Today businesses are looking to operate flexibly. They’re seeking ways to maintain continuity despite uncertain times. Technology has been evolving and mobile devices have allowed for better connectivity for organisations and their employees.
Communication tools like video conferencing, group chat, and VoIP are fantastic options for you and your team. But flexible and remote work teams need more. That is, not just communication, but full-on collaboration.
Web conferencing is a solution many companies opt for in maintaining business continuity. A range of web conferencing platforms offer tools for your communication and collaboration needs.
What is web conferencing?
Web conferencing is a real-time meeting between two or more people that is hosted on the internet.
This is typically hosted by an online service where users connect via TCP/IP protocols. Participants can dial into the meeting by telephone with a VoIP connection. Alternatively, they can join by using a computer or smart device with browser-based or mobile applications.
How do you use web conferencing?
Typically, you will use an online service to host your web conference. Next, you will create the meeting and send dial-in links or a phone number that invited participants can use to join the meeting.
You can host the meeting from anywhere using the technology you have at your fingertips. But you can also invest in hardware like cameras and microphones for consistent and high-quality meetings.
What is the difference between web conferencing and video conferencing?
At first glance, web conferencing and video conferencing sound like two phrases to describe the same thing. But this is not the case.
Video conferencing involves two or more parties communicating via a shared audio-visual experience. A video call can be a medium for web conferencing. However, many video conferencing systems are for face-to-face meetings only, without any collaborative features.
The blanket term of “web conferencing” refers to many types of meetings and online events.
These meetings can include webinars, webcasts, and web meetings like video and audio conferences. With web conferencing, one or more presenters can share and collaborate with participants.
Types of web conferencing
A webcast is a live stream or recorded video that is broadcasted over the internet. A speaker will present information via video stream and may use visual aids like presentation slides.
Participants connect to the meeting to view it in real-time or at a later date. A webcast is a one-way transmission and, therefore, participants will not be able to interact with the meeting.
A webcast is a great tool for presenting information to a large audience in an efficient manner. The fact that you can easily record all conferences through RingCentral makes it a great platform for webcasts.
A webinar is a live video presentation that is streamed over the internet. This type of web conferencing allows for two-way interaction between the meeting host and its participants.
This includes collaboration via live chat and whiteboard features. The host can also share their screen, slides, documents, and other files with the viewers. Doing so, couldn’t be simpler with RingCentral, plus participants will always be able to hear and see you clearly, thanks to top-quality video. And did we mention, you can host up to 10,000 attendees?
Meeting collaboration also takes place in the way of live polls and surveys. Webinars are great tools for things like training sessions. They’re also great for getting participant feedback or collaborating on projects in real-time.
A web meeting takes place between two or more participants. This can be audio conferencing, video conferencing, or a combination of both.
Meetings can be hosted from a conference room, home, or office. This is the most basic form of web conferencing and perhaps the most essential to the day-to-day functions of an organisation.
You can trust RingCentral with all your day-to-day web meeting needs. Your team can join whether they have an Android phone or a Mac, and if they prefer Windows or Linux. RingCentral’s video conferencing software is all about accessibility, connectivity, and collaboration.
Web conferences can help team members stay connected. And they can also host online collaborations for more effective teamwork. This means remote teams can meet online to plan and work on projects together in real-time.
A document can be edited together as a group, and ideas can be spit-balled via embedded tools like a whiteboard. File-sharing and live chat via RingCentral can help team members stay up to date with project changes. It’s also a place to give feedback and have accountability for tasks and projects.
Advantages of web and video conferencing
There are many reasons your organisation should be using web or video conferencing. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Web and video conferences allow you and your team to meet and collaborate from anywhere. And this includes meeting with your important clients and customers.
Instead of having to send a team across the country for in-person meetings, your team can get together from home or the office. You save potential boatloads of money in travel and accommodation costs!
You can host all of your web conferences in a virtual meeting room. Many online services allow you to customise your meeting room to fit your business and gathering needs. This means you can control who participates in a meeting and how. But you can also change the controls as your business evolves.
Online meetings give you and your employees maximum flexibility. Today, more and more people are working out of the office. And chances are that your business has some remote team members.
By having virtual face-to-face meetings, your flexible and remote workers can stay on track and still feel like part of the team.
Any web conferencing service will allow scheduling meetings anytime from anywhere. This gives you and your business not only great flexibility, but agility to react to the changing needs of your customers.
Urgent or emergency meetings can be scheduled with a few clicks. And invitees will be notified on various devices so they won’t have to worry about missing out!
All you need to host or join a web or video conference is your favourite smartphone! Browser-based and mobile apps make it easier than ever to create or join a meeting. All that is needed is an internet connection, and you can meet from anywhere!
Online conferences are the perfect space for staff training. They are also great for collaborative planning. This is because meetings can be joined from anywhere, thereby maximising the attendance rate.
You can also record meetings for those unable to attend, or who need a refresh. Web conference services offer productivity tools like team chat, file and document sharing to further boost efficiency.
What are some features of web conferencing tools?
One-click video meetings
The best web meeting services allow you to create and join meetings from anywhere.
RingCentral makes this easy with one-click video meetings. A call can be created straight from a messaging thread!
Seamless device flipping
RingCentral allows you to attend a meeting from anywhere at any time. This is the case even if you’re on the move.
If you’re on the way to your office, you can seamlessly flip from your smartphone to your desktop app as soon as you get to your desk. And you won’t have to worry about any interruptions to the meeting!
The best web conferencing solutions form part of your unified communications system (UCaaS). By using a UCaaS solution like RingCentral, you will be able to message, phone, and host video conferences all from one platform.
The ability to screen share is a minimum requirement of any web or video conferencing platform. This can be done easily while live streaming, so that all participants can gain further understanding and insight into the topic on hand.
Sometimes not everyone can attend a meeting. Even with the greater flexibility provided by a video conference.
Instead, meetings can be recorded in perpetuity for as many views and reviews as needed. You can also highlight important moments to save viewers’ time. RingCentral offers unlimited cloud storage and streaming of recorded meetings.
Real-time meeting analytics
Solutions like RingCentral let you visualise the adoption of a system across your organisation. This lets you configure and customise to better suit your needs, and the needs of your employees.
But it also makes monitoring and troubleshooting things like call quality easy and effective. Snuff out potential problems before they become bigger.
Join on the go
Sometimes you are out and about between the office, home, and the cafe (if you’re lucky). With RingCentral Video, just click the “call me” button and you will be automatically added to any meeting.
Who can participate in a web conference?
Anyone can participate in a web conference.
All that’s needed is an internet-connected device and a willing mind!
Platforms like RingCentral make it dead easy! Just load up the web browser on your device of choice, and jump straight into the meeting with one click or tap!
Using RingCentral to enhance web conferencing today
Apps can be very intuitive and user friendly but this is not always the case. What’s even easier? No downloads required.
Top conferencing platforms like RingCentral Video work straight from your browser. It couldn't get any easier to meet online!
HD voice and video
RingCentral Video gives you consistent HD video quality for clarity and a seamless meeting experience.
RingCentral gives you the ultimate mobility with how you attend web conferences. Create and join a meeting from anywhere on any device. Integrations, browser plugins, and mobile apps for iOS and Android make using any device painless.
Unlimited meetings & messaging
A web conferencing solution can be part of an all-in-one UCaaS solution for you and your organisation.
Message. Call. Video. It’s all there for you and your team. With RingCentral, teams get unlimited access to all communication including messaging and meetings.
Like most businesses, yours is already using online services to manage daily operations. The good news? RingCentral provides you with tons of integrations for third-party functionality.
For example, you can easily implement web conferencing alongside team messaging in a platform like Slack. Or download a Chrome extension to make sure you never miss a message!
Team up RingCentral MVP with your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) service like Salesforce or Zendesk. The sky’s the limit!
RingCentral’s UCaaS platform can scale with your company as it grows. No matter your business needs, RingCentral can provide a solution. And this also means you only pay for what you need!
Online meetings can be prone to attacks and uninvited guests. Nothing is more valuable than the private data of your business and its customers.
RingCentral Video employs WebRTC for application encryption.
Additional security is layered with data stream and media stream encryption. The platform has built-in security features to detect and mitigate threats. Our security is certified by external and trusted sources.
Web conferencing FAQs
RingCentral’s video conferencing solutions offer a consistent, secure, and high-quality experience. In addition, you and your team will be able to employ features like screen sharing and live chat.
In fact, with RingCentral, you will be able to call, message, video chat, and communicate in any way you need!
With an app like RingCentral Video, setting up a meeting can be as simple as clicking a button. Whether from a web browser, or the RingCentral Android or iOS mobile apps, users can create and join a meeting from a single interface.
You can even start a video meeting right inside a message thread. Dial-in links can also be sent from a group chat or to recipients via Outlook or Gmail.
When searching for an online service for your organisation’s needs it is important to know how much you’re willing to spend. And many times for a small business, this means looking for free online meeting solutions.
There are plenty of free options available. However, free web conferencing services come with restrictions. Low limits on the number of participants and meeting length can be frustrating. Free services also lack collaboration tools like cloud storage and desktop sharing.
RingCentral MVP provides many options to fit the scale and nature of your business. You can compare pricing here.
There’s no point in having a video meeting if no one can see you! Make sure you are joining from a well-lit area.
If using an external camera, position the camera centrally to where you will be facing. For any device with a built-in webcam, make sure to set the drive up with the camera centred on you.
Have some common sense about where you decide to host or join a conference call. Find a nice quiet place so that other attendees can hear you clearly when it’s your turn to speak. During less than ideal situations, consider muting your microphone when not speaking.
Use a headset
This is the best way to ensure a clear audio experience for online meetings. Using a recommended headset will also help to eliminate annoying feedback and mic echo.
Keep it professional
Online meetings allow for much greater work flexibility. But your conferences will benefit from adherence to a standard of professionalism. Maintain your appearance and dress accordingly to encourage viewers to focus on what you are saying and not what you look like!
Online meetings in real-time first appeared with Internet Relay Chat (IRC) in the 1980s. By the mid-1990s, technology had evolved into web-based chat and instant messaging.
Soon after, many platforms sprung up allowing for real-time communications between multiple parties. Soon several players were entering the market for web meetings, webcasts, and webinars.
Video conference use and adoption have been growing every year. But even more so considering the disruption and uncertainty of 2020 and 2021.
Data from a 2019 study found that US businesses already participated in more than 11 million video conferences per day! And video conferencing saw a meteoric rise in daily traffic of 535% in 2020.