Sanjose, CA (PressExposure) May 26, 2009 -- Itâs no secret that 2009 will be a year of ups and downs, uncertainty and surprises, however, this year will also bring its share of opportunities for introducing new technologies and solutions that will make an impact on how companies do business. Yes, these technologies will need to bring even more value than usual but the need and the opportunities will be there if the value proposition is compelling enough. Enter on-premise Web-based conferencing Entering on-premise Web-based conferencing Itâs true that Web-base conferencing is not exactly new but it has become an indispensable part of how companies do business. In fact, many companies already use it for promotion, technical and sales training, remote support, sales and generally for day to day meetings both internal and external. When Web-based conferencing was first introduced there were some real obvious benefits, such as saving money by reducing travel time and expenses, as well as increasing efficiencies through the ability to provide training to remote staff or customers. However the technology has now matured long past the point of the obvious original benefits to using Web-based conferencing as a sales and marketing budget line item targeted at prospecting for new customers or closing a deal with them. That being said, with the current economic climate, reducing travel costs and collaboration among colleagues in remote offices or those who are working from home makes Web-based conferencing a must have for companies of all sizes.
So what is Web-based conferencing and what variations are offered by existing manufacturers? Basically, there are two methods to deliver Web-based conferencing and at least four different usage models. These two methods are typically defined as a hosted solution or an on-premise solution.
Most people have experienced Web conferencing as a participant for some form of internal company meeting or vendor training. In most cases, the method was probably delivered as a hosted solution whereby the attendee just launches their e-mail browser, clicks on a link provided by the host via a previous e-mail invitation, downloads the client and joins the meeting. The advantage of a hosted solution is that it is very easy to use, but it requires all attendees to use the Internet, even if they are in the same location which may impact performance due to delays associated with bandwidth limitations. Security can also be an issue as anybody with the correct meeting ID / password can join the meeting since the hosted server addresses are public. Other disadvantages included limited control over your ability to brand or customize the Webinar with your company name or image and the inherent on-going costs that go along with any hosted solution.
On-premise real-time Web-based conferencing technologies are delivered via a plug-and-play appliance which is installed on the customerâs network or by way of software that is installed on the customerâs server. Complicated installation and the need for on-going IT support to keep the application software compatible with the server operating system is not required making the solution easier to install. Once installed, the appliance updates are typically maintained remotely by the vendor. Some of the advantages of an on-premise solution versus a hosted solution include improved access to security as the owner can control access through their corporate firewall, unlike a hosted solution which uses a public site. Performance issues are minimized as attendees located in the same location can use the company LAN instead of having to go out to the Internet. Additionally, integration of on-premise solutions offers the flexibility of integrating into other corporate systems so users can easily start and join meetings. Finally, unlike hosted solutions, it is very easy for companies to brand these Web-based events as the owner is in full control of all aspects of the applications, costs and they also get the benefit of unlimited usage since they own the service.
The four usage models or applications most often deployed with on-premise Web based solutions include Webinars, interactive meetings, remote support and remote access. Webinars from one or a few computers are presented to large audiences, and attendees just view the information. Interactive meetings allow the data from computer screens to be shared and worked on. The remote support model is used when one person wants to gain access to and control another personâs computer and the remote access model is used to gain remote access of an unattended computer.
Traditionally Web-based conferencing was a tool used by Fortune 500 companies and equipment vendors who were trying to promote or sell their wares. New products from on-premise equipment vendors offer low cost, feature rich solutions that are ideal for companies of all sizes, including government institutions and agencies. If value-added resellers and integrators embrace these new technologies there is a significant opportunity for them to bring tremendous value to their customer base. Web conferencing is experiencing phenomenal growth and the market is expected to grow to approximately $3 billion by the year 2011.
Resellers can empower their customers by giving them access to an affordable technology that will allow them to look and act like a much bigger company than they really are. Many of them may have rejected a Web conferencing strategy previously simply due to economics. Their cost analysis may have been done based on hosted Web conferencing services and they may not realize that on-premise solutions deliver a return on investment that is almost immediate.
Darin Gibbons is vice president of sales and marketing for Crossover http://www.Distribution.com , a North American based value-added distributor and offers Web-based conference solutions from RHUB Technologies ( http://www.rubcom.com ).
Note: This article comes from the issue of February 2009, CRN Canada ( http://www.crncanada.ca )