Web conferencing (meetinghouse)
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Web conferencing can replace some face-to-face meetings with meetings held over the computer.
Web conferencing is a service that allows many people from different locations to share documents, make presentations, and collaborate using a computer with a Web browser over a network or Internet connection. It is an excellent choice for a virtual training meeting. It also allows participants to use voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) through the computer to talk in a meeting instead of using a standard telephone call. The quality of the VoIP service can vary based on the quality of the Internet service, so an audio conference may also be required to provide optimal voice quality. Some Web conferencing software also provides very basic video capability so that a remote site can see the presenter during a meeting. To take advantage of this capability, a Web camera is required on the presenter's computer.
There are currently three types of Web conferencing solutions available at contract rates:
You need to select your technology at the time you establish your account. Freeware services are also available. The Web conferencing comparison matrix provides a comparison of some of these choices.
The local unit needing the service must establish an account with the service provider. The bill is paid for out of the same local account used for travel reimbursement or local unit operating budget. The leader with responsibility for that budget must approve the account and be the billing party for the account. The billing party will receive the monthly bills for the service and will pay the service provider directly for the service.
You can also order GoToMeeting Web conferencing directly from Citrix. You can order on a monthly basis for $49 per month with no long term commitment, or you can order for one year at $39 per month. This amount can be charged to a credit card for more convenient billing. If you know you will use this often, this is your better value. GoToMeeting allows 15 participants in the meeting.
GoToWebinar allows up to 100 participants for $99 per month with no longer term commitment, or order for one year at $79 per month. You can also order this directly from Citrix. This amount can be charged to a credit card for more convenient billing.
Usage tips and guidelines
Holding virtual meetings in place of face-to-face meetings is a new concept for many leaders of the Church. While virtual meetings can significantly reduce the need for travel, the change can be an awkward transition. Tips and Guidelines is a document designed to help you make the change to this new method of meeting. These guidelines are for all kinds of virtual meetings, not just Web conferences.
If you are unsure about how to take advantage of this service in your local units, please review the usage models document for some suggestions. You must rely on your knowledge of your area, your leaders, and the reliability of your telephone service as you prayerfully consider your options.