• Easy to share documents
• Mobile conferencing app
• HD video
• Free plan available
• Dashboard is a little complicated to navigate
We think this is a comprehensive, reliable package for online conferencing and meetings, with a variety of tools and features on offer.
Cisco is one of the best-known names in web conferencing and as such the Cisco Webex system has a strong reputation. Millions of users are on Cisco Webex for sales demonstrations, presentations, conference calls and shared working. We looked at what Cisco has to offer in terms of online conferencing and meetings.
A small range of plans give you different options as to how you want to manage your web conferencing payments and account. All the Cisco Webex plans include unlimited meetings. The free plan – Basic Plan – allows three people to attend each meeting and comes with one host license. There is no HD video and 250 MB storage. The Premium 8 Plan is $24 per host/ month and is for up to eight people per meeting. This plan includes HD video and 1 GB storage. The Premium 25 Plan is $49 per host/ month for up to 25 people per meeting, nine host licenses, HD video and 1 GB storage.
As would be expected from an established web conferencing operator, Cisco Webex offers a number of different features to help your online conference go smoothly. The Meeting Spaces function allows everything concerning your meeting or conference to be grouped together, including the agenda, files and follow-up activities, and each invite links the participant to the space. Instant messaging is fixed into the Meeting Spaces function. Use a variety of sketch tools to mark up documents collectively, and post questions during the conference – the Cisco Webex online whiteboard is a useful tool for recording notes or having a brainstorming session online. The conferencing tools link with most popular file types, programs and browsers making it easy to work as a group from your PC. One valuable benefit is the mobile app for conferencing on Blackberry, iPhone and Android. This feature is particularly useful for busy execs and sales people that travel.
Starting with easy scheduling, the Cisco Webex system makes it simple for presenters to organise, manage and direct web conferences and meetings. You can set up a meeting from your Webex account or via the Outlook calendar. Once the meeting is up and running you choose to share your entire desktop with other participants, or choose files or applications to highlight. You can switch between PowerPoint, video, PDF, Word and other files as you go. You can change presenters if you want someone else in the group to showcase files or ideas. Features in the Premium Plans allow you to share one application while everything else is kept private and you can also let someone else in the meeting make edits on your PC or control your mouse.
Video & audio
Meeting attendees can have the meeting dial them – the Call Me feature means you don’t have to dial in, although there are toll-free numbers available for those that want to dial in (the Call Me feature is only available on the Premium service.) Otherwise you can connect to the meeting by VoIP using your computer – a cheaper option when compared to possible high call costs if you have attendees long distance or overseas. During the conference the person speaking is highlighted so you know who’s contributing to the meeting. Cisco Webex comes with a HD video capability and you can view up to seven participants simultaneously on your screen.
Cisco has a number of options for greater security including password-protect features. The product is delivered through the Cisco cloud and is fully encrypted for participants so meetings stay fully confidential and secure. When you use Cisco Webex you are protected from outside threats and also from data corruption. No one else will be able to see your content once it is shared within the online meeting.
Ease of use
This online conferencing service is relatively easy to use and comes with a streamlined dashboard and simple-to-understand features. While the Cisco Webex service is not the simplest application in the world – you’ll need to look over the tools and features a few times to be confident before hosting your first meeting – but it is not by any means difficult to understand.
Help & support
Live technical support is available with the Cisco Webex system and you can contact an operator by email or telephone if you need help with hosting a meeting or any technical aspects of the service. There are a variety of demo videos available on the website that take you through basic features and more advanced tools, including how to join a meeting and how to share files and applications. For hosts, there is online training and a series of packages available that take you through the entire application. Further support features include articles, some FAQs, downloads, and a KnowledgeBase.
Cisco provides an organised, comprehensive system for all your video conferencing and web conferencing needs. VoIP connections and HD video provide easy communication for a number of participants.
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