Video conferencing has experienced a surge in popularity under lockdown. Across the world, displaced workers are conducting video conferences amongst clothes airers, unmade beds and furloughed partners.
It's a watershed moment for self-education in video conferencing. As a result, the format is about to become a larger presence in our working lives, too.
But before organisations gear up to hold webinars, remote meetings and virtual events using these commercially available tools, there are issues to consider.
For most official purposes, a managed webinar platform will provide a more stable and secure experience, combating the gremlins common with other video conferencing services. Let’s explore some of the benefits.
A drawback with commercially available video conferencing services is clear to any user who has hosted a call with a high number of attendees: maintaining control of the stream. Whether your platform is Microsoft Teams, Zoom or another provider, ensuring the speakers can be seen and understood by all can be a struggle.
A managed platform, much like a live broadcast, is manually controlled by a Technician. They are responsible for running the stream and encouraging engagement. This relieves the pressure of stream management from your side. If necessary, connection checks can also be run well ahead of the conference to ensure your speakers are broadcasting loud and clear, too.
An additional benefit for larger virtual webinars is access to a Content Manager, who specialises in optimising your content for a remote audience. Creating effective content for your webinar can feel like stumbling in the dark. Insight from a Content Manager ensures your programme is fine-tuned for what might be a new format for your organisation.
The result? A considered programme of optimised content beamed in a clear fashion to your viewers.
Video communication platform Zoom initially strained under the increased user numbers brought on by lockdown, exposing fissures in their security. From unlawful attention tracking to ‘Zoombombing’ – where a call is breached by an uninvited and disruptive user– the platform has an iffy track record.
For your attendees, the security of their data and the contents of the webinar will be the highest priority. A managed webinar solution gives you more robust control over stream security, with a bespoke platform built to your security requirements, operated in-house. Additional measures such as pen-testing and ISO-27001 approval are all bases covered for your stream’s security.
Plus, data gathered over the course of the webinar is yours to use as you see fit, or can be stored securely on the platform itself.
Consider the purpose of your webinar, and whether your chosen platform meets the criteria of providing the best experience for your viewers. Some thought-starters to help you decide:
One. What is your expected viewership?
Two. Will there be specific presentation segments?
Three. Will there be a designated time for a Q&A?
Four. Will there be engagement mechanics such as questionnaires or other opportunities for data gathering?
These are options to explore with a managed platform which may be unfulfilled using a commercially available service like Microsoft Teams or Zoom. If your priority is a seamless experience, and the size and seniority of your audience justifies it, go bespoke. If you want to use your webinar to connect with your audience on a greater level and gain deeper insights from their interaction, a managed platform will help you to do this, too.
In many contexts a service like Microsoft Teams or Zoom is an understandable choice. For a catch-up between smaller teams or a social call, a managed webinar solution might be overkill. But for webinars, official updates and larger meetings, a bespoke platform offers clear advantages.