Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sign language communications via videoconferencing

Video Relay Service, a telecommunication service for deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech-impaired (mute) individuals communicating with hearing persons at a different location, and Video Remote Interpreting, used where deaf/hard-of-hearing/mute persons are in the same location as their hearing parties
One of the first demonstrations of the ability for telecommunications to help sign language users communicate with each other occurred when AT&T's videophone (trademarked as the 'Picturephone') was introduced to the public at the 1964 New York World's Fair –two deaf users were able to freely communicate with each other between the fair and another city. Various other organizations have also conducted extensive research on signing via videotelephony.
Using such video equipment, the deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech-impaired can communicate between themselves and with hearing individuals using sign language. The United States and several other countries compensate companies to provide 'Video Relay Services' (VRS). Telecommunication equipment can be used to talk to others via a sign language interpreter, who uses a conventional telephone at the same time to communicate with the deaf person's party. Video equipment is also used to do on-site sign language translation via Video Remote Interpreting (VRI). The relative low cost and widespread availability of 3G mobile phone technology with video calling capabilities have given deaf and speech-impaired users a greater ability to communicate with the same ease as others. Some wireless operators have even started free sign language gateways.
Sign language interpretation services via VRS or by VRI are useful in the present-day where one of the parties is deaf, hard-of-hearing or speech-impaired (mute). In such cases the interpretation flow is normally within the same principal language, such as French Sign Language (FSL) to spoken French, Spanish Sign Language (SSL) to spoken Spanish, British Sign Language (BSL) to spoken English, and American Sign Language (ASL) also to spoken English (since BSL and ASL are completely distinct), and so on.
Multilingual sign language interpreters, who can also translate as well across principal languages (such as to and from SSL, to and from spoken English), are also available, albeit less frequently. Such activities involve considerable effort on the part of the translator, since sign languages are distinct natural languages with their own construction, semantics and syntax, different from the aural version of the same principal language.
With video interpreting, sign language interpreters work remotely with live video and audio feeds, so that the interpreter can see the deaf or mute party, and converse with the hearing party, and vice versa. Much like telephone interpreting, video interpreting can be used for situations in which no on-site interpreters are available. However, video interpreting cannot be used for situations in which all parties are speaking via telephone alone. VRI and VRS interpretation requires all parties to have the necessary equipment. Some advanced equipment enables interpreters to remotely control the video camera, in order to zoom in and out or to point the camera toward the party that is signing.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Video Conferencing Impact on the general public continued...

Deaf, hard-of-hearing and mute individuals have a particular interest in the development of affordable high-quality videoconferencing as a means of communicating with each other in sign language. Unlike Video Relay Service, which is intended to support communication between a caller using sign language and another party using spoken language, videoconferencing can be used between two signers.
Mass adoption and use of video conferencing is still relatively low, with the following often claimed as causes:
· Complexity of systems. Most users are not technical and want a simple interface. In hardware systems an unplugged cord or a flat battery in a remote control is seen as failure, contributing to perceived unreliability which drives users back to traditional meetings. Successful systems are backed by support teams who can pro-actively support and provide fast assistance when required.
· Perceived lack of interoperability: not all systems can readily interconnect, for example ISDN and IP systems require a gateway. Popular software solutions cannot easily connect to hardware systems. Some systems use different standards, features and qualities which can require additional configuration when connecting to dis-similar systems.
· Bandwidth and quality of service: In some countries it is difficult or expensive to get a high quality connection that is fast enough for good-quality video conferencing. Technologies such as ADSL have limited upload speeds and cannot upload and download simultaneously at full speed. As Internet speeds increase higher quality and high definition video conferencing will become more readily available.
· Expense of commercial systems - a well designed system requires a specially designed room and can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to fit out the room with codecs, integration equipment and furniture.
· Participants being self-conscious about being on camera, especially new users and older generations.
· Lack of eye contact (as mentioned in Problems)
For these reasons many hardware systems are often used for internal corporate use only, as they are less likely to run into problems and lose a sale. An alternative is companies that hire out video conferencing equipped meeting rooms in cities around the world. Customers simply book the rooms and turn up for the meeting - everything else is arranged and support is readily available if anything should go wrong.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Video Conferencing Impact on the general public

High speed Internet connectivity has become more widely available at a reasonable cost and the cost of video capture and display technology has decreased. Consequently, personal videoconferencing systems based on a webcam, personal computer system, software compression and broadband Internet connectivity have become affordable to the general public. Also, the hardware used for this technology has continued to improve in quality, and prices have dropped dramatically. The availability of freeware (often as part of chat programs) has made software based videoconferencing accessible to many.
For many years, futurists have envisioned a future where telephone conversations will take place as actual face-to-face encounters with video as well as audio. Sometimes it is simply not possible or practical to have a face-to-face meeting with two or more people. Sometimes a telephone conversation or conference call is adequate. Other times, an email exchange is adequate.
Videoconferencing adds another possible alternative, and can be considered when:
· a live conversation is needed;
· visual information is an important component of the conversation;
· the parties of the conversation can't physically come to the same location; or
· the expense or time of travel is a consideration.

to be continued...


Friday, August 27, 2010

Videoconferencing Standards

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) (formerly: Consultative Committee on International Telegraphy and Telephony (CCITT)) has three umbrellas of standards for videoconferencing
ITU H.320 is known as the standard for public switched telephone networks (PSTN) or videoconferencing over integrated services digital networks (it is accessible to anyone with a high speed Internet connection, such as DSL).
H.264 SVC (Scalable Video Coding) is a compression standard that enables video conferencing systems to achieve highly error resilient IP video transmission over the public Internet without quality of service enhanced lines. This standard has enabled wide scale deployment of high definition desktop video conferencing and made possible new architectures which reduce latency between transmitting source and receiver, resulting in fluid communication without pauses.
In addition, an attractive factor for IP videoconferencing is that it is easier to set-up for use with a live videoconferencing call along with web conferencing for use in data collaboration. These combined technologies enable users to have a much richer multimedia environment for live meetings, collaboration and presentations.
The Unified Communications Interoperability Forum (UCIF), a non-profit alliance between communications vendors, launched on May 19, 2010. The organization's vision is to maximize the interoperability of UC based on existing standards. Founding members of UCIF include HP, Microsoft, Polycom, Logitech/LifeSize Communications and Juniper Networks.
ITU V.80: videoconferencing is generally compatibilized with H.324 standard point-to-point video telephony over regular phone lines.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Videoconferencing issues

Some observers argue that two outstanding issues are preventing videoconferencing from becoming a standard form of communication, despite the ubiquity of videoconferencing-capable systems. These issues are:
1. Eye Contact: It is known that eye contact plays a large role in conversational turn-taking, perceived attention and intent, and other aspects of group communication. While traditional telephone conversations give no eye contact cues, videoconferencing systems are arguably worse in that they provide an incorrect impression that the remote interlocutor is avoiding eye contact. Telepresence systems have cameras located in the screens that reduce the amount of parallax observed by the users. This issue is also being addressed through research that generates a synthetic image with eye contact using stereo reconstruction.
Bell Communications Research owns a patent for eye-to-eye video conferencing using rear projection screens with a camera behind it. This technique eliminates the need for special cameras or image processing.
2. Appearance Consciousness: A second problem with videoconferencing is being on camera, with the video stream possibly even being recorded. The burden of presenting an acceptable on-screen appearance is not present in audio-only communication. Early studies by Alphonse Chapanis found that the addition of video actually impaired communication, possibly because of the consciousness of being on camera.
The issue of eye-contact may be solved with advancing technology, and presumably the issue of appearance consciousness will fade as people become accustomed to videoconferencing.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Multipoint videoconferencing

Simultaneous videoconferencing among three or more remote points is possible by means of a Multipoint Control Unit (MCU). This is a bridge that interconnects calls from several sources (in a similar way to the audio conference call). All parties call the MCU unit, or the MCU unit can also call the parties which are going to participate, in sequence. There are MCU bridges for IP and ISDN-based videoconferencing. There are MCUs which are pure software, and others which are a combination of hardware and software. An MCU is characterised according to the number of simultaneous calls it can handle, its ability to conduct transposing of data rates and protocols, and features such as Continuous Presence, in which multiple parties can be seen onscreen at once. MCUs can be stand-alone hardware devices, or they can be embedded into dedicated videoconferencing units.
Some systems are capable of multipoint conferencing with no MCU, stand-alone, embedded or otherwise. These use a standards-based H.323 technique known as "decentralized multipoint", where each station in a multipoint call exchanges video and audio directly with the other stations with no central "manager" or other bottleneck. The advantages of this technique are that the video and audio will generally be of higher quality because they don't have to be relayed through a central point. Also, users can make ad-hoc multipoint calls without any concern for the availability or control of an MCU. This added convenience and quality comes at the expense of some increased network bandwidth, because every station must transmit to every other station directly.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Video Conferencing Echo Cancellation

A fundamental feature of professional videoconferencing systems is acoustic echo cancellation (AEC). Echo can be defined as the reflected source wave interference with new wave created by source. AEC is an algorithm which is able to detect when sounds or utterances reenter the audio input of the videoconferencing codec, which came from the audio output of the same system, after some time delay. If unchecked, this can lead to several problems including:
1. the remote party hearing their own voice coming back at them (usually significantly delayed)
2. strong reverberation, rendering the voice channel useless as it becomes hard to understand and
3. howling created by feedback. Echo cancellation is a processor-intensive task that usually works over a narrow range of sound delays.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Two kinds of Video Conferencing Systems.

There are basically two kinds of videoconferencing systems:
1. Dedicated systems have all required components packaged into a single piece of equipment, usually a console with a high quality remote controlled video camera. These cameras can be controlled at a distance to pan left and right, tilt up and down, and zoom. They became known as PTZ cameras. The console contains all electrical interfaces, the control computer, and the software or hardware-based codec. Omnidirectional microphones are connected to the console, as well as a TV monitor with loudspeakers and/or a video projector. There are several types of dedicated videoconferencing devices:
1. Large group videoconferencing are non-portable, large, more expensive devices used for large rooms and auditoriums.
2. Small group videoconferencing are non-portable or portable, smaller, less expensive devices used for small meeting rooms.
3. Individual videoconferencing are usually portable devices, meant for single users, have fixed cameras, microphones and loudspeakers integrated into the console.
2. Desktop systems are add-ons (hardware boards, usually) to normal PCs, transforming them into videoconferencing devices. A range of different cameras and microphones can be used with the board, which contains the necessary codec and transmission interfaces. Most of the desktops systems work with the H.323 standard. Videoconferences carried out via dispersed PCs are also known as e-meetings.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Videoconferencing Technology

The core technology used in a videoconferencing system is digital compression of audio and video streams in real time. The hardware or software that performs compression is called a codec (coder/decoder). Compression rates of up to 1:500 can be achieved. The resulting digital stream of 1s and 0s is subdivided into labeled packets, which are then transmitted through a digital network of some kind (usually ISDN or IP). The use of audio modems in the transmission line allow for the use of POTS, or the Plain Old Telephone System, in some low-speed applications, such as videotelephony, because they convert the digital pulses to/from analog waves in the audio spectrum range.
The other components required for a videoconferencing system include:
· Video input : video camera or webcam
· Video output: computer monitor , television or projector
· Audio input: microphones, CD/DVD player, cassette player, or any other source of PreAmp audio outlet.
· Audio output: usually loudspeakers associated with the display device or telephone
· Data transfer: analog or digital telephone network, LAN or Internet


Saturday, August 21, 2010

History of Video Conferencing continued...

Finally, in the 1990s, IP (Internet Protocol) based videoconferencing became possible, and more efficient video compression technologies were developed, permitting desktop, or personal computer (PC)-based videoconferencing. In 1992 CU-SeeMe was developed at Cornell by Tim Dorcey et al. In 1995 the First public videoconference and peacecast between the continents of North America and Africa took place, linking a technofair in San Francisco with a techno-rave and cyberdeli in Cape Town. At the Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Nagano, Japan, Seiji Ozawa conducted the Ode to Joy from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony simultaneously across five continents in near-real time.
In the 2000s, videotelephony was popularized via free Internet services, web plugins and on-line telecommunication programs which promoted low cost, albeit low-quality, videoconferencing to virtually every location with an Internet connection.
In May 2005, the first high definition video conferencing systems, made by LifeSize Communications were displayed at the Interop trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada, able to provide 30 frames per second at a 1280 by 720 display resolution. Polycom introduced its first high definition video conferencing system to the market in 2006. High definition has now become standard, with all serious players in the videoconferencing market offering it.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Video Conferencing History continued...

It was only in the 1980s that digital telephony transmission networks became possible, such as ISDN, assuring a minimum bit rate (usually 128 kilobits/s) for compressed video and audio transmission. During his time, there was also research into other forms of digital video and audio communication. Many of these technologies, such as the Media space, are not as widely used today as videoconferencing but were still an important area of research. The first dedicated systems started to appear in the market as ISDN networks were expanding throughout the world. One of the first commercial Videoconferencing systems sold to companies came from PictureTel Corp. who had an Initial Public Offering in November, 1984. Videoconferencing systems throughout the 1990s rapidly evolved from very expensive proprietary equipment, software and network requirements to standards based technology that is readily available to the general public at a reasonable cost.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

More history of Video Conferencing.

During the first manned space flights, NASA used two radiofrequency (UHF or VHF) links, one in each direction. TV channels routinely use this kind of http://www.bowsconferencecall.com
when reporting from distant locations, for instance. Then mobile links to satellites using specially equipped trucks became rather common.
This technique was very expensive, though, and could not be used for applications such as telemedicine, distance education, and business meetings. Attempts at using normal telephony networks to transmit slow-scan video, such as the first systems developed by AT&T, failed mostly due to the poor picture quality and the lack of efficient video compression techniques. The greater 1 MHz bandwidth and 6 Mbit/s bit rate of Picturephone in the 1970s also did not cause the service to prosper.
to be continued...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Some history of Video Conferencing from Wikipedia.

Videoconferencing uses telecommunications of audio and video to bring people at different sites together for a meeting. This can be as simple as a conversation between two people in private offices (point-to-point) or involve several sites (multi-point) with more than one person in large rooms at different sites. Besides the audio and visual transmission of meeting activities, videoconferencing can be used to share documents, computer-displayed information, and whiteboards.
Simple analog videoconferences could be established as early as the invention of the television. Such videoconferencing systems usually consisted of two closed-circuit television systems connected via cable. An example of that was the German Reich Postzentralamt (Post Office) network set up in Berlin and several other cities from 1936 to 1940.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

from techsoup cont...Other Considerations.

· Recording
One advantage that many web conferencing services have over in-person meetings is the ability to record entire meetings (including audio) as a video file. This way, if meeting attendees forget important points or need to reference presentations at a later date, they can simply view the recording rather than contact other participants with questions. Some services allow meeting initiators to store recordings on their local machines, while others host the files on their own site, a point to consider if your nonprofit's computers are short on hard-drive space.
· Subscription Versus Pay-Per-Use Plans
How often your organization plans to hold online meetings is a key factor in deciding whether you should select a service with a subscription model or one that charges you on a per-meeting basis.
If you just need to hold occasional, small meetings, a pay-per-use plan — might be the most economical choice. On the other hand, nonprofits that need to hold larger weekly meetings may find it cheaper to subscribe to a service that charges a flat monthly (or yearly) fee for a set number of participants. If you do decide that a subscription makes the most sense for your organization, check to see whether the service locks you into a contract, and make sure you're comfortable with the terms.

Monday, August 16, 2010

more from techsoup...Communication Features.

· Text Chat
Instant-messaging (IM) is a rapid form of text communication that can often be more efficient than sending email back and forth. Just about all web conferencing services offer a built-in text-chat tool that participants can use to communicate with specific attendees or the entire group, eliminating the need for attendees to install or use a third-party IM client.
· Teleconferencing
Just because you've moved your meetings to the Internet doesn't mean that you have to abandon traditional conference calling. Most web conferencing products include some form of voice-calling feature, allowing you to talk to fellow participants while the meeting is in progress. While some services include a free teleconferencing option, others charge to use this feature; in either case, your organization will need to foot the bill for any long-distance fees it accrues. Also, if your nonprofit already uses a third-party teleconferencing provider, you may want to check whether it can be integrated with online meeting tools.
· VoIP
Besides teleconferencing, some online-meeting services also offer audio communication in the form of Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP), a technology that allows users to make telephone calls over the web. Generally speaking, VoIP offers cheaper calling rates than teleconferencing services, though the quality of the calls is often not as good. Note that in order to use a VoIP application, all callers will need to purchase headsets that can be connected to their computers.
· Videoconferencing
If you need your online meetings to closely resemble an in-person gathering, consider a service that offers a videoconferencing feature. Videoconferencing lets participants with webcams — small, inexpensive cameras that send images over the Internet — to broadcast a video image of themselves into the online meeting. While videoconferencing can help lend an immediate feel to web-based meetings, many services that offer this feature will also charge your organization a fee to use them.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

continued from techsoup...Collaboration Features.

· Screen-Sharing Capabilities
One of the most common collaborative features found in web conferencing services is the ability to share resources on one computer with the entire group. While the majority of web conferencing tools will let the presenter show attendees' his or her desktop or certain documents, others go one step further by sharing chosen applications in a full-screen view or by allowing the presenter to highlight a specific portion of his or her screen.
· Multiple Presenters
Since meetings frequently include staff members and volunteers who have expertise in different areas of a project or an initiative, the initiator may want to hand off presentation duties to someone else. If your organization needs to run meetings this way, look for a conferencing service that allows for multiple participants to assume presentation duties.
· Drawing and Annotation Tools
In the course of presenting a document or a web page to your colleagues, you might need to underscore certain points or note ideas generated during the discussion. To this end, many web conferencing services provide annotation tools — such as pencils, pens, and virtual sticky notes — similar to those found in popular graphic-design applications.
· Whiteboard
If your organization routinely uses dry-erase whiteboards to capture notes and thoughts when holding in-person meetings, you may want to look for a web conferencing service with a virtual equivalent. A whiteboard gives meeting participants a dedicated space for brainstorming ideas or outlining projects, a potentially useful feature when you're bringing people together to collaborate rather than simply presenting information.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

from techsoup...Web Conferencing continued...

Installation and Setup:
· Required Software
As previously mentioned, certain web conferencing services require that the meeting initiator — and in some cases the attendees — install a software program or browser plug-in. If you decide on a service that requires such software, you'll need to make sure before your first meeting that the appropriate parties are willing to install the application and understand how to do so. Also, you should check to make sure that meeting initiators and attendees are running an operating system that's compatible with the software.
· Integrated Invitation Features
Many web conferencing services provide features that interface with Microsoft's ubiquitous Outlook email application. If your organization plans to hold regular or recurring meetings with a large number of attendees, choosing a service that adds the meeting's details to participants' Outlook calendars can help ease the planning process. For added convenience, some web conferencing tools also let you schedule or join meetings from directly within Outlook.

Friday, August 13, 2010

from techsoup...How to pick a Web Conferencing Package that meets your nonprofit's needs.

Even if your nonprofit is headquartered in a single location, your employees, volunteers, and funders may be scattered across the country — or possibly the world. And while your organization likely uses email or telephone for the majority of its long-distance communication, sometimes a full-blown meeting is the only way to hammer out the details of an important initiative.
Rather than stretching your tight budget to fly out key project team members for an in-person meeting, you might consider using a web conferencing service, which lets anyone with an Internet connection and a web browser meet and collaborate online in real time.
In general, web conferencing tools work in the same way. The person initiating the conference sets up a new meeting in the tool and then invites participants to join by sending them an email containing the meeting's time, date, password, URL, and login instructions. Some conferencing tools require participants to install a piece of software on their own computers before they can participate, though others are entirely web-based. All require an Internet connection.
The tools diverge primarily in the features they provide for collaboration and communication. For instance, some let participants speak to one another through their computers' microphones while others let everyone interact via video.

to be continued...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Some web conferencing history.

Real-time text chat facilities such as IRC appeared in the late 1980s. Web-based chat and instant messaging software appeared in the mid-1990s. In the late 1990s, the first true web conferencing capability became available and dozens of other web conferencing venues followed thereafter.

A trademark for the term "webinar" was registered in 1998 by Eric R. Korb (Serial Number 75478683, USPTO) but was difficult to defend; it is currently assigned to InterCall.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Web Conferencing deployment models

Web conferencing is available with three models: hosting service, software and appliance.
An appliance, unlike the online hosted solution, it is offered as hardware. It is also known as "in-house" or "on-premise" web conferencing. It is used to conduct live meetings, remote training, or presentations via the Internet. In a web conference, each participant sits at his or her own computer and is connected to other participants via the internet. This can be either a downloaded application on each of the attendees' computers or a web-based application where the attendees access the meeting by clicking on a link distributed by e-mail (meeting invitation) to enter the conference.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Web Conferencing Technologies

Web conferencing technologies are not standardized, which has been a significant factor in the lack of interoperability, transparency, platform dependence, security issues, cost and market segmentation. In 2003, the IETF established a working group to establish a standard for web conferencing, called "Centralized Conferencing (xcon)". The planned deliverables of xcon include:
· A basic floor control protocol. Binary Floor Control Protocol (BFCP) published as RFC 4582
· A mechanism for membership and authorization control
· A mechanism to manipulate and describe media "mixing" or "topology" for multiple media types (audio, video, text)
· A mechanism for notification of conference related events/changes (for example a floor change)
· Webinars are first and foremost best practices

Monday, August 9, 2010

Web Conferencing features.

Other typical features of a web conference include:
· Slide show presentations - where PowerPoint or Keynote slides are presented to the audience and markup tools and a remote mouse pointer are used to engage the audience while the presenter discusses slide content.
· Live or Streaming video - where full motion webcam, digital video camera or multi-media files are pushed to the audience.
· VoIP (Real time audio communication through the computer via use of headphones and speakers)
· Web tours - where URLs, data from forms, cookies, scripts and session data can be pushed to other participants enabling them to be pushed though web based logons, clicks, etc. This type of feature works well when demonstrating websites where users themselves can also participate.
· Meeting Recording - where presentation activity is recorded on the client side or server side for later viewing and/or distribution.
· Whiteboard with annotation (allowing the presenter and/or attendees to highlight or mark items on the slide presentation. Or, simply make notes on a blank whiteboard.)
· Text chat - For live question and answer sessions, limited to the people connected to the meeting. Text chat may be public (echo'ed to all participants) or private (between 2 participants).
· Polls and surveys (allows the presenter to conduct questions with multiple choice answers directed to the audience)
· Screen sharing/desktop sharing/application sharing (where participants can view anything the presenter currently has shown on their screen. Some screen sharing applications allow for remote desktop control, allowing participants to manipulate the presenters screen, although this is not widely used.)
Web conferencing is often sold as a service, hosted on a web server controlled by the vendor. Offerings vary per vendor but most hosted services provide a cost per user per minute model, a monthly flat fee model and a seat model. Some vendors also provide a server side solution which allows the customer to host their own web conferencing service on their own servers.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Evolution of Web Conferencing.

In the early years of the Internet, the terms "web conferencing" was often used to describe a group discussion in a message board and therefore not live. The term has evolved to refer specifically to live or "synchronous" meetings.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Electronic Meeting Systems.

For interactive online workshops web conferences are complemented by electronic meeting systems which provide a range of online facilitation tools such as brainstorming and categorization, a range of voting methods or structured discussions, typically with optional anonymity. Typically, electronic meeting systems do not provide core web conferencing functionality such as screen sharing or voice conferencing though some electronic meeting systems can control web conferencing sessions.

Friday, August 6, 2010

What is a Webinar?

A webinar is a new term to describe a specific type of web conference. It is typically one-way, from the speaker to the audience with limited audience interaction, such as in a webcast. A webinar can be collaborative and include polling and question & answer sessions to allow full participation between the audience and the presenter. In some cases, the presenter may speak over a standard telephone line, while pointing out information being presented onscreen, and the audience can respond over their own telephones, speaker phones allowing the greatest comfort and convenience. There are web conferencing technologies on the market that have incorporated the use of VoIP audio technology, to allow for a completely web-based communication. Depending upon the provider, webinars may provide hidden or anonymous participant functionality, making participants unaware of other participants in the same meeting.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Web Conferencing.

Web conferencing is used to conduct live meetings, training, or presentations via the Internet. In a web conference, each participant sits at his or her own computer and is connected to other participants via the internet. This can be either a downloaded application on each of the attendees' computers or a web-based application where the attendees access the meeting by clicking on a link distributed by e-mail (meeting invitation) to enter the conference.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Interaction with your participants during your conference call.

In a conference call, attendees tend to sit in the "back of the class". It is very difficult to get participation. Be proactive and ask questions of specific people. Instead of asking if anyone has any questions, ask a specific person relevant to the topic of discussion a question, i.e., "Bob, have you gotten all of the information you need to create the topic text?"

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Checklist for a successful conference call.

Here is a checklist covering the items you need for a successful conference call:
· Schedule a good time for everyone, with consideration to the timezones of international participants.
· Agenda
· Meeting Invite or Request
· Reminder email with any reports or documents
· Small talk topics for the very beginning of the call
· Titles, responsibilities and names of anyone that needs to be introduced
· Call Recap
Don’t forget to:
· Watch the clock
· Take notes
· Follow through

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Follow through after your call.

After the conference call, follow through! Be sure that you take action as discussed and answer any questions in a reasonable amount of time. If any deadlines were set, meet them. If work from other departments or employees was promised, be sure it is delivered.