Web Collaboration is a term that we frequently use when talking about Unified Communications. What are the main characteristics of a form of communication so that we can call it Web Collaboration ? What are its uses and advantages ?

Web Collaboration is not identical to video conferencing but has some distinct features. Let us examine them one by one.

Web-Based

No surprise that Web Collaboration should be web-based. When we say web-based we mean that this system or service works through a Web Browser instead of a standalone software client or a hardware device.

The advantages of the Web-Based feature of Web Collaboration are :

  • There is no software application to install
  • It is easier to implement in security-conscious networks
  • It provides simple access through a web link via a browser
  • It requires less implementation / installation work compared to a standalone environment
  • It requires less modification of company network infrastructure, as everything works through a web browser which is already configured to work company-wide

Content-oriented

Web Collaboration sessions focus mainly on content-sharing. You can easily share Presentations, PDF documents, video clips and other material with others. Also, there are features that you cannot find in videoconferencing endpoints. An example of such a feature is a chat application that is a part of the web collaboration system. . Other features include displaying the participants, presence etc.

Content-oriented also implies that the video part of the communication is not emphasized as much as the content. Yes, you see the other person but the video window is usually a small part of the screen. The content presentation window usually occupies the biggest area on the screen. There are options to resize these windows and make them full screen, but making the video full-screen does not increase the quality, it only makes it obvious that it is a low or medium resolution video.

PC-Based

A Web Collaboration system is basically a PC with a web camera, some kind of microphone and the collaboration software running in a browser. Hence, these sessions are for individuals sitting in front of their computer and not for groups sitting in a meeting room.

Collaboration and permissions

Collaboration systems in general have more features that are related to working together and enabling other users to present or act on something than videoconferencing room systems. You can assign someone else to be the presenter, and they can share their own presentations and files. You can share a particular application or window, or you can share your whole desktop with everyone else so they can see what you are doing. This is especially useful for training applications. You can host real-time chats and let people ask questions in writing, which you can then answer during the call.

Suitable for Training

We use Web Collaboration systems a lot in training applications. The document sharing feature helps a lot in this direction. Many trainers around the world use Web Collaboration systems to teach and educate. The content-oriented feature of Web Collaboration Systems is actually the most important ingredient that makes it suitable for classrooms and training groups. Also, since it is PC-based and one person can use it, it is ideal for online classes. In these environments, each participant is an individual at their own location, home or business.

Conclusion

This technology integrates several elements in a system to provide a rich, content-oriented experience that enables distance-learning, training and similar applications. It can enable the remote training and education of business teams. It can provide educational organisations with powerful tools for access to training for those living in distant locations, or those who have time constraints or even mobility constraints.

Dionissis Zervas, Unified Communications Engineer

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