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How Much Do Web Conferencing Services Cost?

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Web Conferencing Service Prices

Web conferencing services allow groups of people in different offices - even across the world - to interact as if they're in the same room. Hold collaborative meetings where you chat back and forth, share files, and simultaneously browse the same websites. All you need is a computer, an internet connection, and a phone line.

Online web conferencing is essentially video conferencing over the Internet. But, unlike traditional video conferencing, there's no expensive equipment to buy. Web conferencing systems operate through a web application or an application that can be downloaded directly to your computer.

Collaboration is one of the greatest benefits web conferencing services provide. Unlike webcasting, in which one person presents to many, web conferencing allows participants to join in on the conversation. Because of this, it's ideal for smaller groups that require input from everyone participating in the conference.

Web Conferencing Average Costs

Some webconferencing services charge a per-minute fee for each participant; others charge a flat monthly rate for a set number of participants. Many services offer both types of plans, allowing you to choose the pricing plan that is most economical based on how many people will use the service and how often you need it.

Per-minute fees range from 15 cents to 50 cents per user. The average is probably closer to 35 cents per minute. Monthly fees range from $50 to $200, depending on the number of participants. However, large enterprises with more complex needs and a large group of users will pay significantly more - up to $3,000.

Sample Costs

  • Adobe Contact 8 charges $55 per month or $540 per year. Pay-per-use plans are also offered at a rate of 32 cents per minute for each user.
  • Microsoft Office Live Meeting charges $4.50 a month per user for the standard version. The professional version costs $16 a month per user. So if you have 100 participants using the professional version, the total monthly bill will be $1,600.

There are a few extras that could add to the overall price. If your computers don't have web cams, you might want to purchase them. Web cams are relatively inexpensive - a basic camera runs anywhere from $25 to $100. If you opt to have the conference recorded, plan on spending an extra $50 to $300.

Choosing a Web Conferencing Service

The first step in choosing an online web conferencing service is to figure out what you'll be using the service for and how often. Does the whole company need to use the service or just one department? How many people will use it at one time? Will you schedule web conferences in advance or do you need to be able to call impromptu meetings?

The second step is deciding on features. Do you need screen sharing capabilities? Text chat? Whiteboarding? Maybe all three? Most of those features will be included in web conferencing services, but some features are priced separately. Be sure to ask for a list of features that are included before committing.

It's also important to consider what's most important to you: price, quality, security, features, or ease of use. Not surprisingly, lower priced web conferencing services have fewer features. Services with a wide variety of features, while offering greater functionality, can be harder to use

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