Web conferencing

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What is Web Conferencing?

Web conferencing is used to conduct live meetings or presentations over the Internet. In a web conference, each participant sits at his or her own computer and is connected to other participants via the internet. This can be either a downloaded application on each of the attendees computers or a web-based application where the attendees will simply enter a URL (website address) to enter the conference.

A webinar is a neologism to describe a specific type of web conference. It is typically one-way [1], from the speaker to the audience with limited audience interaction, such as in a webcast. A webinar can be collaborative [1] and include polling and question & answer sessions to allow full participation between the audience and the presenter. In some cases, the presenter may speak over a standard telephone line, pointing out information being presented on screen and the audience can respond over their own telephones, preferably a speaker phone. There are web conferencing technologies on the market that have incorporated the use of VoIP audio technology, to allow for a truly web-based communication. Webinars may (depending upon the provider) provide hidden or anonymous participant functionality, enabling paticipants to be unaware of other participants in the same meeting.

In the early years of the Internet, the terms "web conferencing" was often used to describe a group discussion in a message board and therefore not live. The term has evolved to refer specifically to live or "synchronous" meetings.
Contents
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* 1 Features
* 2 Standards
* 3 History
* 4 Software and service providers
* 5 See also
* 6 References
* 7 External links

[edit] Features

Other typical features of a web conference include: [2]

* Slide presentations (often created through PowerPoint or Keynote on a Mac)
* Live video (via webcam or digital video camera)
* VoIP (Real time audio communication through the computer via use of headphones and speakers)
* Web tours - where URLs, data from forms, cookies, scripts and session data can be pushed to other participants enabling them to be pushed though web based logons, clicks, etc. This type of feature works well when demonstrating websites where users themselves can also participate.
* Recording (for viewing at a later time by anyone using a unique web address)
* Whiteboard with annotation (allowing the presenter and/or attendees to highlight or mark items on the slide presentation. Or, simply make notes on a blank whiteboard.)
* Text chat - For live question and answer sessions, limited to the people connected to the meeting. Text chat may be public (echo'ed to all participants) or private (between 2 participants).
* Polls and surveys (allows the presenter to conduct questions with multiple choice answers directed to the audience)
* Screen sharing/desktop sharing/application sharing (where participants can view anything the presenter currently has shown on their screen. Some screen sharing applications allow for remote desktop control, allowing participants to manipulate the presenters screen, although this is not widely used.)

Web conferencing is often sold as a service, hosted on a web server controlled by the vendor, either on a usage basis (cost per user per minute) or for a fixed fee (cost per "seat").[citation needed] Some vendors make their conferencing software available as a licensed product, allowing organizations that make heavy use of conferencing to install the software on their own servers. Some web conferencing software is distributed free for hosting on the MC's server. There is also software available that is installed on the MC's computer and does not require server configuration software.

An important capability of web conferencing software is application sharing, the ability for one party in the conference to share an application (such as a web browser, spread sheet, etc.) from their desk top with every one else in the meeting and pass the control of the application to someone else in the meeting.[citation needed]

[edit] Standards

Web conferencing technologies are not standardized, which has been a significant factor in the lack of interoperability, platform dependence, security issues, cost and market segmentation. In 2003, the IETF established a working group to establish a standard for web conferencing, called "Centralized Conferencing (xcon)" [3]. The planned deliverables of xcon include:

* A basic floor control protocol. Binary Floor Control Protocol (BFCP)[4] published as RFC 4582
* A mechanism for membership and authorization control
* A mechanism to manipulate and describe media "mixing" or "topology" for multiple media types (audio, video, text)
* A mechanism for notification of conference related events/changes (for example a floor change)

[edit] History

Real-time text chat facilities such as IRC appeared early in the internet's history.[when?] Web-based chat and instant messaging software appeared in the mid-1990s. In the late 1990s, the first true web conferencing capability became available and dozens of other web conferencing venues followed thereafter.[citation needed]

A trademark for the term "webinar" has been registered in 1998 by Eric R. Korb (Serial Number 75478683, USPTO) but was difficult to defend; it is currently assigned to InterCall.[5]

[edit] Software and service providers

* Adobe Acrobat Connect
* Convenos Meeting Center
* Genesys Meeting Center
* Glance
* Gotomeeting
* IBM Lotus Sametime
* InterCall
* Microsoft Office Live Meeting
* WebEx
* WebTrain

[edit] See also

* Comparison of web conferencing software
* Collaborative software
* Webcast

[edit] References

1. ^ a b "Webinar Definition". PC Magazine Encyclopedia. Retrieved on 2008-06-29.
2. ^ World Web Event Services Markets - N100-64, Frost and Sullivan, page 10, 2006, "The main features within the web event services market"
3. ^ Centralized Conferencing (xcon)
4. ^ "Binary Floor Control Protocol". Internet Society IETF (November 2006).
5. ^ "Trademark Assignment for Webinar". United States Patent and Trademark Office (February 6, 2003). Retrieved on 2008-06-29.

[edit] External links

* 26 web conferencing providers / 72 comparison points

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v • d • e
Computer-mediated communication
Online discourse environment, Online discussion, Communication software
Asynchronous conferencing
E-mail • Electronic mailing list • Internet forum • Wiki
Synchronous conferencing
(Online chat)
Instant messaging • LAN messenger • Web chat • Web conferencing • Videoconferencing • Data conferencing • Voice chat • VoIP
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_conferencing"
Categories: Internet culture | Teleconferencing

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