The Who, What, Why of Online Events

Laura Chatton
07-Jul-2016 10:00:00

Terminology in Online Events remains a subject that is constantly changing and continuously ‘up for debate’. Webinar, Webcast, Webex, Virtual Seminar, the list goes on. That's before you even get into a webinar platform comparison.

 In short, at WorkCast, we don’t mind what you call it, just tell us what you picture your event looking like and our team can make it happen with our award-winning platform. But for those of you who love definitions, we don't mind getting technical either! For the record – we call them ALL Online Events; it’s just so much simpler that way!

 ‘What is the difference between this and my current solution __x___?’

This a question we get asked on a daily basis. And for good reason, it's hard to be sure what different providers are actually, well, providing when there's so many different terms floating around out there. 

So, to help you with your webinar platform comparison and to make navigating through the maze of providers out there simple, us lovely lot decided to compile our industry expertise to help you actually decide which solution actually meets your real needs. In order to do this in a simpler way, we thought it best to group solutions together that offer a similar service.

The Most Common Online Event Terms Include

  • Web Conferencing
  • Webinars
  • Web Streaming
  • Virtual Event/ Virtual Open Day

So, I'm going to go into more detail about each term below. 

Let’s start with Web Conferencing

Now, loosely speaking, web conferencing usually refers to interactive collaboration in work groups (fancy!), such as brainstorming sessions between employees working on a new business strategy or product design.

A typical web conference involves inviting a relatively small number of participants, perhaps 20 max. Everyone can contribute to the flow of ideas and information and there is usually one person streaming their screen to give the others the base for the conversation.

Typically everyone could be on the same conference call during the meeting alongside the screenshare or audio is delivered by VOIP. Desktop sharing is okay for internal collaboration, since you can move from one application or document to another whenever you wish.

Good solutions let you conceal personal items (your pet cat on your wallpaper) or confidential data (email folders etc.) during more formal meetings. You sometimes see the term "web meeting" used in the same context. Most web conferencing tools will also allow you to record your session which is helpful to come back to or share with someone who couldn’t make it.

Think you need a solution like this? Google; Web Conferencing

Now Google the term ‘Webinar’

Unfortunately, this is where the confusion normally begins. You see, different providers to the above search (web conferencing) will also turn up in your results, even though web conferencing tools can refer to themselves as webinar providers. So what's the difference?

The way we see it, when you run a webinar there is a different aim to the event. For example, a webinar is a good fit for your B2B marketing mix if you want your event to be a presentation via one or more presenters, delivered to an audience of 30 or more people.

This could be for the purposes of Thought Leadership – inviting experts to share their thoughts on a subject relevant to your industry. It could be for education or training - perhaps with your product or service, or for your employees regarding a large company update and even upskilling. It may also be for Lead Generation; inviting prospective clients to an event to showcase your services and value and answer questions in a professional and interactive environment.

Good webinar solutions will have a decent range of functionality. For example; a separate registration page, reminder emails for registered participants, a webinar landing page for topics and logins, and a comfortable chat and survey tool. The infrastructure should have the capability to support hundreds of participants with no issues of buffering, which more often than not web conferencing software will not have. 

Think you need a solution like this? Google; Webinar Software

What if you have a live event scheduled?

You’ve booked a speaker or are presenting yourself and you’d love the opportunity to reach the hundreds or even thousands of people who would be hugely interested but can’t make the physical event. Streaming from this event can help you make this happen.

The focus may not be on interactivity. Casting or Streaming over the web often requires complex transmission technology and is usually offered as a hosted service. Solutions should also be able to support high number of participants – ideally 500 to 2000.

Think you need a solution like this? Google; Web Streaming


What if you want to run an online event? 

Different from above, you want to host an event, somewhat of an exhibition, even. But you are aware that your audience would struggle to all be in the same place at the same time and to be completely honest, you’d rather not spend all that money on a physical event!

What if you could do it all Online and still give the audience/attendees that feeling of being a part something real? What you need is a Virtual Environment, whether the aim be an event  where other companies can also exhibit, a careers fair, an annual summit – you need to create an event that people know is yours and that they can still take away some fantastic material from. (Check out a case study here)

This type of software should be able to support similar levels of attendees to webcasting and should be robust enough and tested to ensure that it does not crash when attendees are ‘looking around’ or ‘networking’ – especially if you’ve sold sponsor slots to other companies!

Think you need a solution like this? Google; Virtual Event

Phew! By now I’m hoping you feel a little more enlightened. To sum up, there are some excellent solutions in the market that cater perfectly for whichever type of event you’d like to host. Choosing between them all is down to personal preference but those value-added extras that can be included may sway it for you.

So what is different? Hopefully you can tell what ‘category’ your current solution fits into. Okay, good. A WorkCast event looks like this; A fully branded (that’s logo, background imagery AND colour schemes exactly how you want them) registration page, the same for your event auditorium, the ability to upload usable resource materials that your attendees can take away, the same for your post-event communications and even a hugely innovative reporting log, helping you to improve your marketing strategy every time you deliver an event!

Check out the ‘Why WorkCast ‘ page to see more and if you require a solution that can host all of these event types without the need for any additional software or telephone minutes, then you’re already in the right place! 

Even better! Why not try WorkCast Yourself with a free trial?

Start Your Free Trial of Present+ Today

You May Also Like

These Stories on Online Events

Subscribe by Email