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Web Conferencing: Words and Terms to “Go Buy”
November 6, 2008 @ 03:20 PM | By Dan Uhlmeyer

Nov6webconfglossaryWeb conferencing as we know it today made its debut in 1996.  However like all technologies, the tool has not been adopted by “every” individual who sits at a desk staring at a monitor.  Even those that use the service on a regular basis may not use everything Web conferencing has to offer.   

Have you ever called a “document” you were working on an “application?” Has your primary means for sharing or collaborating on a document been via email back-and-forth or, in earlier days, fax?   If your answer was “no” to the first question and “yes” to the second, how are you supposed to know what Web conferencing Application Sharing means?

Sure I was being somewhat facetious above - I assume most of you have at least a fundamental understanding of Web conferencing and how it works.  That being said, I will not spend too much time on the basics.  Here are some quick definitions for the more obscure or ambiguous purchasing terms used in Web conferencing today. Next time, I will be talking about the terms that define the technology behind web conferencing. 

Concurrent Participants
Indicates the number of participants across all meetings on a Web conferencing site or URL.  This is used when Seat Licenses or are the preferred method of pricing.

Conncurrent Seat Licenses or Shared Seat Plans
Concurrent seat plans are set up to allow you to have as many Web conference “leaders” as you like, but you can only have a certain number of people logged into the system at one time, whether as leaders or just as viewers of the meeting.  This is billed essentially as a subscription model, and you pay the set fees either monthly or on an annual basis, but most systems allow you to go over your limits, and will simply bill you a bit extra for the instances where that happens.  Audio conferencing is usually not included in the seat fees, and is typically billed separately for actual usage on a per-minute basis. 

Multi-Media Minutes and/or Blended Rates
A variation of Pay-per-Minute Pricing plans, multi-media minutes combine your Web conferencing and any audio conferencing in one rate.  The rate for combined audio and web conferencing is usually higher than Web conferencing alone, but can be lower than purchasing them separately.  The down-sides to this model are that not every time you do a conference will you use both audio and web, so the higher rate can be prohibitive unless you meet online very frequently (conducting daily demos or trainings of a product, for instance). 

Named User Licenses
Named user models essentially give you a license or individual login for the Web conferencing account.  Plans available offer everything from one user to hundreds, with pricing usually varying based on the number of users in your contract.  This is billed essentially as a subscription model, and you pay the set license fees either monthly or on an annual basis.  Audio conferencing is usually not included in this license fee, and is typically billed separately for actual usage on a per-minute basis. 

Pay-per-Minute Pricing
Users pay a rate per-minute of connection to the web conference, similar to how you are charged for a phone call.  This rate applies to each individual connection, so an hour-long meeting with 3 people will register 180 minutes of Web conferencing usage.  This plan is most common for companies who are just figuring out what their needs are for Web conferencing, or also for large events that are out of the ordinary and not covered by your normal pricing plan.

Dan_2 Dan Uhlmeyer is a Sr. Product Manager and the "Web Conferencing" blogger.  He has over eight years of product experience in Web Conferencing and currently manages InterCall Web Meeting, InterCall’s proprietary unified communications tool.  When not punching on the keyboard, you can find Dan enjoying time with his wife and two children or running a marathon.

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Cassandra Bennett

Things have defiantly changed since 1996 for web conferencing. Heck, new tools and features are announced what seems like every month. Keeping up with the lingo and new functionality is challenging even for someone in the conferencing industry. That is why I LOVE this post! This blog is a great resource of breaking down the different options customers have when considering what platform would be best for their company. An educated buyer is a happy buyer.

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