Webinars are live, web-based video conferences. The audience is watching and listening to the webinar online and can view from anywhere in the world (so long as they have an internet connection). They started off as basic video conferences and have now evolved into a tool that can connect people anywhere, anytime. Webinars can be used to engage with customers and sell products and services. Additionally, they can be used as training tools for employees, especially those who work remotely. Unlike online conferences where all participants are allowed to present, webinars typically have one presenter and everyone watching and listening is the audience.
Webinars and other virtual events are unique in that they allow audience interaction. They are a convenient tool since people don’t have to travel to attend the event. For this reason, webinars are becoming more and more popular in a wide number of fields, from the corporate world to elite universities.
Webinars: Then and Now
Web conferencing began in the 1990s. The software allowed users to communicate with international clients and allowed all participants to interact in real-time. The first webinar software came out around the same time. It allowed users to give a presentation that could be viewed by attendees around the world. It was the first multimedia, interactive online platform. The world’s first live-streaming rock concert was given in 1993 by the band Severe Tire Damage.
From basic online conferences, webinars have evolved into high-tech events. There are many uses for an online platform including virtual trade shows, online events used for showcasing new products, and even online classes or training programs. There are different types of online webinar software to choose from, so it’s important to find one that works best for your needs.
The Future of Webinars
With the convenience of being able to use an online platform to reach anyone, anywhere, and at any time, webinars and other online events are expected to continue to gain popularity. MPI’s Meetings Outlook Summer 2017 report states that virtual event attendance is predicted to grow 2.4% in the years to come. Technology is making it easier to put together an interesting online presentation that uses graphics and photos to keep the audience intrigued and engaged.
It’s also expected that more companies will use 10-15 minute webinars rather than hour-long ones to allow the audience to get the information more quickly. Webinars are also expected to become even more interactive. Along with the usual QandA session, polls, surveys, and group chats will be used more frequently.
With today’s ever-growing technology, who knows where webinars and other virtual events will end up. But for now, they continue to be an excellent tool for customer service, training, and product launches, and so much more.