WebEx was founded in the mid-1990s as an online meeting application. It was purchased by Cisco in 2007 and has since expanded into a cloud-based web conferencing tool.
WebEx's initial focus was connecting voice and data participants, but it has expanded into high-definition video conferencing. WebEx can accommodate businesses of all sizes. Products range from small freeware to large enterprise-centric video conferencing.
WebEx video conferencing software comes in several different offerings, starting with the basic WebEx Meetings and then more specific applications that specialize in events, training and support. WebEx Meetings' customers can add Collaboration Meeting Rooms Cloud to include standards-based video conferencing systems.
WebEx Meetings has four packages that offer the same essential features, including HD voice, video conferencing, screen sharing and recording. The key difference in the packages is the scalability of participants. WebEx supports meetings with up to three, eight, 25 or 100 participants.
Specialized packages include training and support centers. For large town hall or marketing meetings, WebEx offers Event Center for up to 100, 500 or 1,000 participants. Event Center allows for multiple presenters and includes audio controls and attention-monitoring tools.
Costs mount with more meeting hosts
WebEx video conferencing software is available on mobile apps and desktop. Using voice over IP, audio participants can connect through these devices, or they can call a dial-in number. For video participants, the WebEx client supports embedded cameras and third-party video conferencing systems.
WebEx Event Center allows multiple presenters to broadcast events for groups of 100 to 3,000 participants. WebEx is cloud-based, but customers can deploy a WebEx Meeting Server on premises and receive the same experience.
Cisco offers four standard pricing plans for WebEx Meetings. The plans scale up to support larger meetings. WebEx free accounts include premium features for the first 14 days.
The cost is per host, or the person who can start a meeting. Costs escalate when users add more meeting hosts. More costs accumulate when customers buy a toll-free plan for people dialing into meetings. Lastly, companies that want to record and store videos on WebEx will pay a storage cost.
Cisco sells WebEx video conferencing software directly from its website. Customers looking to procure multiple accounts, hosts or specialized services -- such as Event Center or Collaboration Meeting Rooms -- must contact Cisco sales or partners.
Cisco provides live, 24/7 technical support to all WebEx video conferencing software users, except the free version of WebEx Meetings. Online support is available to all WebEx customers.
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