In the Internet's old days, Text chatting advantages, for example, the IRC gained popularity early. During the mid 90s, web based chat and instant messaging appeared and also became a hit among Internet users worldwide. Today, an accepted alternative in face to face meetings has been expanding well and is being used by businessmen and consumers alike, and this richer form of Internet communication is also known as a web conference.
This new approach is used in order to manage live meetings and/or presentations online, or over the Internet. In the earlier years of the Internet, web conference is usually synonymous to group discussions presented within a message board, posted via text messages and not live. However, this term has evolved and is now specifically referred to as live or synchronous meetings, while posted messages are now coined as forums, bulletin boards, or message boards.
During a web conference, each participating individual sits down at their personal computer, and is linked to other individuals as well via the Internet. The conference can either be a downloaded application on each participant or in a web-based application where participants would only enter a valid URL to be able to connect and enter the live meeting or conference online. Usual features of a web conference includes live video screenings (via webcam or any digital video camera), through VoIP, recordings, slide presentations (with use of PowerPoint), whiteboard with annotations, text chat, polls and surveys, screen sharing or desktop sharing, wherein individuals can view anything from the presenter's screen.
An essential ability of web conferences would be application sharing, wherein one party within a web conference can share an application online. For example, they can share web browsers and spread sheets to other members of the conference group from their own desktop, and pass the control of the application to someone else in the meeting.
A specific type of web conference is also commonly used nowadays, and this is known as a webinar. This type of web conference is usually one way, from the speaker to the audience with limited audience interaction. However, this type can be very collaborative, since it includes question and answer sessions and includes polling too. Upon doing it in this way, webinars allow full participation among the presenter and the audience as well. Webinars are considered live in the sense that the information being shared is according to a specific agenda, with a start and ending time.
Holding a web conference can clearly save time, effort, and of course, money. By just applying web conferencing into one's own company, this can save the budget of one's business since the company would not have to spend money in order to travel and meet up with other representatives of the company. Also, different processes and transactions are completed in a short period of time, since all these can be discussed online, and in real time. Clearly, web conference is just one method in leading the business world in a much higher state, where people, business, and communication itself travels in a much faster rate.