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Web Conferencing Software ? Choosing Your Application

It is worth bearing in mind that, when you are deciding which web conferencing application to utilize, none of the applications currently available will do everything well.

Each system has its own strengths and weaknesses and it is therefore important for you to identify what you hope to gain from your web conferencing application. The first step you should take is to draw up a list of essential features - decide what the most important aspects of web conferencing are to you and what you hope to gain from your system.

By identifying what is most important to you, you can narrow down your field of selection to those vendors who are supplying a product that most closely matches your requirements. By immediately discarding those that do not match your criteria, you will find yourself considering a far more manageable number of applications.

Communication: Meetings, Webcasts and Webinars For example, if the key function you want your web conferencing application to perform is that of communication then you require an application that will allow you to exchange with others. An application that has the capability to host meetings, transmit webcasts and hold training seminars will be required.

Different web conferencing applications have different capabilities, some allowing you to invite hundreds of delegates to your seminar, others allowing a maximum of say, ten. Levels of interaction vary too so be very clear about what functions you will need your application to be able to perform.

Before investing in your new system you should thoroughly review exactly what each provider is offering to ensure it meets with your requirements.

Vendors:

Vendors of this type of application include:

* Centra

* Netbriefings

* Placeware

* Smiletiger

* Spartacom

Online Collaboration and Project Management

Online collaboration software is particularly effective for project management. These applications allow users to share files and documents, to view files at the same time and update documents in real time. Previously, this level of collaboration could only be achieved by being physically present in the same location but online collaboration applications are extremely effective.

Vendors:

Vendors of this type of application include:

* Genesys

* Interwise

* Viditel

* WebEx

You need to consider too, whether or not your chosen application will be compatible with your existing software and operating platform. This information will be readily available from the application vendor. Also, do you have sufficient broadband capability to run your chosen application?

The cost, of course, is a major consideration when deciding upon your web conferencing application and will undoubtedly influence your ultimate decision. Applications range from the elementary (some can even be set up with a plug-in the likes of Yahoo Messenger) to the most sophisticated systems that will allow broadcasting to hundreds of delegates.

When deciding how much to spend, take into account how much money you are already spending in terms of time and money on travel. The chances are, if you choose your application sensibly, you will earn back its cost in a relatively short period of time.

Diane Parker is a freelance writer and technology enthusiast providing valuable information including: web conferencing software, choosing a web conferencing tool and internet conferencing.

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