CenturyLink® Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C) combine adaptive networking with a complete portfolio of technologies on a secure global network with end-to-end support. The UC&C portfolio includes cloud, hosted, and fully managed services built on best-in-class applications ...
Web Conferencing Software
Best Web Conferencing Software
TrustMaps are two-dimensional charts that compare products based on satisfaction ratings and research frequency by prospective buyers. Products must have 25 or more ratings to appear on this TrustMap.
Web Conferencing Software Overview
What is Web Conferencing?
Web conferencing software allows participants to conduct or attend meetings via the internet. This is also known as online meeting software. It enables remote meetings based on VoIP, video conferencing, instant messaging, file and screen sharing.
Web conferencing has become fundamental to how many organizations conduct business. The tools enable remote employees, customers, and partners to connect easily and often. Specific uses for web conferencing software include:
Presentations or webinars
Video meetings with multiple participants
Running product demos and training
1 on 1 meetings with remote employees
Face to face customer support
The top three benefits of using web conferencing software are:
Reduced travel costs
Web Conferencing Features & Capabilities
Audio and video quality
Web conferencing software should facilitate audio calls and video conferencing. The quality of audio and video is a key factor to consider. Buyers should also consider the bandwidth usage of the software.
Meeting presenters should be able to share their screens with participants.
Users can typically schedule meetings or initiate impromptu meetings. Participants should be able to easily join meetings - and mute themselves. The ability to record meetings (and save or download recordings) is offered by some but not all vendors. Buyers should investigate to make sure meeting recordings meet their needs.
Many web conferencing software products include collaboration features such as live chat, audience polling, Q&A, and file sharing.
Enterprises and companies in highly regulated industries will need enhanced security. Security features include user authentication, permissions, and confidential attendee lists.
Some web conferencing software products offer a mobile app. This allows easy access to video meetings from a mobile device or tablet. Others allow users to call in from mobile devices (audio-only), or join meetings from a mobile-friendly web link.
Other features include:
Meeting scheduling and recording
Audience interaction features
Web Conferencing vs. Video Conferencing
Web conferencing traditionally referred to “one-to-many” interactions. This included presentations, training, and webinars. Individuals could participate via chat or “hand-raising” but the presenter was the key communicator. In contrast, video conferencing traditionally referred to face-to-face interactions between equal participants, typically two people or a small group.
This line between web conferencing and video conferencing is blurring. Web conferencing no longer refers just to calls with a single presenter. The term now includes group discussions, 1:1 meetings, and video calls. Most online meeting vendors offer both traditional web conferencing features (e.g. screen sharing, presentations to large groups, meeting moderation) and traditional video conferencing features (e.g. two-way video and audio).
Free Web Conferencing
There are many free web conferencing options available. Some are personal tools, like Skype and Google Hangouts. Others are focused on small businesses, including AnyMeeting, MeetingBurner, Join.me, and Zoom.
Free products (and free tiers of paid products) may have some limitations. This includes lower video/audio quality, fewer features, and restrictions on the size of meetings, for example.. Paid products typically have more features and better performance and security. But they can be cost-prohibitive for smaller companies, especially if online meetings are only needed now and then by a few individuals.
Paid Web Conferencing
For paid plans, web conferencing software is usually priced per seat by the number of meeting participants and included features. Prices start as low as $15/mo. per host for up to 100 participants, as with the Zoom Pro plan. For enterprise-wide web conferencing software, prices can run into thousands of dollars per month. This includes multiple hosts, virtual meeting rooms, integrations, security & administration, enhanced support, and more.