Internet based conferencing eliminates the need of a physical meeting place. One can meet people, exchange information and data, and can share files and notes using electronic means. It also saves cost and increase efficiency of the system as a whole. Cisco recently saved more than $1 million on ISO-compliance training by using video-on-demand instead of in-person sessions (Jackson 2004).
All the internet conferencing products are inherently dependent upon the bandwidth, networking components and desktop hardware supporting them (McKenzie 2005). If the hardware and network lack necessary support features, internet based conferencing could be an effort in turmoil, and may cause loss of time, productivity, and revenue.
An electronic document or file is more vulnerable to unauthorized access. However, the latest software packages that provide internet conferencing facilities have features to provide assurance about the privacy and confidentiality of data. One low cost, and feature rich product is GoToMeeting by Citrix. In addition to the usual features for conferencing, the product offers high security and privacy to the potential customers. The users are provided capability to share only a specific application rather than entire desktop. It helps to make users more confident that they control the software, and not the other way around. Hence, it is similar to a face to face meeting where one can share specific information with other party without having to show the entire knowledgebase to others.
Confidentiality and Availability
To protect against tapping and data security breaches during transmission, GoToMeeting offers 128 bit encryption of all meeting data, and enforce strong end user authentication procedures. There are software, like Elluminates's server based software, which can detect dropout in audio due to a network glitch and can re-send the missing audio, speeding up the feed slightly until it catches up to the real-time feed. This allows minimal loss of information.
Reliability and Flow Control
For the purpose of internet based conferencing, the delivery and convertibility of data packets reaching to destination is very important and critical aspect of a good performance versus a failed session. This is the exact problem the Cisco was facing with regard to video streaming over IP to ensure end-to-end delivery of the video traffic. If each desktop isn't properly configured for video, there are no guarantees that a video feed will be delivered. The company solved this glitch by pushing out standard configurations to all sites that made it easier to handshake among varying protocols.
Jackson, K. 2004. Video IP Project Boosts Network's Profile: A Look at Cisco Media Network. Network Computing.com. Online. Available from Internet, http://www.networkcomputing.com/showitem.jhtmldocid=1508centerfold, accessed 12 March 2007.
McKenzie, M. Five Web Conferencing Packages: Not Just Conference Calls Anymore. Network Computing.com. Online. Available from Internet, http://www.networkcomputing.com/showArticle.jhtmlarticleID=174403432, accessed 12 March