Technology firms are masters of inventing new words. Learning the lexicon will enable you to make better buying decisions.Here are the basics.

  • E-conferencing refers to technologies that allow people to communicate over the Internet; these include audioconferencing, videoconferencing, collaborative conferencing, and webconferencing.

  • Audioconferencing concerns voice-only meetings. Traditionally this was limited to meetings over a telephone network, but audio is moving to the Web using VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology.

  • Collaborative Conferencing, aka data or document conferencing, allows people at different locations to share documents or applications. Traditional data conferencing relies on each user having the document sharing software.

  • Videoconferencing adds face-to-face to e-meetings. Videoconferencing equipment and a high-bandwidth network connection are needed at both ends. It works well for small meetings.

  • Webconferencing uses the Internet to bring audio, video, and often collaborative conferencing solutions to users via PCs and regular phone lines.

  • Webinars are the most common type of e-conference. The moderator presents content online using a form of slide show presentation. Attendees log onto the Web conference and communicate with the moderator through their telephone or a Web-based chat. The moderator can interact with participants, view attendee lists, and manage the communication.

  • Webcasting incorporates streaming video and audio over the Internet. The video feed is encoded and compressed, and both the audio and the video are streamed through the Internet. Webcasting is usually used for one-to-many communications.

  • Virtual Trade Shows simulate a trade show floor on the Internet. Attendees can view a show map, click on vendor booths to visit, view electronic brochure racks, “chat” with sales reps, watch product demos, and more. Virtual trade shows are often used to market and complement traditional shows.

  • Cyberconferences combine a series of webconferences with a virtual trade show. They have an online lobby where people can register, join a Web session, or browse the virtual show floor.

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