The biggest factor is usability.

The Internet provides availability of a host of services that can save small businesses considerable resources - including both time and money - while concurrently making your operation much more effective. One such service is Web conferencing. Not to be confused with video conferencing, which requires considerable bandwidth, Web conferencing is currently much more flexible. Web conferencing utilizes the Internet as a visual means to communicate through the use of a Web-enabled application. This application might, for example, allow you to present a PowerPoint presentation to a number of remote locations for the purpose of training or share a virtual whiteboard for a brainstorming session. It could also allow you to take control of a remote participant's computer desktop for the purpose of helping him or her with a problem.

Web conferencing is made up of two key components: a voice conference call and a concurrent Web conference. Although it is possible to send and receive both over a single Internet connection, it is not recommended. A best practice is to create a voice conference call using your telephone equipment. Most of the services available today will bridge the voice and Web presentation, so that participants can control both aspects using either their phone or computer.

Let's consider potential uses and benefits:

Training - Testing and Tracking

  • Reduction of travel time and expense.

  • The ability to reach out and touch more people in less time than doing it physically.

  • Those who aren't available can view the recorded session online and the trainer will be notified who has and who has not viewed the session.

  • Low cost and maximum coverage.

    Demonstrations - Sales

  • All of the above, plus two-way communications to finalize a deal.

    Collaboration - Meetings

  • All of the above, plus the ability to communicate at a moment's notice - and as much as necessary - no matter where each meeting participant is geographically located.

  • The ability to have multiple people interact with each other and all work on (mark up) a single document.

    Support - Desktop Sharing

  • This is a use of Web conferencing that is a bit different than the others. A computer support technician can utilize the desktop-sharing feature to work directly on a computer that has a problem.

    There are many ways to facilitate Web conferencing. My recommendation is to do an Internet search to find a solution that fits and sign up for a free trial. Today the biggest factor in Web conferencing is usability. If it isn't simple to use, it simply won't be used.