In most cases, a meeting moderator invites attendees, who can then log in to a meeting. Depending on the capabilities of the software and the number of participants, individual participants may be able to see one another and ask questions, or otherwise interact with other participants. In other situations, participants may just be observers. Some variations of web conferencing provide a separate telephone conferencing connection to let participants ask questions after a presentation.
Typically, features of a web conference may include:
- Streaming Video, usually using a camera built into the user's computer, tablet or phone
- PowerPoint Presentations, either prepared in advance or created in real-time
- VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol), to allow real-time voice communication over device speakers or headphone connections rather than over the phone
- Web "Tours," in which multiple participants are pushed to password-protected websites without each individual having to log in
- Presentation Recording for later viewing, listening or distribution
- Follow-Up Reports, which can be generated after a meeting and may include the number of attendees, duration of the meeting, Q&A transcripts and survey results
- Virtual Whiteboard, which allows multiple participants to annotate text or drawings on a shared image or blank slate
- Text-based Chat, which may be public (between all participants) or private (designated participants only)
- Desktop/Screen Sharing, which allows participants to view the moderator's computer screen (better applications provide options to conceal personal items and confidential data from shared viewing)
- Remote Control, an option that allows a remote participant to take control of the moderator's computer. This feature has revolutionized tech support, allowing technicians to take control of a person's computer to make repairs
- Polls/Surveys, which offer participants multiple-choice questions, and can instantly display results
- Custom URL, a designated web address that serves as a company's "virtual meeting room"
- Customized Branding, so that the web-conferencing portal contains the company's logo and color scheme
Web conferencing may be offered as a stand-alone solution or as a component of an integrated voice and telephone system (called a unified communications system).