Have you ever heard a colleague say, “Hey, let’s jump on a webcast so I can show you this email blast I’m working on”? Or what about, “Let’s set up a video conference with all 10,000 employees for a Town Hall announcement”? Never in the history of communications have three words been so interchangeably used than webcasting, web conferencing and video conferencing. (Side note- I don’t have the data to back that up but I feel strongly it’s true).
Well today we clear the air! Once and for all we’re going to explain the difference between these commonly used words so the next time you need to use them you’ll sound like a pro.
Most video conferencing meetings consist of a small group of people or teams, usually 2-5, that get together for a live two-way video meeting. Almost always each person, or team, has a webcam set up so everyone is able to meet face-to-face virtually. Additionally, screen sharing is often used to allow colleagues to show everyone a document they’ve been working on. You will also see video conferencing utilized between board rooms at different remote locations. A webcam will be set up near the board room table next to a tv monitor so each location can see everyone at the meeting. While it’s very simplistic, video conferencing is extremely handy for down and dirty face-to-face meetings.
Arguably the most popular one of the bunch for day-to-day meetings, web conferencing is an awesome way to hold interactive meetings with colleagues, clients or prospects anytime, from anywhere. It’s a robust and powerful platform that has the ability to join together small to medium sized groups for a highly collaborative meeting experience.
For example, our favorite web conferencing platform that we offer at Lighthouse Conferencing is Adobe Connect, which allows users to:
- Join meetings with no downloads required.
- Meet face-to-face virtually using webcams.
- Screen sharing for hosts and participants.
- Allow participants to become presenters so they can take over the meeting.
- Collaborate on a whiteboard.
- Chat with each other, or ask questions, using instant messaging.
- Conduct surveys and polls on the fly.
- Share rich media like streaming video.
Basically, webcasting is broadcasting live audio and video in real-time, to audiences all over the world via the Internet. Sounds easy right? It’s like one step away from legit magic. Webcasting is for your big events….your “can’t miss” moments. Say you want to reach a massive audience that is spread out across the world to broadcast your Quarterly Earnings update for your shareholders. This would be the job for the Lighthouse webcasting solution. Webcasting is impressively scalable, as it’s designed to handle audiences in excess of 30,000 users at a time. What makes it unique in this discussion is that it works in conjunction with a CDN (content delivery network) to provide high-quality video streams with minimal to no delay or latency issues. Lighthouse webcasting has endless features, including:
- High quality rich media streaming.
- Branded and customized invitation and registration component for attendees.
- “White Glove” Event team to set up and manage your event for you.
- Detailed analytics to track behavior and integrate with social media platforms.
- Flash based so it’s easy for attendees to join.
- Multilingual closed captioning available for international use.
I hope this blog post clears things up a bit so the next time Carl in Marketing asks, “Let’s do a 3-way webcast after lunch so I can show you my spreadsheet”, you’ll be able to set him straight (if you want). To learn more about the many options we have for web events, click here. We’d love to talk with you about what you have coming up.
To turn blah webcasts, web and video conferences, into WOW experiences now
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