A key feature of webinar is its interactive elements and the ability for a presenter to give, receive and discuss in real time. Using webinar software, participants can share audio, documents and applications with webinar attendees.
By Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh
Real- time text chat facilities such as IRC appeared in the late 1980s. Web based chat and instant messaging software appeared in the mid-1990s. The PLATO Computer learning system allowed students to collaborate on net worked computers to accomplish learning tasks as early as the 1960s but the early networking was not accomplished via the World Wide Web(WWW) and PLATO Collaborative goals were not consistent with the presenter-audience dynamic typical of web conferencing system. PLATO –II in 1961 features two users at once. Web conferencing is used as an umbrella term for various types of online conferencing and collaborative services including Webinars, Webcast and Web meeting. With a global Pandemic, Covid-19, taking the World by storm and forcing people to work from home, Webinars have popularity and usage across the globe. In the last decades ( especially in the last few months), webinars have become a staple for educating students and potential customers, lead generation for your business and cultivating large online audiences.
The word “webinar “is a blend of ‘Web’ and ‘Seminars’. A webinar is an event held virtually which is attended exclusively by an online audience. This distinguishes it from a Webcast, which also includes the presence of physical audiences. Other forms used as alternatives for Webinar are Web events, online seminar; webcast, web lecture and virtual event. In fact, short for web-based seminar, a Webinar is a presentation, lecture, workshop or seminar that is transmitted over the web using video conferencing software. Participants follow webinar via a PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone and can see and hear the speaker(s), thanks to audio and video feeds. In addition to the video images, power point slides can be broadcast which run in sync with the rest of the presentation. You can also make use of the screen capture functionality which enables you to show your viewers on application and websites. A webinar is a form of one-to-many communication: a presenter can reach a large and specific group of online viewers from a single location. In fact, short for web-based seminar, webinar is a presentation, lecture, workshop or seminar that is transmitted over the web using video conferencing software. A key feature of webinar is its interactive elements and the ability for a presenter to give, receive and discuss in real time. Using webinar software, participants can share audio, documents and applications with webinar attendees. This is useful when the webinar host is conducting a lecture or information session, while the presenter is speaking, they can share desktop applications and documents. Today many webinar services offer live streaming options or the ability to record your webinar and publish to You-tube and other video service later. There are many free, ad-supported and subscription/ paid webinar software and services to choose from, some of the more common and useful webinar software features include: support for multiple presenters; video file sharing; live chat for attendees; screen share; prerecord video ( or voices) options ;conference options for viewers to listen in live; chat filters to connect attendees and presenters with social accounts; other attendees incentive such as live Q and A tools; polls and feedbacks forms; live capture to save presentation or stream capabilities; calendar scheduling and invites. Business webinar platforms may also offer options to integrate the webinar software with other business apps such as CRM platforms and e-mail marketing tools.
Webinar can be successfully used in all spheres ranging from education to business and corporate training. As an educator, you can reach a wider audience of students as they will not have to spent time and money on travel. Participants can just tune into your webinar from anywhere. You can also avoid cost related to venue rented, food and other expenses, which will allow you to charge less for the event and thus have more attendees. Business, primarily use webinars for training and updating their employees. In today’s fast-paced World, only those who keep up with the industry’s latest trends can succeed. What is more, many companies have employees scattered all over the globe, so it would only be too expensive to bring them all under one roof. In this context, Webinar is the only tool to integrate the employees of the same organization under the same umbrella. Marketing is an area where webinars can bring most benefit. First of all, an online meeting showcasing your product is likely to draw more attentions, as video content generates, on average two times more engagement. Secondly such webinars help you build a long-term personal relationship with your customers. When you explain how the product works, answer questions and follow-up with the survey afterward, you show that you care. Less is more- but that does not hold true for webinars. Defying all the latest communication trend toward everything being shorter and quicker, the average viewing time for webinar is increasing year over year and currently stands at an average of 56 minutes. Webinar market is sharing strong annual growth too. There are several reasons for this, not least because webinars are very effective.
What is necessary for a webinar? For attendees, internet access and an audio headset (headphones, microphone) are vital. For webinar presenters, it is crucial to have a stable internet connection, a webcam, a headset and a webinar hosting system. To hold a webinar, you no longer need to install additional software and special equipment. It is enough to have a computer with an internet connection, audio board, acoustic speakers and a microphone. Practically all modern computers have the required components out of the box. On top of that, you do not have to possess any special technical knowledge. If you can use search engines or watch videos on You-tube, you can hold a webinar. In fact, webinar is a step forward in the Digital revolution.
(Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh, Sr.Faculty,JCRE Global College,Babupara, Imphal. Writer can be reached at [email protected])Webinar, Digital Landscape