As a way to add visual data to an audio conference, web conferencing offers a relatively inexpensive way to create a virtual work environment with people in the city or around the world. Here is some basic information about web conferencing technology, options, and applications.
Web conferencing, envisioned as a companion service to audio conference calls, first appeared on the mass market in the 1990s. Before this time, web conferencing was considered a first-class service that only more prosperous companies and organizations could use. However, technological advances in the late 1980s made it clear that the internet could support a simple presentation-sharing environment that would be an ideal way to share with people, share charts, worksheets, and other data, while using audio conference calls for verbal communication.
The earliest web conferences relied heavily on installing and caching an application on the hard drive of every person who wanted to attend a web meeting. The installation contains files that will be used during the meeting. In fact, the source or leader of the conference will access these files during the conference and check their representation during the meeting.
However, many people objected to this approach, as private information is now embedded on a number of hard drives. The Conference leader had to rely on the size of the attendees to delete sensitive files from the hard drive after the meeting. Over time, the technology has been improved to allow files to be deleted automatically when the conference is over. To this day, web conferencing providers still exist that require participants to log in at least thirty minutes before live meetings and go through this installation process.
In the early 1990s, alternative solutions to web presentations began to emerge. One type of service relied heavily on the use of presentation sharing creation tools such as PowerPoint. With this type of web conferencing, the leader will upload a slide presentation to the server of the web conferencing service. The slides were converted to basic HTML slides and saved to the provider's server. Using login credentials, it can log in to a meeting and activate a meeting by selecting from a list of saved presentations to share with leading attendees. This approach was very appealing to people who traveled and could not always be found on their own computer to conduct the meeting. As long as the presentation is already installed on the web conferencing service, any computer with an Internet-connected media player will suffice.
This new form of web conferencing for attendees prevented all files on their hard drives from being cached. All he needed to join was a URL and a password to his login page. Since the presentation was converted to basic HTML slides, participants needed nothing more than a media player to view the presentations. No login has yet been made to download anything. Web conferencing was a little cleaner for everyone.
Over the years, web computer conferencing has become user-friendly, although additional features have been added. The audio stream allows participants to listen to the audio while viewing their presentations today. Most web conferencing tools today not only allow documents to be viewed, but also allow the leader to relinquish control so that participants can work together on a letter, spreadsheet, or presentation.
Message capabilities in many web conferencing systems allow participants to send a private message to the leader, who can respond privately or broadcast the message to the entire group for discussion. Attendance lists for both the leader and participants allow everyone to see who is currently at the conference, who people are attending, and how long they have been at the web presentation meeting. Recording capabilities allow audio and visuals to be made into a permanent record that the leader can share with others at a later date.
Web conferencing has proven to be a convenient and cost-effective tool for many businesses and organizations of all sizes. Since the product is enriched with additional features in the coming years, there is no doubt that it will be an even more useful way to communicate with people all over the world.