The concept of an online conference (also known as videoconference, video conference, videoteleconference, video teleconference, web conference, audio conference) is not at all new. This technology was introduced in the 1970s and became digital in the 1980s. IP or Internet Protocol in the mid 1990s made video conferencing more accessible to the world.
Simply stated, an online conference uses a set of telecommunication lines that allows visuals and audio to simultaneously transmit from different vantage points. It varies quite differently from video phone conferencing.
There are many benefits to using online conferencing, as opposed to video phone conferencing. For one thing, this kind of conference allows for an exchange of documents, music clips, pictures, presentations, slide shows and videos prior, during and even after each conference. Also, aside from just talking to other members of the conference, communication can be established via IM or instant messenger, forums, discussion boards, polls and surveys by typing in texts or clicking on “answer” buttons. Some online conferencing (depends on the service provider) even include virtual “white boards” where participants can simply “draw” or “scribble” their messages.
Another benefit to online conferencing is its inexpensive operating cost. Each “call” is only a fraction of what you might pay for a regular video phone conference.
There are however, a few things you will need prior to the installation of online conferences. You need hardware (camera, headset, microphone, modem, phone line access, etc.) for your computer and software from Internet service providers and online conference service providers. The cost of each conference “call” depends mainly on the going rates of your chosen online conference service providers plus that of your Internet service provider.
Lastly, online conferencing can bring more than 2 people together. In some cases, it can even bring in a whole network of Internet users into one conference. There are 3 types of online conferencing: audio, web and video conferencing. Among the 3, web and video conferencing cater to very large volumes of participants. Some web conferencing today are now even being used as “virtual classrooms” where educators from remote places can reach his students in different parts of the world.
Due to the wide reach of the Internet, the advancement of online conference technology and the deflating costs of its rates, many online entrepreneurs are finding themselves hosts to a greater volume of prospective customers. Previously “unreachable” markets are now just a “call” away. Some online entrepreneurs are using video conferences to broadcast their products and service to the entire Web. Clients who wish to avail of the advertised products and services need only to log on with a name or “handle” in the conference site and the entrepreneur can immediately contact them for a more personal mode of discussion.