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Best Web Conferencing Software

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Web Conferencing Software – an overview

Web Conferencing is an online service by which users can hold live meetings, conferencing, presentations and training via the internet. Users can connect to the conference either by telephone or by using their computer’s speakers and microphone through a VoIP connection.

Web Conferencing usually allows real-time point-to-point communication as well as multi-task communication from one sender to many receivers in separate locations. Depending on the service, either an application (additional software) is downloaded and installed, or a web-based application is launched in the attendee’s browser.

Features of such solutions include screen sharing, chat, remote control, file sharing and recording. Advanced programs offer integration with marketing automation and CRM platforms, enhanced security functionality and capability for audience interaction. Benefits of Web Conferencing include enhanced collaboration, and a reduction in travel costs.

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VOIP-phoen-serviceVOIP phoen service

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join-meJoin-me

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UberConferenceUberConference

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ZoomZoom

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Cisco-WebexCisco-Webex

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GoToMeetingGoToMeeting

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HighfiveHighfive

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AtlassianAtlassian

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GotowebinarGotowebinar

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FuzeFuze

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The 10 most popular Web Conferencing Software products

1. 8*8 VOIP Phone Service is a business VoIP phone service that includes a full range of essential business features, such as voicemail, auto attendant, automatic call forwarding, Conference Bridge, Outlook integration, softphone, music on hold etc.

8*8 Virtual Office Pro is a unified communications bundle that combines a business VoIP phone service, internet faxing, call recording, web conferencing and iPhone integration to create a cost-effective business solution.

2. Join.me is an online meeting and conferencing tool that connects people using multiple devices and in multiple locations. The app comes with a number of features and capabilities intended to make the online meeting experience more streamlined and customisable. Join.me offers unlimited audio, meaning that anyone can join a call from any device, whether that is through VoIP or phone lines. It offers phone numbers in 40 different countries to facilitate worldwide conferencing.

The solution creates a personalised and flexible conferencing experience with the ability to share screens, make recordings, add and remove participants and more. Users can add, and re-assign the role of presenter any time during a meeting, meaning they can take turns presenting screens. Up to 250 participants and meetings can be joined from any mobile device, including Android, iOS and iPads. Users can schedule meetings and send invitations with the Join.me Scheduler or directly through Outlook or Google Calendar.

3. UberConference is a cloud-based conferencing calling tool, which helps reduce the overhead costs for business that are utilising expensive conferencing equipment, and helps in replacing VoIP solutions. UberConference is highly customisable for small and large businesses, and it has conference call integration with Google which offers extensive portable communication options.

Users get access to unlimited calling, screen sharing, international calling, HD audio, and other powerful conferencing tools. With the program, users can easily share and annotate documents with Google Drive, Dropbox, Box and Evernote.  As a result of the integration of UberConference with Google Hangouts and Google Drive, it facilities the annotation of documents when on the move.

4. Zoom is a high-definition audio and video web conferencing platform. The solution offers a host of features which can help users with group collaboration, call clarity and seamless integration with existing business applications. The Zoom video conferencing service allows users to share screens, record conferences, annotate collaboratively, and integrate with software ranging from Dropbox to Marketo.

Zoom can also be connected to conference room systems, ensuring that business hardware and software are working in tandem. In addition, Zoom provides users with the ability to create video webinars and panels, including up to 50 interactive participants, and up to 10,000 view-only attendees.

5. Cisco WebEx combines desktop sharing through a web browser with phone conferencing and video, so all participants can see the same thing whilst they talk.

The solution enables businesses to save the money and time involved in travel, allows for easy collaboration with distant colleagues and clients, removes the issues associated with emailing files and phone follow-up, and makes meetings more productive and successful.

Collaboration features include white boards, note-taking and annotation tools. WebEx lets users stream live webcam video in every meeting or session, and keep track of conversations and decisions by recording audio and video with a simple click.

It is easy to schedule, host or join a WebEx web conference, whether a participant is using a desktop, laptop or mobile phone.

6. GoToMeeting is video conferencing and collaboration software that can launch meetings from various locations such as email, Microsoft Office and instant messaging tools. The solution is suitable for businesses of all sizes, and can be deployed both in the cloud as well as on premise.

GoToMeeting enables users to organise, invite and attend online meetings, presentations, trainings and video conference calls. Customers, colleagues and prospects can view any application on users’ PCs. Its HDFaces video conferencing functionality can share up to six high-definition video feeds per session.

The application provides features such as synchronous editing, project management, cooperative writing, minutes’ management, invitation management, two-way audio and video, chat and messaging. The solution offers a free mobile app that can start an instant or scheduled meeting from devices such as Windows phones, iPads or iPhones.

7. HighFive is a vendor that creates video conferencing software and in-room video system hardware. Licensing is on a per-room basis, with unlimited users and usage and no-named user fees.

HighFive’s software can handle video conferencing, web conferencing and screen sharing. Users have the option to initiate a video conference on a desktop device and then move the call to a TV screen, or vice versa.

Participants do not need PINs to join video calls or conferences – users can simply send them a link. Uses can also initiate and manage video calls and web conferences from Android phones, IPhones and iPads using HighFive’s app.

The HighFive in-room device uses Bluetooth technology to enable wireless projection of conferences to TV screens. It also features an HD camera and a high-fidelity microphone.

8. HipChat is a private instant messenger-based collaboration solution that allows team to connect over chat room or video chats, and share documents through the platform.

The solution enables users to share screens with colleagues to encourage collaboration in real-time. Users can drag-and-drop files from desktops or cloud-based drives to share with colleagues within the system.

Hipchat offers the ability to create multiple projects, chat rooms for teams or clients, alerts for message notifications and search capabilities on group names, text, links and files. The solution can be synchronised across desktops, mobile devices or web applications.

The application offers 256-bit SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption and role-based access, and is primarily designed for customers in technology and media industries. It integrates with third-party systems like JIRA, Asana and Google Hangouts.

9. GoToWebinar is a collaboration tool that allows users to conduct “do-it-yourself” webinars from a PC or Mac for up to 1,000 people. They can set up a webinar in minutes without IT support, and start generating qualified marketing leads.

The solution features the GoToMeeting audio conferencing app, via computer and telephone.

Webinars are used for marketing purposes, and enable businesses to generate and nurture leads by educating their target market, reach prospects in a wider geographical area or invite guest speakers to endorse their products.

GoToWebinar can streamline company communications, such as organising company-wide all hands meetings or quickly updating employees on new policies and procedures. It also enables customer service teams to update remote customers and employees without the need for travel.

10. Fuze is an online meeting solution that works across a range of devices and integrates with traditional video conferencing systems. Users receive audio conferencing, video conferencing, screen-sharing and web conferencing functionality on tablets, smartphones, desktops, and laptops.

Users who wish to equip meeting rooms with HD video conferencing systems can opt for Fuze for Rooms. The Fuze Telepresence Connect service helps businesses to ensure interoperability with room-based video conferencing systems from leading hardware vendors.

Fuze’s applications are designed to dynamically optimise voice, video and content transmission across a range of devices and network conditions. For example, users receive re-join notifications after network outages and unmute notifications when the system senses them talking.

Fuze also offers features such as collaborative annotation of content, special modes for conferencing while driving, content sharing from mobile devices, and integration with cloud-based file hosting services such as Dropbox and Box.

Choosing the best Web Conferencing Software

It is important that users choose software that closely matches their needs and budget. While a great deal of research may be needed before the right solution is found, some key considerations include:

  • What technology and features are offered by the solution?
  • What are the internal needs for such an application – for example, staff and customer meetings, training, webinars or internal project meetings
  • Does the proposed package integrate with existing systems, or will there be a need to upgrade or purchase additional hardware and/or software?
  • What training and customer support does the vendor offer post-deployment; and
  • How easy is the proposed solution to use?

Having determined the answers to these questions, a shortlist of solutions can be drawn-up which can then be tested via free trial period and product demonstrations.

Types of Web Conferencing Software

Web Conferencing Software can be categorised according to usage.

Customer Support – used by organisations to provide customer support;

Education and training – apps used to train and educate people remotely via the internet;

Enterprise collaboration – used by medium and large organisations for project collaboration across distances;

Large-scale webcasting – systems used to webcast to large audiences;

Remote access  – allows users to remotely access another person’s computer for troubleshooting and other reasons;

Rich media sharing–multimedia users can use this type of program for running rich media apps; and

Simple online meetings – systems used to conduct simple online meetings using screen-sharing and audio features.

 Conclusion

Web Conferencing Software allows users to participate in video and audio meetings using the Internet. Such applications offer benefits in the form of enhanced collaboration, affordable long-distance communication and the minimisation of travel expenses.