While video conferencing and web conferencing are sometimes confused, the
reality is that web conferencing is a absolutely altered animal, with far added
options accessible and a abundant greater ambit of functionality than video
conferencing. Web conferencing offers not just the befalling to babble and
communicate via webcam so that you can see anniversary getting in your conferencing
link, but to barter documents, allotment applications, admission aggregate desktops, use
PowerPoint, whiteboards and added presentation appearance and even poll
It all started with PLATO…
Web conferencing is “the absolute package.” Interestingly, the conceptual architectonics
of web conferencing began continued afore there was a Apple Wide Web or Internet
structure in place. In the 1960’s, the University of Illinois developed a arrangement
known as PLATO for their Computer-based Education Research Laboratory (CERL). It
was a small, independent arrangement acknowledging a individual classroom of terminals
connected to one mainframe computer. In 1972, PLATO was confused to a new arrangement of
mainframes that eventually accurate over one thousand users at a time.
In 1973, Talkomatic was developed by Doug Brown. This was about the
first “instant messaging” affairs anytime designed, with assorted windows
displaying typed addendum in absolute time for several users simultaneously. In 1974,
Kim Mast developed Personal Notes, a new affection for PLATO that enabled clandestine
mail for users.
In 1975, Control Data Association set up its own PLATO arrangement in Minneapolis,
Minnesota, the aboriginal bartering use of multi-function conferencing system.
Within ten years, PLATO was getting acclimated in over one hundred sites about the
world, some with committed curve for full-time use.
In the backward 1980’s, however, microcomputers were acceptable added analytic
priced and the heyday of mainframe-based systems was over. Eventually the
original Control Data systems were shut down because PLATO was no best
cost-effective. Control Data now has a few systems operating beneath the name
In the backward 1970’s, Ray Ozzie and Tim Halvorsen formed at CERL. Years afterwards
they took some of the appearance of PLATO and abundantly broadcast on their
capabilities if designing one of today’s a lot of able web conferencing accoutrement
— Lotus Notes, appear in 1989.
Lotus Addendum was the aboriginal commercially appear artefact that absolutely took off
to action user-created data-bases, certificate sharing, and limited area
communication beneath one umbrella. It created a “relationship based” ambiance
that took the association apple by storm.
Other birth of PLATO included DEC Notes, originally accepted as VAX,
written by Len Kawell. It is still acclimated today on DEC’s EASYnet and on Starlink,
a accepted web conferencing community. NetNotes is a client-server arrangement
designed to advance on the aboriginal DEC Notes, with WebNotes as an add-on for
World Wide Web access.
True WEB conferencing
The acumen amid accurate web conferencing and systems conferencing is
difficult, however, to define. If the Web aboriginal became a adversary as a accurate
means of collaborative conferencing with certificate sharing, etc, abounding companies
took conferencing bales originally advised for intranet systems and
redesigned them. The after-effects weren’t consistently seamless. It wasn’t until the
mid-1990’s that accurate Web Conferencing software that was reliable was available.
PLATO and added main-frame based conferencing systems were based on a
centralized structure, with all elements agriculture into a axial computer. This
structure saw the development of several types of conferencing software that
included Backtalk, Caucus, COW, Motet, Web Crossing, Podium, TALKaway and YAPP.
PlaceWare, arguably one of the a lot of affecting Web conferencing systems
developed, had absorbing origins in the 1990’s at the Xerox Palo Alto Research
Center, area it began as a multi-user bold alleged LambdaMOO. PlaceWare was one
of the aboriginal companies to accommodate complete Web conferencing afterwards the antecedent
release of PlaceWare Auditorium in 1997. In April of 2003, Microsoft purchased
PlaceWare, abacus it to its anew formed Real-Time Collaborative Business Unit.
P2P accouterment the focus of web conferencing
Another accepted anatomy of software was Groupware, about authentic by Lotus
Notes. The aberration amid the centralized anatomy of PLATO-based systems
and Lotus is in the added functions — Lotus provided a host of added
options like scheduling and certificate sharing. Groupware software is added circuitous
than Centralized software and focus on plan flow; that is, authoritative abiding
documents, cartoon and templates are area they charge to be. Accepted Groupware
products developed in the 1990’s included InTandem, Livelink, Lotus Domino,
Oracle InterOffice, TEAMate and WebShare.
As the amount of home computers dropped, associate to associate (P2P) book administration
became added and added commonplace over the Apple Wide Web, although primarily on
a user to user basis. That afflicted if associates of Napster, again an illegal,
informally organized accumulation of academy adolescence and added music-lovers, began
sharing millions of music files a allotment of themselves. It began a anarchy in the
use of the Internet that changes the way Web conferencing was eventually
perceived. P2P began to be apparent as the way to host Web conferencing, rather than
through a individual server. .
Groove took this associate to associate abstraction and activated it to Web conferencing. The
Groove technology, originally appear in 2000, was upgraded to absolute achievement
power with Groove 2.1 in 2002 and was impressive. The advantages of associate to associate
were anon accessible — already you loaded the software and were set up, you
never had to pay a cable or user fee for an offsite server to abundance any
files, you will never lose all files in one axial location, and you are set up
and acceptable to go for activity (or until the next upgrade, at least).
Another aggregation that accustomed the charge for superior Web conferencing
software during these years was WiredRed Software, founded in 1998. In 2003,
they appear e/pop, a real-time Web Conferencing apartment with absolute
features for all aspects of industry — it was the aboriginal installable web
conferencing software with no cogent install time.
NextPage aswell offers P2P web conferencing and certificate administration capabilities
developed out of the Napster movement. In fact, they use the archetype of Napster
file administration and downloads to allegorize to companies the advantages of appliance a
peer to associate arrangement over a centralized server.
What about UseNet?
In the 1980’s, Usenet software was developed with specific protocols to
format and abode messages. It aswell accustomed letters to be anesthetized from one
news server to another, replicating about the apple rather than getting stored in
any one location. It has become the accepted for account readers on the Internet,
with Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer both accepting congenital account readers
for UseNet. .
For some, web conferencing can be accomplished artlessly by demography advantage of
UseNet. Download chargeless software to set up a account server, actualize a few bounded
newsgroups on it, and accept your users admission your server with their Web browsers
to actualize your conferencing site.
Most companies, of course, adopt to accept a added able amalgamation than
that, and affluence of use and aegis are apropos that are addressed bigger by
companies who accept accurately developed aggregation or action Web Conferencing
solutions. A acceptable web conferencing amalgamation today contains articulation over IP (VoIP),
co-browsing and appliance administration at the minimum, with add-ons and added
features if needed, including polling, accident management, PowerPoint
presentation, playback, recording and reside comment and markup.
Easynet, founded in 1994, is a broadband networking aggregation based in Europe
providing primarily European businesses with Web conferencing capabilities. This
infrastructure based provider provides unbundled bend admission to companies in
some countries as a allotment of a “leased line” affairs for conferencing.
VoIP is authoritative babble
The latest borderland in Web conferencing is the acumen of appliance IP based
voice communications on a approved base with Web conferencing. While Web
conferencing is advised adorable for certificate exchange, argument messaging and
whiteboards and abounding added functions, abounding humans still anticipate VoIP technology
has poor superior overall, abnormally with so abounding humans still appliance dial-up
Actually, there are several contenders in the exchange who accept produced
excellent superior VoIP offerings in their Web conferencing packages, including
Voxwire, Orbitalk, RoomTalk, and VoiceCafe.
The approaching of web conferencing
One of the endure barrier blocks for web conferencing has been the
incompatibility amid Macs and PC’s. With the abundant alternative for Macs by
those in cartoon abundant industries such as architecture, commercial and
publishing, it has consistently been difficult to allotment abstracts and set up able
Web conferencing if the audience are PC-based. .
Session from WaveThree was appear in 2003 to abode this botheration and seems
to accept in fact affected this acutely insurmountable botheration — one of the
first absolutely able systems for Mac/PC accord over the Internet. Appliance
a bandwidth of 128 KBPS or above, Session provides videoconferencing, desktop
sharing, certificate sharing, whiteboards and reside annotations on photos and/or
documents. Added Web conferencing platforms of this blazon will no agnosticism be on the
As Web conferencing becomes added and added common, new developments will
inevitably arise, including, perhaps, committed curve that are consistently open,
improved, defended peer-to-peer admission and added Mac/PC web conferencing options.
With so abounding players on the field, it is acceptable that there will be a array of
divergent developments over the next few years.
This commodity on the “The History of Web Conferencing” reprinted with
Copyright © 2004-2005 Evaluseek Publishing.