Web Conferencing Services

Secure web conferencing services enable small and large businesses to conduct online meetings across town, from state to state, or from country to country. In today's marketplace, the competition is tough; and corporations need all the high-tech ammunition possible to stay ahead of the game. A strategic communications plan will include web conferencing tools to give businesses a decided edge. Internet-based conference providers offer software, websites, and cyberspace technology to enable users to establish a virtual board room that can accommodate from hundreds to thousands of participants. Productive meetings no longer require expensive air fares, hotel or conference center accomodations, or car rentals. In light of the current global fuel crisis, online conferences are a wise decision. Providers offer meeting organizers and attendees a central cyberspace location to log onto servers for online video and audio conversations. Whether conferences are scheduled for e-commerce or educational purposes, user-friendly global connections bring diverse individuals together with common goals.

While traditional videoconferencing used to be cost-prohibitive and limited to a select group of individuals with video and cable capabilities, today's web conferencing services offer a wide range of options tailored to each businesses' specific communication needs. Large and small corporations can design integrated packages, which include video and audio web conferencing, Internet-based seminars and broadcasts, interactive sales presentations, and distance learning. Web conferencing tools, such as cameras, speakers, laptops, and headsets, enable individuals and businesses to turn onsite offices, auditoriums, cafeterias, and conference rooms into broadcast sound stages. Strategically placed cameras can capture real-time videos of seminars, sales meetings, and lectures simultaneously shared by online attendees or downloaded on demand for future viewing. Integrated audio web conferencing adds sound to sight for a multimedia presentation in living color.

When it comes to assembling web conferencing tools, users should browse internet vendors to compare prices and features for cameras, communication software, speakers, and headsets. Vital to the success of an online meeting is the software or digital connection to a host server. Providers will ensure that participants can open firewall portals and log on with little difficulty. In addition to IP addresses and passwords, most providers safeguard web conferencing by regulating the number of participants, usually an average maximum of 150. Other web conferencing services offer a digital platform, which allows an unlimited number of attendees from all over the world. Users should shop for high-quality cameras with high VGA resolution and broadband connections. Resolutions at 2.0 megapixels will give the best quality video images, however 1.3 megapixel resolution cameras will still produce acceptable quality. IP addressable cameras come with installation software, which should be compatible with most operating systems and PCs. Plug and play cameras allow users to connect to PCs or laptops via USB ports.

Once conference organizers are onboard with a secure provider and web conferencing tools have been installed, it is a good idea to take a test drive with equipment and personnel in place. While providers offer free product trial offers of conferencing software, nothing beats a dress rehearsal for working out the bugs and ensuring that instructors or presenters are comfortable in front of the camera. And really, life is like a dress rehearsal. We conduct our lives, hopefully in accordance with Biblical laws and truths, so that we might be found worthy to obtain eternal life through Jesus Christ. Our acts of righteousness or unrighteousness, performed in the face of God on a daily basis, will be judged in the Last Day. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences" (II Corinthians 5:10-11).

Corporate executives presenting proposals to an international audience or domestic prospects will want to produce conference videos as professional as money can buy. Unlike conventional videotaping, web cams are a pretty static medium. Presenters should avoid quick arm movements or hand gestures, dress professionally with muted colors, and make sure that the camera is in focus and placed in a well-lit room with little clutter. Good quality cameras will have auto-focus features and optional USB cable extensions for positioning from any angle. Most cameras are designed with sturdy bases for level desktop placement. Optional heavy duty clips enable cameras to be attached to furnishings in front of the presenter. A good set of speakers with volume controls and a hands-free headset with mute feature should ensure that audio levels meet transmission requirements. Cameras can be launched with drivers and software provided by web conferencing services for a fee or downloaded from the Internet at no cost.

Businesses and individuals can expect to pay less than $100 for a medium quality web camera with accessories. High quality commercial grade models with higher resolutions and broadband connections average $200 online. Discount bidding websites may offer the best buys on web conferencing tools. However, buyers should beware of equipment which may have missing parts or warranties. There are no guarantees when consumers buy on discount bidding sites, even though prices may be rock bottom. Corporations can research web conferencing services online and take advantage of free trial offers before committing to a long term contract. Since most providers offer technical support and online training, business owners should not be reluctant to take advantage of low-cost strategic communications options to help boost revenue and open new avenues for global partnerships.

Web Conferencing Solutions

High-tech web conferencing solutions enable businesses to make the most of long distance online meetings without breaking the bank. You know the scenario: an overseas meeting is scheduled, but international time zones and expensive overseas calls are a real concern. Languages may not be a barrier, but budgeting for what could easily turn into hours of long distance negotiating presents a formidable challenge. Diplomacy dictates that each party exercise patience, but cost concerns may infringe on the ability to effectively present proposals and visuals within a limited time frame. But, web conference solutions help alleviate the pressure placed on participants to hurriedly complete long distance and overseas meetings because of budget concerns.

Streaming audio and video, podcasts, Internet telephony, instant messaging, and internet fax email are revolutionizing the way individuals and corporations communicate. Providers of web conferencing solutions utilize a "virtual" cornucopia of internet-based communications options to enable small and large corporations to compete on a global scale in a cyberspace marketplace. High-tech digital advances have provided a more excellent way for businesses to become more profitable. Likewise, over two thousand years ago, God established a more excellent way for the redemption of mankind in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ . . . In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace;" (Ephesians 1:3 and 7).

Video and audio web conferencing is fast becoming the norm for corporations who have offshore holdings or international connections, or simply want to conduct staff meetings, sales training sessions, or shareholder conferences with multiple participants in remote locations. Small and large corporations or internet entrepreneurs and online educational institutions utilize high-tech web cameras, microphones, and speakers to set up web-based meetings that can be broadcast all over the world. Instead of participants spending roundtrip airfare, hotel accommodations, and car rentals to attend seminars, training sessions, and sales meetings; attendees are invited via email or instant messaging to join prescheduled online conferences. Meeting attendees simply log on to a specific IP address, provider server, or corporate website and use an issued password to bypass firewalls. Real-time Internet conferences begin when each attendee has logged on and meeting organizers begin video and audio web conferencing broadcasts from a home office or central location.

Meeting organizers also have the option of using web conferencing solutions to videotape sessions, which can be downloaded and played on demand for those who cannot attend online. Corporations can tape live product demonstrations, marketing meetings, and motivational presentations, which employees and sales teams can download on demand at a later date or during onsite seminars. Team members and workgroups in remote locations from coast to coast and country to country can easily assemble online to collaborate on special projects or for brainstorming sessions. Web-based schools frequently use visual and audio web conferencing to provide offsite instruction to distance learning students. Instructors place web cameras in the classroom to offer students in remote locations a chance to interact with classmates. Students can participate in online chats to discuss pertinent points or share in question and answer sessions. Combined with Internet telephony, email, and instant messaging, online classes offer a fully integrated telecommunications package for offsite and home-bound students.

During an online meeting, attendees can easily participate verbally or visually through web cameras installed at a desktop or mounted at a workstation. Headset or ear bud microphones enable attendees to hear and be heard by others. Participants who choose not to interact during real-time conferences may respond via instant messaging or Internet fax email. Audio web conferencing solutions also enable participants to join in via email invitation and can be conducted without video. The beauty of audio conferencing is its versatility. Once calls are scheduled, participants can connect via Voice over Internet Protocol, toll-free domestic and foreign calling, or Internet telephony utilizing issued conference numbers. Audio-only meetings can be scheduled from any landline or mobile phone. Recipients can also listen to streaming audio broadcasts transmitted to a home or office PC while viewing on screen real-time or on-demand instructional or informational videos. Hardware requirements are a minimal: an on-board PC sound card, speakers, and headset.

Many web conferencing solutions providers limit meetings to an average of 150 participants at a time for a maximum of six hours and require attendees to log onto an IP address with access codes to bypass firewalls. However, some web conference solutions software enables organizers to invite an almost unlimited number of global participants. Internet meetings can be conducted from branded conference sites with attendee access via links embedded in emails or instant messages. The key to a successful Internet meeting is proper planning; but the process is simple. Organizers register with Internet providers or download software to establish virtual conference rooms. Attendee schedules and time zones are verified and invitations sent out via email, along with login instructions, passwords, or links. Attendees are also e-mailed agendas, contracts, and other pertinent data prior to conference participation, so that online discussions are kept to a minimum.

Prior to airing, organizers should set the stage for a professional meeting. Preparing a live webcast is similar to televised broadcasting. Focus and adjust web cams to visually frame speakers, similar to positioning televised news anchors. To avoid garish facial shadows, soften artificial or natural lighting directed onto the speaker's face rather than from behind. Adjust microphones and headsets to fit comfortably without obscuring facial features. Once the stage is set, organizers should take a test run before inviting attendees online. It doesn't hurt to plan and write a loosely outlined script to guide participants through the visual and audio web conferencing experience. Planning in advance ensures a more productive Internet-based meeting.

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