Posted to Volacci's blog on January 31st, 2012

5 Features You Need in Your Webinar & Conferencing Platforms

webinar platform needs

iMeet's Steve Miller presents his bi-weekly installment on the Volacci blog.

Shopping around for a webinar and web conferencing service that fits your company’s needs can be a chore. With dozens of products all claiming to be the best, it can be tough to differentiate the good from the wannabes. Plus, who wants to test 50 different online meeting services?

To help you sift through the clutter, we’ve identified the five needs of every webinar and online meeting, and the web conferencing feature that meets the need.

1. Need: A real, meaningful conversation

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the bells and whistles of a product. There are some genuinely amazing online meeting features out there. But the truth of the matter remains that if you’re not able to have an engaging, productive discussion with the product, then why are you meeting in the first place?

Solution: Audio and video

The best web conferencing products put audio and video at the forefront. It should be simple for anyone to join and engage in the meeting without a complicated initial dial-in or download for video. If the platform does not keep the basics basic, then move along.

2. Need: Document sharing

Nary a meeting goes by that I don’t need to either share a file or sit in on a presentation. So whether you’re taking part in a design review, reviewing your quarterly sales or just showing pictures of your family, file sharing is a must.

Solution: File and screen sharing

Almost every product has some form of file sharing, but the ease of use varies a massive degree. Make sure files are both readily shareable and downloadable. Bonus points for services that allow you to store files on their servers for Dropbox-like access from anywhere.

3. Need: Ease of use

Web conferencing products have not traditionally put a premium on the usability of the interface, making scenarios like this a reality: Your meeting was supposed to start at 1 p.m. Someone shows up late, can’t get signed in and holds up everyone else as you bleed dollars and minutes. Before you know it, your 30-minute meeting has been whittled down to 15 minutes just because the product was hard to use.

Solution: User-friendly interface

You and your guests shouldn’t need to think too hard to take part in a meeting. Features like persistent URLs and browser-based platforms make it easy for anyone to join your web conference. Take some time to play around with whatever product you’re considering. Is it easy from the get-go? Is it hard to understand the first time? It’ll be the same case for your guests as well. So save time and money by investing in a product with a simple, user-friendly interface.

4. Need: Security

There’s an inherent security threat when you’re sharing files, webcams and ideas over the web. A recent article by The New York Times revealed that most video conferencing platforms are vulnerable to hackers. How can you be sure that your data and conversations are safe?

Solution: Robust security measures

Not all security is created equal with web conferencing. Keep your online meetings safe and secure from hackers and unwanted guets with these safety measures:

5. Need: Notes and recording

Whether you need to share your meeting notes with a guest who couldn’t make it or record a training session for viewing later, recording and note-taking are two crucial features in a web conferencing product.

Solution: DVR, audio recording and notes

No one can remember everything, so the easier it is to record and access your meetings, the better. Chances are you’ll also need to share your meetings and meetings minutes, so make sure you can send and receive record of your meetings with ease.

Runner-up Bonus Features:

  • Mobility (apps for tablets, iPhones and Androids)
  • International Access (international passcodes and phone plans)
  • Simple Guest Invites (from your own email client)
  • Social Integration (access to you and your guest’s social networks)

iMeet is your own personal meeting room online. It’s a wide-open space, where you can get together to talk, meet in video, share documents and socially connect with people.
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