Definition

web conferencing

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Unified communications technology basics
Contributor(s): Irwin Lazar

Web conferencing enables the real-time sharing of computer screens, individual applications or web-based content among two or more computers or mobile devices. Web conferencing platforms may be internet based and delivered via software as a service (SaaS) or may run within enterprise data centers in an on-premises delivery model.

Most web conferencing platforms support voice and video conferencing. Some platforms also support screen annotation, polling, speaker management, chat discussions, shared whiteboards and much more. Platforms that support video conferencing may also integrate with room-based video conferencing systems.

Web conferencing allows users to conduct business meetings and seminars, lead presentations, provide online education and offer direct customer support via remote keyboard mouse control. Control of the session can be passed among users, so any attendee can act as the main presenter.

Most web conferencing platforms are accessible via a web browser, but downloading and installing a client is often required to take advantage of all features, such as voice and video conferencing and content sharing.

This was last updated in June 2016

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What main advantages, and drawbacks, have you discovered in your use of web conferencing systems?
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On the creative side, our use of web conferencing has opened far better communications among disparate departments which are often sited at spots across the globe. And for all the company bean counters we've displayed unprecedented savings from travel costs and lost time. Many of our conversations, perhaps most, fare far better when we can make eye contact and see the body language.  

Drawbacks...? Far fewer airline travel awards and filled pages in my passport. Seems like the ayes have it....
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