Technology Considerations for Your Online Event

The technology used in an online event contributes largely to its success. If you are looking for a high level of audience participation, you need to look into technology elements that are easy as for both presenter and viewer, and interesting to the audience. In-depth research on the available technology for online events will help you make a wise decision.

When considering the technology for your online event, consider:
* The nature of your event
* The number of participants
* Multimedia requirements or interactivity.

For example, if you are expecting a great number of visitors to your online event, you will have to consider bandwidth capacity. If you wish to host a question-and-answer session, you will need to have a phone bridge or VoIP element in your web conference.

One of the most common types of web conferencing setups is a hosted option that is delivered via the web browser. If you are anticipating a large number of participants, this option will allow for the broadest level of participation, as it functions on any standard browser, and does not require any additional software download.

For a uni-directional event (one-to-many), in which the presenter is giving a one-way talk and does not expect direct feedback, VoIP, chat, or phone bridge is unnecessary. However, for events that do require this type of interaction, there are two options. A phone bridge allows users to connect via phone conference to hear the audio portion, while simultaneously viewing the presentation on the web browser. Alternately, a VoIP connection through Skype or a similar utility will allow for the audio interaction to take place over the same connection. One possible disadvantage to the latter is that not all participants may have VoIP enabled, and may require a download.

Video is obviously quite important in an online event. Typically video is one-way, although two-way video can also be achieved if necessary.The web camera should be of high quality—the standard, inexpensive web cam will offer only a fuzzy and jittery view. More professional web cams will allow for a full view of the room and multiple angles and views.

If bandwidth is an issue, text chat may replace audio for the interactive portion.This allows for a significant amount of interaction, and retains the interest of the audience; while also allowing for break-away sessions between attendees.

In the case of an online tutorial, or a presentation that includes reviewing a web site, co-browsing allows all users to browse through web pages simultaneously along with multiple remote users. Co-browsing ensures that users get an interactive feel as they browse through the different sections of your event.This technology is also highly favorable for online conferences where the participants can look at similar web pages of the event as they discuss related issues. Similarly, screen sharing enables users to share the contents of their individual screens with one or more remote users.

Live annotation tools will also be useful, and are commonly included in web conferencing software packages as a standard feature.This technology enables participants of the online event to add in extra information or pictures as and when the event progresses, and annotate screens and displays in real time.

Lastly, your online event may need to be accessible after it’s over, to allow those people who were unable to attend to view it, or to be used as a reference for later. Again, many web conferencing software packages include recording facilities; hosted web conferencing services should also offer this service. The recording facility is used to record all the texts, documents, videos, messages, and other communication features of your online event.

Although there are many more technology considerations for online events, the above-mentioned features are the basic and cost effective options. When planning out the technology for your online event, it is also important that you also understand and consider the technical comfort level of your audience.

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