Videoconferencing is a great way to communicate, but has always been limited to parties with videoconferencing equipment. That’s not true anymore. This month, MCI WorldCom Conferencing launches Conference Webcast, new streaming technology that enables professionals to broadcast videoconferences over the Internet…and more.

Businesses that want to extend the reach of their meetings over the Internet now have Conference Webcast, a new service that combines live and replay video streaming with multimedia content and interactive capabilities. Based on a history of proven technology and unparalleled technical support, Conference Webcast is the next step in the company’s efforts to provide businesses with a complete Cyber Meeting Place – a one-stop shop for busy professionals to conduct Web-based seminars, meetings and employee training.

Conference Webcast provides a one-to-many communications vehicle by broadcasting video content to a large, geographically dispersed audience over the Internet. Audience members do not need videoconferencing equipment to participate. Anyone with an Internet-connected computer and a properly configured Web browser can view a Conference Webcast.

"Businesses need technology that works for them and actually makes a difference," said Phillip D. Knell, president and general manager, MCI WorldCom Conferencing. "Conference Webcast is a cost-effective way for businesses to extend the reach of their meetings over the Internet by streaming their messages to hundreds of participants."

The Benifits of Video Streaming
By limiting the amount of bandwidth required, streaming media allows professionals to view video on the Web without having to wait for it to download completely onto a computer. In addition to delivering live and replay video streaming, Conference Webcast enables businesses to view presentation slides and conduct Web tours. Interactive capabilities, such as question-and-answer sessions and audience polling, create a rich and engaging experience for participants.

Because not all events are alike, professionals can choose between three levels of service for their Conference Webcast, each with a replay component:

Video streaming only
Basic service – video streaming plus presentation
Full Feature – the Basic offering plus the ability to conduct Web tours, interactive question-and-answer sessions and polling.

MCI WorldCom Conferencing also provides value-added event management. A trained meeting specialist can help hosts to plan, execute and evaluate their Conference Webcasts. Hosts also receive consultation about capacity and bandwidth, and online presentation tips. For added comfort, hosts can choose between two levels of security: Basic security provides participants with a general username and password, and Individual Authentication provides each participant with an individual username and password combination.

A Tool for All Your Business Applications
Conference Webcast enables businesses to improve internal and external corporate communications. For example, it can be used for marketing purposes, such as CyberSeminars, focus groups and market research; employee training and education; public relations and investor relations, including virtual press conferences, town hall meetings and earnings reports; and E-commerce applications and Web site launches.

"Marketing executives can launch new Web functionality and gain feedback from hundreds of their top external customers by hosting a live Conference Webcast that includes a Web tour and polling," said Knell. "In addition, a replay of the Webcast and tour can be posted on the customer’s Web site – exposing the message to thousands of people after the fact."

It's Easy
No additional encoding or decoding equipment or software is required to attend a Conference Webcast. Participants only need a computer, a standard Web browser and a LAN or dial-up Internet connection. They also need a streaming media player, such as Windows Media Play 6.4 or Real Player 6.1 and above. Conference Webcast uses Internet conference casting technologies from Akamai Technologies, Inc., a provider of global, high-performance services for the delivery of Internet content and streaming media.

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