Real-time text chat facilities such as IRC appeared in the late 1980s. Web-based chat and instant messaging software appeared in the mid-1990s. The PLATO computer learning system allowed students to collaborate on networked computers to accomplish learning tasks as early as the 1960s, but the early networking was not accomplished via the World Wide Web and PLATO's collaborative goals were not consistent with the presenter-audience dynamic typical of web conferencing systems.[8] PLATO II, in 1961, featured two users at once.[9]
In April 1999, Vstream introduced the Netcall product for web conferencing as "a fee-based Internet software utility that lets you send business presentations and other graphic information via e-mail to a Vstream server. Vstream converts the content, again using streaming technology, and makes the presentation available for viewing by up to 1,200 people at a time."[28] Vstream changed the company name to Evoke Communications in 2000, with a further change to Raindance Communications in 2002. In February 2006, Raindance was acquired by the InterCall division of West Corporation.
Web conferencing software is invoked by all participants in a web meeting. Some technologies include software and functionality that differs for presenters and attendees. Software may run as a web browser application (often relying on Adobe Flash, Java, or WebRTC to provide the operational platform). Other web conferencing technologies require download and installation of software on each participant's computer, which is invoked as a local application. Many web conferencing vendors provide the central connectivity and provisioning of meeting "ports" or "seats" as a hosted web service, while others allow the web conference host to install and run the software on its own local servers. Another installation option from certain vendors allows for use of a proprietary computer appliance that is installed at the hosting company's physical location.
Rather than the 7% or so fee investment banks may charge for flying planeloads of investment bankers around the world, companies like Slack can simply hold a webinar. — Michael J. Coren, Quartz, "After Slack, the IPO market might never be the same," 19 June 2019 Emily's List: An organization dedicated to electing prochoice Democratic women to office by guiding women through their campaigns from start to finish, with trainings, webinars, and volunteer support. — Glamour, "Here’s How You Can Help Women in States With Extreme Abortion Bans Right Now," 15 May 2019 The Liquor and Cannabis Board plans to hold a webinar on October 16 to address questions about its reevaluation of edibles. — Heidi Groover, The Seattle Times, "Washington to ‘reevaluate’ marijuana edibles, crack down on products that might appeal to kids," 5 Oct. 2018 The initial program ran for 12 weeks, with three in-person gatherings in New York, in Austin, Texas, and at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., as well as weekly webinars and weekly individual training sessions with each publisher. — Lukas I. Alpert, WSJ, "Facebook Gives Local Newspapers Tips on How to Boost Subscriptions," 2 Aug. 2018 Correction: This story has been updated to reflect FMCA’s planned webinars are on social media training and video recording. — Maria Elena Vizcaino, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Florida League of Cities launches organization for local government spokespeople," 26 June 2018 Those looking to ditch their day jobs and start an online business that’s more than a side hustle can tune into a webinar with Regina Renaye, who founded her own virtual assistant business, Anywhere Admin. — Margeaux Sippell, BostonGlobe.com, "Weekend business agenda," 29 June 2018 The proceedings will appear via webinar at https://alabamadcnr.adobeconnect.com/redsnapperconference . — Frank Sargeant, AL.com, "White bass, wild turkeys and red snapper in the outdoor news," 21 Mar. 2018 Those looking to get started in the real estate business, even with no prior knowledge, are invited to log in to a webinar on how to make money in real estate investing. — Margeaux Sippell, BostonGlobe.com, "Weekend business agenda," 7 June 2018
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