olly - Fotolia

How can I use an online whiteboard in my business?

Online whiteboards can be used for much more than basic note taking. UC expert Jon Arnold explains why whiteboard collaboration is vital to virtual meetings.

On a basic level, an online whiteboard can be used lecture-style, much like a classroom chalkboard, to serve as...

a proxy for a prepared presentation. This use of whiteboarding will appeal to people with limited PowerPoint skills, or to those who want to communicate ideas that are difficult to express using standard slideshow templates.

A more interesting scenario is ad hoc visual sharing of ideas, such as during a meeting, where a participant starts talking and uses a whiteboard to clarify the content. The value here is to encourage spontaneous whiteboarding during virtual meetings when people feel their ideas are better conveyed visually, even if just using rough sketching.

These are valid uses of an online whiteboard, but they are more about imparting information from one person to a group rather than fostering teamwork. These use cases certainly have business value, but there's a higher order to consider when collaboration is the objective.

Online whiteboards are now a common feature within UC and should be viewed as an integral tool for all virtual meetings. The point of virtual meetings is to mirror an in-person experience, and this is where whiteboard collaboration has a role to play.

With whiteboarding integrated into a UC platform, conferencing sessions can be highly interactive where all participants can work on the same online whiteboard. The effect would be similar to screen sharing, where everyone sees what's being done, so nobody is left out. This makes collaboration easier, not just because the process is participatory, but because it's in real time.

Furthermore, online whiteboarding sessions can be saved, creating an archive to help document a team's work, and shared with others to provide further input -- thus extending the benefit of virtual collaboration.

Do you have a question for Jon Arnold or any other experts? Ask your enterprise-specific questions today! (All questions are treated anonymously.)

Next Steps

Online whiteboard features boost collaboration in the enterprise

The collaboration tools reshaping communication in the workplace

Dig Deeper on Collaborative Applications