Many companies are using, or considering the use of, Web conferencing tools as a way of enabling geographically dispersed teams to collaborate on projects without needing to spend money on travel. Web conferencing can keep budgets in check, and also be a part of a company’s “green” initiatives by reducing the use of natural resources. Web conferencing is also a way to communicate with existing and potential customers.
There are two main type of Web conferencing solutions: in-house and outsourced. An in-house solution involves the purchase and setup of special hardware and software at each location with people who want to participate in virtual conferences. This can be expensive, but some companies opt for the in-house solution because of concerns about privacy and security.
It is true that in the past, achieving secure connections using an outsourced solution wasn’t always possible, or was a challenge. Relying on equipment and software owned and operated by the vendor might have seemed a risk not worth taking, even if such solutions were less expensive. Things have changed, however. Technology is now available to make outsourced Web conferencing solutions secure in addition to costing less than the in-house option.
One example is the Web conferencing service offered by Packetel (News - Alert), which provides an easy-to-use and secure online interface that’s affordable for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Ease of use is a big selling point for this Web conferencing solution, and is something companies should consider. In-house Web conferencing typically involves complexities on the client setup side, as well as the installation of virtual private network (VPN
The decision whether to go with a in-house or outsourced Web conferencing solution has a lot to do with who the users of the system will be. Beyond the internal collaboration use for Web conferencing, this type of tool can be a great way for companies to connect with partners, clients and suppliers. In such cases, conferences are often conducted between people or groups meeting for the first time. Adding complicated network setup to the mix can put a real damper on the effectiveness of such meetings.
Packetel designed its outsourced Web conferencing solution to be feature-rich and easy to use without sacrificing security. The solution enables audio and video “Webinars,” with a robust set of features including sharing of screens and desktops among multiple participants, ad-hoc meeting setup using verbal invites rather than e-mail, integration with Outlook, optimization for different Internet connection speeds, whiteboard, and chat functionality.
All of this is achieved using an online interface that doesn’t require participants to perform complex setup or companies to install expensive in-house equipment. To learn more, please visit the Web Conferencing channel on TMCnet.com, brought to you by Packetel.
Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users. Today’s featured white paper is End-to-end Billing and Network Management, brought to you by Comarch (News - Alert).
Mae Kowalke is an associate editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. To read more of Mae’s articles, please visit her columnist page. She also blogs for TMCnet here.
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