When it comes to the topic of video conferencing, the solutions available on the market are divided into two main categories: those that require the installation of a specific proprietary software and those that use the WebRTC standard instead. This type of web service has nothing to envy to proprietary software, such as Skype, but offers the undeniable advantage of being able to use a browser as the only requirement.
WebRTC: what it is and how it works
WebRTC (Web Real Time Communications) is a communication standard with native support for the live streaming of audio and video content from the browser without the need for additional plug-ins or the installation of external components. With this standard, you can turn your browser into a video conferencing endpoint.
By not requiring any installation, it is possible to exploit this communication method even on relatively old machines or with limited computing power. Furthermore, it is usually possible to use it even on company laptops that do not allow workers to install any software.
The communication is managed by the service servers and the audio and video quality optimized in real time. In the security field, communications are all protected and encrypted. The interface is based on HTML5 and therefore the only requirement is a browser that supports it. Only excluded is therefore Internet Explorer, which has been replaced by Microsoft Edge.
The quality of communication in a WebRTC service is delegated to video and audio codecs. This guarantees excellent performance regardless of the audio / video hardware you have. However, this is only part of what WebRTC-based web services can offer.
Cloud Web Conference offered by SOD also provides other useful tools such as the shared whiteboard, group chat, the possibility of creating separate “rooms” for the participants, up to the possibility of using presentations and sharing the screen among the participants.
All this, without the need to install any program on your computer, minimizing the impact on the operating system and hard disk.
Therefore, the advantages for companies include an interesting reduction in the costs of communication services to support their employees or customers. Communication is definitively independent from the device and an infinite frontier of integration with other services is opened, from email clients to advanced collaboration platforms.
If there is a fault to be found in WebRTC systems, it is the dependence on the speed of the available network.
In fact, if it is true that the hardware resources are minimal (the possibility of using a browser), the network resources required can still be limiting. Unfortunately in Italy there are still geographic areas where the connection is particularly slow and this could influence the quality of video calls also through a WebRTC service.
For most users, however, it is a very minimal risk. In addition, it is a problem that is also encountered with the use of proprietary software for video calls.
Uses of WebRTC services
Video conferencing or video calling services have become of fundamental importance in this historical period. The need to communicate remotely has become concrete. Being unable to meet live has magnified this need.
Using services based on the WebRTC communication standard has quickly become the preferred solution. Companies that have adopted this standard to move their meetings over the network have not had to worry about installing any software. Even students and teachers were able to finish the 2019/2020 school cycle without worrying too much about the computers available to them.
WebRTC-based video conferencing services have proven to have few obstacles to communication, facilitating many aspects in the working and educational world.
The absence of an installation brings with it an additional advantage: independence from any operating system or device.
WebRTC services are available wherever it is possible to use a browser, therefore also on mobile devices. In fact, you are further free to communicate with anyone, in any situation and from anywhere. The interface of the Cloud Web Conference service is designed first of all for portable devices, guaranteeing a clear and simple experience in every situation.
WebRTC technology, widely supported by practically every browser in circulation, offers countless advantages to its users and more and more services rely on this standard to offer their videoconferencing solution.
It is to be expected that this will become the standard in a short time, supplanting the proprietary software also in the communication field. It has already happened with data storage and cloud servers, it is only a matter of time.
The advice is therefore to evaluate services such as SOD Cloud Web Conference for your video calls.
Secure Online Desktop offers a Videoconferencing platform (cloud conference) that does not require any installation of dedicated software on the computer. The only requirements to be met are Adobe Flash support and an internet connection.
Video call features include real-time sharing of audio, video, presentations, screen sharing. But not only, also collaboration tools among the participants such as: the blackboard, the shared notes, the surveys and the breakout rooms. It is also possible to record sessions for later playback.
Videoconferencing platform – Introduction to Cloud Web Conference
SOD – Cloud Web Conference is HTML5-based web software offered as a service (SaaS). Unlike many commercial video conferencing platforms that require software installation, Cloud Web Conference works in a normal browser. Just connect through a link to participate in the video call. The service provides high quality audio, video and screen sharing. This is possible using the browser’s built-in support for Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) libraries.
Secure Online Desktop’s Web Cloud Conference has a mobile first design, like many modern web applications. This means that its interface has been designed with mobile devices in mind. As for desktop use, there is no app to download or install, because the application runs inside the browser.
Functionality for learning and collaboration
The features offered by the Cloud Web Conference platform are suitable both for use in education and in professional collaboration.
The communication provides for a moderator, who has greater control over the functionality, and for participants who have limited possibilities. The moderator acts as host of the video call, can silence the participants, assign them to separate classrooms, share polls and interrupt the entire conference. Participants can also actively intervene only if the moderator allows it through the appropriate functions.
Public and private chat
Within SOD – Cloud Conference it is always possible to communicate through a chat. This can be public, and therefore visible to all participants, or private, therefore visible only to some of them.
Audio and webcam sharing
Those attending the meeting can decide whether to do it with the microphone on or off. In any case, you can activate and deactivate it later.
The moderator has the option to limit the participants’ audio interactions. This prevents audio from being shared with others if not needed. If the moderator does not prevent it with the appropriate function, participants can still intervene by enabling their own microphone.
It is possible to participate in the videoconference with your webcam: In this case you can eliminate distractions by closing parts of the interface that are not necessary, for example the public chat or the shared whiteboard.
Videoconferencing platform – Multi-user shared whiteboard
The blackboard is always available to the moderator. In addition to the use of various tools for drawing and managing images on the blackboard, it is possible to share it with the participants. These can intervene using it in turn, selecting different colors to distinguish their intervention.
Share presentations, videos and screens
The moderator can upload a presentation file to the videoconference platform. The software will show the presentation on the screen, without the inconvenience of having to download the file to all participants. It is however possible for the moderator to give the possibility to download the presentation file.
Similarly, it is possible to show participants a YouTube video through a link. The video is shown via the moderator screen, so as not to commit additional bandwidth to the participants.
Finally, the moderator can choose whether to show the participants their screen. It is possible to show the whole screen or only the window of an application already open.
It is also possible to create separate rooms and assign participants to them. These are used for collaboration in groups within the same video call. The moderator can create the rooms, assign the participants to them, or leave them free to choose independently. He can also listen to what’s going on in every single room, or actively participate like the others.
Videoconferencing platform – A solution suitable for everyone
The Cloud Web Conference system offers fundamental functions for a teacher to involve his students in learning. Through the same characteristics, collaboration between colleagues is possible and, indeed, facilitated by such a complete videoconference platform.
Only a few months in this 2020 and we have experienced, despite ourselves, a need for remote communication that we did not have before. The world of work has (re) discovered smart working and has quickly had to adapt to new needs. One of these is to offer an adequate communication method that includes the possibility of teleconferencing, webinars and video calls in general.
What are webinars
The technology that allows us this type of interaction has been around for a few years. Only from 2017-18, however, was it starting to catch on. Especially through the dissemination of webinars, often offered for free as a brand awareness tool.
The word webinar is the union of two English words web and seminar, in Italian they are also called video conferences or video calls. A webinar is, in essence, an online meeting or presentation that takes place in real time. The Internet acts as a communication vehicle between speakers and the public.
The main feature of live video conferencing is interactivity and the ability to discuss, send and receive information in real time.
Use of the tool
Through a dedicated software, many interesting events can be organized, both for individuals and for companies.
– Webinar: meetings where a speaker presents a topic to a virtual audience. Communication is usually one-way and the public can only intervene if the moderator grants it.
– Video call: an equal interaction between two or more people. This exchange of information takes place bi-directionally, as in a normal conversation.
– Videoconference or conference call: Similar to video calls, but in the workplace. During a video conference, the results of the teams involved in a project are often shared. Or new products are presented or some problems are also exposed. In short, what normally happens in a business meeting.
Almost all the software available for remote audio / video interaction offer very interesting features.
Screen sharing and presentation: One of the participants shares the screen with the others. Showing a PowerPoint presentation in this way is very simple, for example.
Whiteboard: Some programs offer the use of a blackboard for the moderator of the meeting. Very interesting for school videoconferences, or to actively show current data and patterns.
Webcam sharing: Webcam sharing is always present and has the only limitation of requiring more bandwidth than audio sharing. The webcam is usually turned off to the public during webinars or in calls with many participants.
Public chat: Participants have the opportunity to write in a chat during the online event. It is useful for asking questions in writing. In fact, when the event includes many spectators, taking away the possibility of speaking prevents the moderator from being disturbed.
Conference Notes: During a webinar it is often useful to be able to take notes. In professional tools this feature allows you to save your notes once the video conference has ended.
Webinars make it possible to hold conferences and meetings at any time and place. Anyone can attend a webinar without leaving work or while at home, on a business trip or even on vacation.
The only thing to keep in mind is that everyone must have the same software and the same version. It often happens, however, that the participants have not installed the necessary software, or that their version is not updated.
To solve the problem, some services are offered with only the web interface, which does not require installation. The only thing needed is an internet connection.
For the work
When a video calling tool is implemented in the work routine, it is essential that it is reliable and professional.
The Cloud Web Conference system does not require any installation, it is accessible from any browser and from any computer.
Some important features for the moderator:
– Screen sharing
– Use of a virtual whiteboard
– Disable audio to participants to avoid distractions
For participants in a video conference:
– Ability to take notes
– Use of a chat
– Possibility to emphasize different parts of the interface to give greater prominence to the video or presentation, if necessary
The use of dedicated online software lightens the employees’ computers, requiring no installation. Videoconferencing with teams, or promotional webinars are greatly facilitated in the creation and sharing.
Cloud Conference free for two months for Corona Virus emergency (COVID-19).
To cope with the Corona Virus emergency and to help companies with Smart Working tools, the Secure Online Desktop offers the Cloud Conference service free of charge for two months. Cloud Conference is our video conference service that does not require the use of software, no installation is necessary because everything is already available in the Cloud.
Instructions for free use of the service:
♦ Access the product page at the following link: https://cloud.secure-od.com/cart/saas—cloud-conference
♦ Click on the “Use a promotional code” box on the right
♦ Enter the promotional code: COVID-19
Cloud Conference free for two months for Corona Virus emergency (COVID-19)
♦ Any company can access the promotion by using the ownCloud service for free for two months;
♦ The promotion in question does not include any renewal obligation and no disbursement;
♦ At the end of the promotion, the user can decide whether to renew the service or to discontinue it.
L’iniziativa è stata pubblicata anche sul portale istituzionale Solidarietà Digitale nella sezione Smart Working cercando per Cloud Conference.
The initiative was also published on the institutional portal Digital Solidarity in the Smart Working section looking for the Cloud Conference.
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