Audience reporting tools integrated into Webcasting software let the producers monitor responses, for example, counting the number of participants, ensuring that only invited guests are allowed to view Webcasts, measuring how long viewers watch Webcasts, what questions they asked, and how they respond to surveys and polls.
This kind of information can help companies generate sales leads, gather customer feedback, collect data for product improvements, build customer loyalty, strengthen business alliances, and accumulate market intelligence.
IT staff typically manages the technology behind the scenes, ensuring that it works appropriately, monitors bandwidth usage, and ensures only invited participants are allowed to view Webcasts.
|Tech Guide: Links For Webcasting|
|To dig deeper into enterprise Webcasts, explore these additional online resources:|
|Web Conferencing Embraced
Companies often start using Web conferencing to save money on travel costs, but they soon realize other benefits as well
|In Or Out: Web Conferencing Is Available Hosted Or In-House|
|Cupertino Goes Live|
|How Webcasting Works|
|RealOne Guide To Streaming Media|
|Windows Media home page|
|International Webcasting Association|
|Warp-Speed Web Content|
|Living On The Edge|
|RealNetworks Skins Apple, Microsoft|
|Reel 'Em In!
|By Ken Yamada|
The cost of Webcasting varies, depending on the complexity of the Webcast, the number of viewers watching, and whether the company produces and manages the Webcast itself or hires a Webcasting firm to do the job for them. Consequently, prices range from basic Webcasting technology selling for $10,000, to sophisticated systems selling for $100,000 or more.
For example, Virage Inc. sells a version of its Webcasting technology that handles 500 concurrent users and an unlimited number of on-demand viewers for $140,000. Virage's system is a comprehensive platform with various components, including server software, encoding technology, and an indexing system for archiving and retrieving Webcasts, making it easier to repurpose them for other uses. By contrast, e-StudioLive offers a Webcasting solution that it ships on a Dell PC for $25,000, enough technology for producing and broadcasting a Webcast, assuming a company already has a Web site and streaming server.
Additional costs may include studio equipment, for which prices vary, but a professional setup could cost $25,000. Basic equipment for a simple studio, such as a microphone, camera, and lights, may only cost $2,000 or less.
In addition, companies planning to conduct their own live Webcasts will need plenty of network bandwidth. Each viewer requires a separate data stream. For good video, that stream will run at 80 Kbps, which means a T-1 line will handle 20 people simultaneously. On-demand Webcasts require less bandwidth, with the assumption that not all attendees show up at the same time, but rather, will access the presentation at various hours of a day.