Is Web Conferencing Viral?

Posted on July 27, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

I don’t mean laid up in bed with Vicks Vapor Rub, losing time, missing work, and the Grim Reaper at your door. I’m referring to the idea that as individuals host web conferencing meetings to improve productivity and save time and money, they expose multiple participants to the tool. As participants see how web conferencing tools can aid communication, foster more face-to-face contact, and reduce travel cost, the more interested they are in signing up for their own account.

For example if a business person uses their 10-person Vonei Meeting video conferencing service and hosts a weekly online meeting, they could potentially expose 30-40 participants to the service. Several of these participants may decide to then purchase their own conferencing service, turning the original account into several. As these new account holders start to host their own online meetings with others, the use of the service starts to spread virally.

Much has been said about the viral nature of the social networking tools such as Facebook and MySpace. Patricia Sellers wrote a great blog on the subject you can read here. I believe web conferencing, particularly those like Vonei that include live video of multiple participants, can virally spread in usage much like the social networking tools.

Aiding in the spread of these online tools is the wide availability of broadband Internet, and the continued penetration of webcams into the home and business environment. If you don’t believe me go into your nearest computer store and look at their laptops and netbooks. How many do you find without webcams? My observation is approximately 90% of all portable computers now come standard with webcams. For those that don’t, and for desktop computers, external webcams can be found ranging in price from $20 to over $100.

Wide applicability is a must for the viral nature of the service to spread. Web conferencing services that avoid software downloads are very helpful, and it goes without saying that cross platform support of PCs, Macs, and Linux computers, along with browser support of Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari is a must. Companies like WebEx and GoToMeeting were early entrants into this market and have been extremely successful in getting large scale adoption of desktop sharing. New companies like Vonei are taking the concept further by integrating the personal touch of multi-user video.

Since web conferencing can save travel time and travel cost, this is one viral service that businesses of all sizes need to spread.

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