What is a Web Teleconference?

Erin J. Hill

A web teleconference is a technologically advanced way to hold business meetings using telephones, the Internet, web cameras, and a software program that is run from a central server or website. Users are able to log into a conference using any computer and talk or chat with other users via the Internet. This allows business professionals to hold meetings with employees who work remotely, or to hold conferences even when key members of a team are traveling or are otherwise unavailable for live meetings.

A webcam.
A webcam.

Early web teleconference software had to be installed by each user in order for them to be able to participate, but today anyone can take part in a web conference by using online platforms. The most sophisticated of these allows participants to speak using a computer microphone and see other users via web cameras installed on each computer. Other versions allow members to listen to one person via telephone, while they are able to communicate through a chat-based system. Still others use cameras and speakerphone options.

Many tablets have teleconferencing capabilities.
Many tablets have teleconferencing capabilities.

Benefits of using web teleconference software includes not being limited by a team member’s physical presence when conducting business meetings. More workers are also able to work remotely or from their homes thanks to advances in communications technology. Doing a web-based teleconference is also often faster and easier than getting a group of people together in one location, primarily on weekends and holidays, especially when employees may be located around the globe.

Most web teleconference software requires that a business or individual create an online account. A monthly or yearly membership fee is generally required as well, but prices are typically affordable. The account holding member is then usually able to invite others to attend the conference a specific date and time, and there is often login information for participants to use. Depending on the type of web teleconference, participants may all have to have a telephone, webcam, and up to date web browser.

There are many web teleconference companies to choose from, so shopping around is important in order to get a good deal. Many services come as part of a large business package, and a wide range of companies offer free trial memberships so users can try out the services and compare them to their needs. Some companies also offer training in using the teleconferencing software by offering teleconferences using the software they offer. Prices may vary depending on the company and any other services being offered.

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