As its name implies, web conferencing software enables participants to attend meetings over the internet. This type of software usually allows users to join meetings through three different platforms: desktop programs, mobile apps, or online – though all of them more or less share the same interface and features.
Usually, web conferencing platforms have a dedicated space on the software window’s left side to display participants' cameras or the information being presented. On the right, there’s generally a menu where you can find the live chat, polls, and other interactive features the provider may offer. Of course, depending on whether you're the host or one of the participants, the user experience is slightly different. As a host, you can give permission or accept requests for participants to share their audio and video, lock meetings so no newcomers can join during the session, share your screen or presentation, or scribble on a virtual whiteboard. Another gap between hosts and participants is that the latter don't need to install any software on their devices, as most web conferencing software providers offer the option for attendees to join the meeting via browser.
Web conferencing software is extremely popular mainly because it's straightforward to use and set up. Participants just need a device with audio/video capabilities and an internet connection, and they're ready to go. So unlike video conferencing, there isn't a need to invest in fancy cameras or microphones; the ones built into the computer or mobile phone are more than enough.
Web Conferencing Software vs Video Conferencing
It's important to understand the difference between web conferencing and video conferencing software. Although both are used to communicate in real time over the internet, they're built quite differently and offer distinct features. While video conferencing focuses on video and audio quality, it lacks the collaborative features found in web conferencing software. Furthermore, with video conferencing it's necessary to invest in dedicated equipment, while with web conferencing software a computer or mobile phone is sufficient.