With the budget stretched to the breaking point, a number of businesses are settling aside there travel plans and turning to web conferencing in order to save money and time. Web conference participants use either web based application or on premise software to interactively communicate with co-workers and others in virtual meetings. The approach which is easier, cheaper and much more convenient to use than the traditional room based video conferencing system, also provides access to file sharing and variety of others collaborative services.
As it becomes easier and less costly for vendors to add powerful new feathers to their products, many web conferencing applications are beginning to incorporate desktop sharing a tool which was once reserved for web collaboration software users. Desktop sharing allows participants to view and interact another computer user in order to launch programmes and views and edit files. The technique is particularly helpful during training and technical support system. It can only be used during a web conference to distribute documents, such as presentation and sales material, directly to individual participants desktops.
Telepresence: Another collaboration techonology that is gaining traction is telepresence, a type of web conferencing that uses life size displays to make its participants feel as though they are sitting across the room from other attendees. Companies such as Cisco System Inc., Hewlett-Packard Development Company LP and Polycom Inc are promoting sophisticated telepresence systems priced from around $70,000 to upwards of $250,000.
Telepresence systems are likely to fall quickly over the next several years as hardware and network costs drop. Already startup such as Lifesize Communication Inc and vidyo Inc are offering systems priced as low as $ 7, 000.
Virtual Worlds: Web conferencing software developers are closely scrutinizing the technologies being explored by virtual world pioneers, such as second life and Active worlds. The idea is to give web conference the users the ability to navigate their way through computer generated meeting rooms and other real world setting, such as offices, storefronts, design labs and manufacturing floors.
By having the ability to talk, gesture and move around computer generated land-scapes, web conference users will be easily be able to participate in the interactive dialogue and rapidly take turns in accessing content, creating new content, running application or even completing task as a part of the team. The technology promises to open new horizons in product development, sales, training and a variety of other fields.