Users should have a clear idea of what they want to achieve when selecting a web conference service. Different web conferencing systems offer different features, and depending on the intended use, might not be able to do everything that the person holding a meeting wants. The tools required for a web conference might be very different for a formal business meeting than those needed for an informal conference between people sharing a common hobby or interest, such as a remote book club or Bible study. Many web conferencing systems can meet the needs of a broad spectrum of groups, but the more tools that services have available often means an increase in the cost to use them.
The best web conference service should be able to host an adequate number of callers or viewers for the host’s needs. Some companies host web conferences for their employees and need to be able to have thousands of people logged in from locations around the world. Other groups may need to be in contact with only a handful of people. The conference host should have a good idea of how many people are attending and select a service that can accommodate all of the callers.
Connectivity is another major issue to consider when selecting a web conference service. For example, a company may be holding a conference to impart new training to employees or an important product roll-out. The company wouldn’t want callers to suddenly be disconnected in the middle of the session or for audio or video to break up. This is often a complaint when it comes to free or inexpensive web conferencing systems. The same issue might not be as important for an informal group meeting. When attendees are in remote locations, the speed of the service and its ability to relay information quickly are often very important. The conference host should make sure that the service he or she selects has a good track record when it comes to Internet connectivity.
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A web conference service should be able to accomplish the host’s goals in the meeting. This often means having the right technological tools. Videoconferencing, screen sharing, and the ability for collaborative work on a project are capabilities that may be needed. The host might want to be able to show videos to the attendees or provide the opportunity for multiple speakers to participate in the discussion. If these things are necessary, the host should verify that the web conference service he or she selects can accomplish these things.