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Web Conferencing Services: Meetings in Cyberspace

Aug 17, 2007
Many firms today are looking to cut costs wherever they can. Annual meetings, trainings, product launches, employee meetings and other similar corporate events are traditionally expensive propositions. Web conferencing services can reduce the costs of these meetings and gatherings drastically.

A web conference allows groups of individuals in different locations to have online meetings and discussions via the world wide web. Large corporations, small businesses, families and educational institutions are all taking advantage of this new form of communication. However, most web conferencing is currently done in the business sector.

By reducing the amount of face-to-face meetings, companies are able to reduce travel expenses, meeting costs and overhead. Web conferencing provides the same business to business or business to client interaction at a fraction of the cost.

Utilizing web conferencing services reduces lateness and absenteeism to company meetings, since the meetings are easier and quicker to attend. Employees can view the web cast at a common location or at their own personal computers, depending on how the conference is configured. Additionally, materials and information can be shared equally, making participation more uniform and useful.

Companies that specialize in providing web conferencing services abound on the internet. There is a software and application for almost every size business, and prices vary as widely as the sophistication of the software. Most companies charge per minute, per person, or on a flat rate basis, so be sure to review the rate structure as it pertains to your business.

Some of the companies that provide web conferencing services limit themselves to Windows and Internet Explorer, but others are expanding into Firefox and some of the other browsers. Webex works with the Internet Explorer browser and Windows and is one of the most popular web conferencing services out there. You may also want to check out other providers who charge a flat monthly fee like eBoardroom Suite at about $250 per month if you are planning on heavy utilization.

Microsoft Office LiveMeeting offers any user visiting its website a free 2 week trial. You can have your first web meeting on them. The trial includes meetings with up to 10 attendees for the first 14 days, the ability to embed a web page into your meetings and have all of the participants view it, application sharing and live polling capabilities. After the free trial, you may decide to purchase the software or go with another carrier. With their full software you can even choose to record or archive your meeting.

Whatever software you choose, investigate costs carefully. Price plans vary widely, so decide how you'll be using the software in advance and choose a plan that will allow you the most access at the least cost. Since some plans charge per participant and others charge per minute, preplanning and choosing the correct plan can make web conferencing services a bargain!
About the Author
Jay Moncliff is the founder of http://www.webconferencingsolutions.info a website specialized on Web Conferencing , resources and articles. For more info visit his site: Web Conferencing
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