What is Web Conferencing?
Web conferencing technologies enable real-time collaboration between multiple devices. A web conferencing platform lets participants use their mobile devices, laptops, or personal computers (PCs) to join a single digital location.
When web conferencing technologies are delivered as software as a service (SaaS), users can access the platform using an Internet connection. A web conferencing platform can also be delivered on-premises, using the data center resources of the enterprise. Below we will also discuss the difference between video conferencing and web conferencing.
Once participants join a web conference, they can share resources, such as computer screens and content. Web conferencing platforms can be used to host seminars and webinars, conduct digital business meetings, teach online courses, and offer remote customer support.
In this article, you will learn:
- Web Conferencing vs Video Conferencing
- Essential Features of Web Conferencing Software
- How Does Web Conferencing Work?
- Web Conferencing Best Practices
Web Conferencing vs Video
Video conferencing technologies aim to provide quality video delivery, providing a similar experience to that of a real conference meeting. To achieve this goal, video conferencing technologies leverage a combination of dedicated cameras and microphones with large screens for displaying remote rooms, often managed by local servers.
Web conferencing technologies aim to provide quick and easy service to users. To achieve this goal, web conferencing technologies are built to be accessible using user resources, such as the camera of a mobile device and Internet connections. This means quality is often restricted to the quality of user devices and connectivity.
Read more about the difference between video and web conferencing.
Main Features of Web Conferencing Software
While web conferences can be different in style and content, many use a combination of similar features. Here are some important capabilities web conferencing software should provide:
- Live or streaming video—fast delivery of video and multimedia files.
- Slideshow presentations—interactive capabilities for presenting images, such as markups, annotations, and mouse pointers.
- VoIP technology—enables real-time audio communication, using computer and mobile speakers and headphones.
- Meeting recordings—enables recording of web conferences for future viewing or distribution.
- Whiteboards—let conference participants highlight or mark up their presentation and write on a shared whiteboard.
- Text chat and Q&A—enables exchanging text messages with other participants and lets participants address questions to presenters.
- Polls and surveys—enables session presenters to display polls and survey questions with multiple choice answers. Participants can answer questions live.
- Screen sharing, desktop sharing, and application sharing—enables presenters to share local resources with attendees.
- Security—features that ensure only the right people can access the web conference.
How Does Web Conferencing Work?
Web conferencing platforms typically leverage the following technologies:
- Communication protocol—the majority of web conferencing platforms use WebRTC technology, which is an open-source technology. WebRTC is supported by the majority of web browsers. It leverages application programming interfaces (APIs) to deliver real-time communication (RTC) with built-in security features.
- Deployment—SaaS-based web conferencing can be accessed directly via a web browser without the need to download and install any additional software on your computer, though some solutions require it.
- Point-to-point or multipoint—At its most basic level, web conferencing offers point-to-point conferencing between two locations. The more advanced the web conferencing solution, the more it will allow multipoint communication between multiple locations and even hundreds of participants.
- Security—encrypted communication using protocols like SSL/ TLS helps prevent unauthorized access and keeps web conferencing communications secure.
Best Practices for Conducting Meetings Using Web Conferencing
Rules of Engagement
To ensure all users with access to web conferencing technologies know how to properly use the technology, many organizations create documents that establish standards. These standards are typically called “rules of meeting engagement” or “meeting norms”, and include guidelines, such as:
- Using accessible and user-friendly technology—this practice enables a diverse range of users to participate in conferences.
- Testing web conferencing tools before the beginning of each meeting—this practice helps resolve technical issues in advance.
- Using the mute button—this practice helps prevent background noises and interruptions.
Setting Your Agenda and Roles Within
Virtual meetings are now the norm, and many feel they are draining and ineffective. When designing an ongoing virtual meeting program, think about more than just a simple agenda. Determine the purpose and scope of the web conference, and then define roles and meeting rules that can make your meetings more engaging and effective.
Here are a few roles you can assign to participates in your meetings that help facilitate better engagement:
- Facilitator—facilitates and designs the meeting.
- Notetaker—takes key notes or summarized takeaways. The notetaker distributes this information after the conference ends.
- Moderator—may be employed to increase human connection, conduct moderated Q&A when relevant, enforce meeting norms, and create a certain atmosphere.
Web Conferencing with Kaltura
Kaltura Meetings is a powerful video conferencing platform that will help you communicate effectively and move your projects forward, whether you’re brainstorming, conducting weekly meetings with customers, or working as a task force. Collaborate online with efficient and fun tools such as digital whiteboards, screen sharing, notes, and chat, on a platform that integrates with your existing systems.
Want to learn more about the difference between web conferencing and video conferencing?