Why use web conferencing #1: The additional value of online collaboration

How can you best substitute face-to-face meetings if you need to save on travel cost? And is there a way to enable day-to-day, spontaneous and straightforward collaboration on projects or documents over the Internet? When faced with these questions a lot of companies immediately think of video conferences, which is a bit short sighted. True, you can see whom you are talking to. But how do you hold a presentation or work on a document with the other participants?

Sending documents back and forth via email also is not really a solution. And even instant messaging services such as Jabber, IRC, or AIM cannot truly compete with web conferencing. Those services simply impose too many restrictions, with demanding every participant have an account with the respective service as the top hindrance of easy meeting setup.

A good web conferencing solution only requires the host to download a small piece of software. He can then invite participants by sending them a link to the virtual meeting place, which means that all you need as a participant is a functioning Internet connection. What’s more, nearly all web conferencing solutions include a messaging functionality that allow two or more participants to communicate via text chat, without interrupting or stalling the meeting. Participants can share and work on documents, hold presentations, and much more.

So really the question shouldn’t be IF you should use a web conferencing solution for virtual meetings but rather what other functionalities online collaboration services offer you for your specific usage scenario.

You can check out our test approach here to learn more about the functionalities offered by web conferencing solutions and how they weigh into our evaluation.