Collaborate Online

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In this era of gig economy and cloud computing, remote jobs and projects have become very common in the professional world. Since I come from a graphic design background, I’ve worked on many projects remotely. During such assignments, I manage my schedule and workload. This also means that I am no longer sitting next to my co-worker or manager.

Since there is no face to face interaction, the question is what happens when we have to collaborate as a team? Perhaps there is a need to share files at a real time in a meeting. For companies with offices all around the world, the collaboration between employees from multiple locations can be expensive if the only available option is a live meeting. Fortunately, in this day and age, it is easy to run a conference, collaborate, promote a product/service or train people without meeting face to face.  The solution is hosting/attending a webinar.

The Merriam Webster defines webinar as a

live online educational presentation during which participating viewers can submit questions and comments.

While that was the dictionary definition, a webinar is a lot more than an educational presentation. Here’s a quick video by ClickMeeting that illustrates what a webinar is and it also promotes their product.

Let’s look at some Webinar Products

Now that we understand what a webinar constitutes, let’s look at some webinar products. The market is flooded with such products, each offering a certain set of features. I have attended multiple webinars about products and services through organizations like American Marketing Association. I’ve also collaborated through webinar meetings at work. Plus, I have also attended training through webinars. In short, I’ve had the opportunity to try out multiple webinar features.

If you are considering using a webinar to train your employees or promote a new product, or simply collaborate, the list below would be helpful. This is listing only four products without the pricing; however additional options are available at different price points and you will certainly find one that’s best-suited for you.

GoToMeeting

GoToMeeting is a web-hosted service that is a division of Citrix Systems. It is an online meeting, desktop sharing and video conferencing software. Towards the end of 2015, Citrix announced its plan to spin-off the GoToMeeting business as a stand-alone subsidiary with a market value of $4 billion (Wikipedia). According to the GoToMeeting.com website, they conduct 16 million meetings per month worldwide and 56 million online meetings per year. They also claim that 90% of their customers would agree that they close deals 20% faster with GoToMeeting in comparison to their prior solutions.

Who can forget this GoToMeeting promotion ad?

WebEx

WebEx, powered by Cisco is an online meeting tool that I’ve used extensively in the past and I still continue to use. Cisco WebEx, formerly WebEx Communications Inc. provides on-demand collaboration, online meeting, web conferencing and video conferencing applications. Its products include Meeting Center, Training Center, Event Center, Support Center, Sales Center, MeetMeNow, PCNow, WebEx AIM Pro Business Edition, WebEx WebOffice, and WebEx Connect. All WebEx products are part of the Cisco collaboration portfolio (Wikipedia).

According to Webex.com, they hold 26.5 million meetings per month. Plus, 93% of Fortune 100 companies and 78% of Fortune 500’s deploy Cisco video collaboration solutions(Source Webex.com)

Zoom

Zoom Video Communications is a company operating from San Jose, California that provides remote conferencing services using cloud computing. Zoom offers both meeting and webinar software; it combines video conferencing, online meetings, and mobile collaboration. Zoom has a Cisco connection. It was founded in 2011 by engineers from Cisco Systems and its collaboration business unit, WebEx. Eric S. Yuan, Zoom’s founder graduated from the Stanford University executive program and was previously vice president of engineering at Cisco for collaboration software development. David Berman, from WebEx, became president in November 2015. According to the Zoom.us website, more than 700,000 companies use Zoom. They allow up to 500 video participants and 10,000 viewers. They also claim to be the most affordable in comparison to its competitors and also offer straightforward pricing.

ON24

ON24 is the last collaboration tool I will discuss in this article.  ON24, Inc. is a San Francisco-based company that markets products and services based upon web casting and virtual event and environment technology. It is a privately held company whose primary venture capital investors are Goldman Sachs, Gold Hill Capital, U.S. Venture Partners, Canaan Partners and Rho Ventures (Wikipedia.com). They have some major clients like Microsoft and SAP, Athena Health, HubSpot and more.

The biggest difference between ON24 and conferencing tools like WebEx and GoToMeeting is that ON24 is designed as a webinar marketing platform. According to the ON24 website, conferencing and meeting tools are great, but they are made for conferences and meetings. ON24 is a webinar marketing platform that is purpose-built to deliver interactive, engaging audience experiences that provide the user with deep analytics to help them find their best leads and generate more revenue. Another competitive advantage ON24 enjoys over its competitors is that no software download is required. It works with a single click.

When Should I Host a Webinar?

You as a user can host a webinar while promoting a new product, when you would like to make a sales pitch, conduct an internal training in your company, or conduct online training professionally, make major internal company announcements, do a product or software application demonstration etc. There are countless ways to effectively use webinars. As an attendee, you can also gain valuable knowledge about products and services that you interested in etc.  I have hosted and attended multiple webinars, I have used almost all the products that I’ve mentioned and I find webinars as very effective online collaboration/training tool. I can definitely see myself tapping into this tool even more in the next few years. What is your preferred online collaboration tool? Tell us about it.

Rinki Mukherjee


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Rinki Mukherjee 

I am a marketing professional with more than 10 years’ experience. I currently work as a Design QC Specialist contractor with Chevron Creative Studio. I have worked in industries such as non-profit, healthcare, oil and gas, real estate, technology, education and consumer goods.

I recently earned my MBA from the University of Houston, BAUER School of Business with a focus in Marketing Analysis. Prior to that, I earned an Associates in Graphic Design from the Art Institute of Houston and Masters in English Literature from Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, India.

I was born and raised in India but now consider Houston my home. I am Membership Officer with Prospanica-Houston chapter and Director of Special Events-Marketing with American Marketing Association-Houston chapter.

Connect with Rinki on LinkedIn