History of Web Conferencing — Multi-function Conferencing Comes of Age

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 … Continue reading “History of Web Conferencing — Multi-function Conferencing Comes of Age”

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


PLATO’s birth

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

connections. .

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


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