security as anyone with the link can join the meeting. When you have a need for a secure meeting, the download approach from an on-premise system provides the best solution.

Another user issue can be the etiquette for managing the audio part of the meeting. Often you can find multiple people wishing to talk at the same time. Newer systems, with integrated audio conferencing, enables the host to control the audio to minimize such issues. The host can mute each individual attendee at any time, especially when someone is using a speaker phone and then either puts it on hold with hold music or takes another call on a cell phone and talks over the meeting host.

Most modern systems have evolved to the point that performance is no longer an issue for attendees, even for some relatively large meetings. However, if the attendee is on a slow internet connect or the meeting software is not optimized to handle various connect speeds, some attendees can experience slow updates. In such a case, the attendee will feel “lost” if the audio is out of sync with the screen information.

The only solution for this problem is to use a system that is proven to work with the typical attendee mix you need to support. This issue can be very serious if some attendees are located internationally where the internet infrastructure is weak. Look for a system that has address international performance and test it before scheduling such a meeting.

In general, while web meetings have historically incurred frustrating issues for attendees, the newer, more modern systems have mechanisms to overcome most of these issues. It’s important for organizations to evaluate and test web conferencing tools before purchasing the technology to ensure that they can have a better, more effective web conferencing experience.

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Making Your Data More Secure With a RHUB Web Conferencing Server

April 14th, 2014

Web conferences save businesses millions of dollars per year, but a web conference doesn’t represent such an attractive savings if your confidential company information is stolen. It’s important to ensure that your web conferencing solution is going to provide enough protection to keep your data safe at all times.

An RHUB server represents an excellent security solution. Every RHUB server comes with a default 2048-bit SSL certificate preinstalled. Passwords and meeting IDs are transmitted via SSL. The screen image is protected by RHUB’s proprietary encryption by default, but the server can be reconfigured so that everything is SSL protected.

For even more protection, RHUB servers have a built-in firewall, though we recommend your RHUB server be used in conjunction with your company firewall. Because of its history of security issues, Java has been completely removed.

For transmission security, RHUB uses both SSL and proprietary encryption. Meeting IDs and passwords are SSL encrypted when transmitted over the Internet. Unlike conventional web conferencing, the RHUB server can be set up behind your company firewall, making it much more secure than a hosted service. Internal meetings within the firewall are simplicity itself to set up and totally secure.

DMZ deployment works well for meetings with external users. The RHUB server is set up at the firewall and your client is also behind a firewall. DMZ is available for almost every router, even home routers. A DMZ setup permits both attendees who are behind a firewall and attendees who aren’t to attend a meeting. If you wish, you can easily restrict the meeting to attendees within your network only.

A deployment outside the firewall is also a possibility. In this scenario, the RHUB server is configured between your firewall and the client firewall. This deployment is equivalent in security to hosted services.

The safety of RHUB servers has been tested intensively by banks, government agencies, and defense companies. You can’t find a webinar solution more capable of providing you with security when you really need it. To discuss how our robust protection can benefit you, give us a call at 408-899-2831.

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Cost Savings Available through Unlimited Hosting with Floating Licenses

January 21st, 2014

As the world becomes increasingly mobile, the benefits of web conferences are undeniable. One issue that many businesses and organizations have encountered is the named license model. Today, there are numerous services available that offer web conferencing; typically for a monthly or yearly fee. Limitations also typically apply regarding the number of named users that can tap into those services. When multiplied over a period of months or even years, this type of pricing model can quickly become exorbitant. Essentially, a business is renting a service without obtaining any type of equity for their investment.

The floating licenses pricing model with one-time purchase offered by RHUB makes it possible for everyone within their organization to be able to use it. Monthly recurring fees do not apply with this pricing model. Most businesses find that they are able to pay off the cost of the appliance within less than a year, sometimes within just three months, compared to the monthly subscription costs of hosted services. Over time, this type of investment can translate to significant savings.

As an example, many of the leading web conferencing services charge about $50 per month for just one host. Over the course of one year, that results in a total cost of about $600—for one host. Multiply that by two hosts, five hosts, or even more and it quickly becomes evident just how expensive this type of model can be for your company. That is an expense your company must face each month with the traditional web conferencing subscription service. With RHUB, you pay a one-time fee.

A floating license model, also known as a concurrent licensing model, also helps businesses to better track their spending and eliminate surprise billing. In the monthly subscription plan, extra costs can often occur when hosts exceed their monthly subscription limits. This is not the case with the RHUB appliance and floating licenses. Once the appliance is purchased, anyone within your organization is able to take advantage of the service and host meetings. Your accounting department can rest assured that your company will not be hit by a surprise bill at a later time. The more employees who take advantage of the RHUB appliance, the more cost savings you accrue and the faster you are able to enjoy a return on your investment.

Additionally, the benefits do not cease with cost savings offered by the unlimited hosting model. Once you have purchased the appliance, you own it and are able to exercise complete control. Estimates indicate that due to exorbitant costs, most companies using hosted web services only offer the service to 10 percent of their employees or less. Thanks to the floating license model used with RHUB web conferencing, there are no limitations regarding the number of users. Your company is able to take advantage of the opportunity to bring everyone into the loop and ensure they are informed and engaged. The result? A more productive, satisfied, and happier workforce.

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Is Video Conferencing Putting Your Business at Risk?

January 9th, 2014

Videoconferencing is new on the scene. It used to be something you only saw in science fiction. Remember the earth-to-space video communications in 2001? It wasn’t until the 1980s that anything similar became practical outside of the movies. The first videoconference between Africa and North America took place fairly recently: June of 1995. Like the Internet itself, once it got going videoconferencing evolved at lightning speed.

Now it’s everywhere, and the quality is something not even the characters in 2001 could have imagined. But there’s a dark side: videoconferencing set up outside a firewall can introduce vulnerabilities that it doesn’t take a HAL to figure out how to breach.

Rapid 7 is a company that specializes in finding security gaps in computer systems, and an investigation it conducted in 2012 exposed some glaring oversights in carelessly configured videoconferencing.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/23/technology/flaws-in-videoconferencing-systems-put-boardrooms-at-risk.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

HD Moore of Rapid 7 found it easy to look around the boardrooms of top law firms, oil companies, and venture capital firms through their videoconference setups. Many systems are on the Internet with few safeguards, and Moore could have easily eavesdropped on attorney-client conversations or made himself privy to a board meeting.

Some videoconference systems can be set up to automatically accept inbound calls, and this makes it possible for anyone to dial in and make themselves right at home. Mr. Moore scanned the Internet for companies that had their videoconferencing configured outside a firewall while their systems were set up to automatically accept inbound calls.

After scanning only three percent of the Internet, Moore found 5,000 vulnerable systems, including a venture capital firm that was hosting a conference with company financials being projected on the screen while Moore was hacked into the system. One of the largest videoconferencing equipment vendors even sells its equipment with auto-answer enabled by default.

As if this didn’t represent enough potential for skullduggery, this summer the German magazine Der Spiegel accused N.S.A. of hacking into the United Nations’ videoconferencing system. According to its report, N.S.A. cracked the U.N. encryption code and spied on E.U. plans.

In light of all this, should we conclude that videoconferencing is inherently risky?

No, videoconferencing doesn’t need to be insecure at all. The RHUB appliance can be set up inside a firewall or in the DMZ. Deploying an RHUB appliance behind the firewall or in the DMZ allows both company employees and external attendees access to video conference. It’s easy to exclude external attendees altogether by just clicking an option on the setup screen, though exceptions can be created for specific external attendees.

We maintain transmission security of passwords and meetings with strong SSL security. SSL security or our proprietary encryption can be used for all other data transmitted in the meeting.

With video conferencing becoming a critical asset for most businesses, it’s important not to introduce security holes that put other business assets at risk. We can help you with a videoconferencing solution that provides security you can depend on. Give us a call at 866-758-0984 or email us at sales@rhubcom.com and let us tell you why the RHUB appliance is one of the most secure devices on the market. We give you space-age quality with down-to-earth protection for all your sensitive company information.

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RHUB Web Conferencing and Being a Good Host

November 15th, 2013

What if you gave a party and nobody came? Probably one of our worst teenage fears, and still not a pleasant thought. You’ve cooked an extravagant lobster dinner, you’ve uncorked that chardonnay, it’s 7 o’clock, and the doorbell is silent.

It’s just as bad to plan a business meeting and not have the guest of honor show up. And if it’s your fault it’s even worse. You’ve spent weeks working on your slide show because it’s critical that you impress the potential new client. You’ve made sure that your team is completely prepared. All your employees are in the conference room, looking expectant. Joe stops munching on a doughnut long enough to set up the call. But your potential new client isn’t there. When you finally reach her by phone she says she wasn’t able to connect, and she’s annoyed enough that she’s no longer a potential new client. And no wonder. If you haven’t provided a functional web conference, you’ve wasted her time.

If your web conferencing solution is letting you down, you’re losing money. Of course it’s a disaster when it’s impossible to get the call set up, and it also makes you look bad if the quality of the call is substandard, or if some people can’t join the call.

A web conferencing solution that never lets you down is critical to your business. A web conference that’s a failure looks unprofessional. You need something that works every time, and RHUB fills the bill perfectly. It’s easy to attend a meeting with RHUB. If your important client has Internet access, she’s in—it’s just that simple.

And that’s not the only benefit RHUB is going to provide your important client. It’s easy to use. It certainly doesn’t make a good impression on your client if the call involves complicated set up. Why exasperate her by making her jump through hoops? Nothing could be simpler than setting up RHUB. If your client is in view-only mode she doesn’t even need to download anything.

Of course, it’s not only your client who benefits from RHUB’s simplicity—your entire staff does too. In surveys, respondents identify ease of use as the most important attribute of a web conferencing solution. It’s easy to see why.

Do you want to have a short ad hoc meeting with your new client? With RHUB, nothing could be simpler than setting it up. But how about Joe, the marketing manager who needs to talk to your new client about an advertising campaign? He can use RHUB without an extra license, and RHUB is so easy to use that even technophobes like Joe are happy to use it. It’s important that your staff is happy to use the tool for meetings they need to set up too, and as a bonus our floating license means your entire staff can use RHUB without extra fees.

Want more information? Give us a call. We’d be happy to let you know how RHUB can make every web conference you host run as smoothly as a well-planned dinner party.

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