A hands-on review of webinar tools
As part of a project to design a social media webinar, we needed to select the right tool to deliver this service.
There are a lot of webinar and teleconferencing tools available, but we needed a simple, low bandwidth, easy-to-install tool which ran on any browser or platform.
Our basic criteria for the webinar tool were:
- Video and audio served through the browser
- Support of up to 20 participants
- Easy switching between multiple presenters
- Option for having numerous presenter/participant videos (webcam feeds) on-screen at one time
- Interactivity for participants: chat, desktop sharing, PowerPoint presentation, video
- Minimum plug-in installation, compatible with all browsers, across platforms, using a limited Internet bandwidth
- Ability to record the webinar
- Mobile access
- Possibility to integrate additional interactivity: whiteboard, polls,..
Samuel Stacey and I ran a comparative study of eleven webinar tools. We shortlisted four tools which we tested with a large group of field-based volunteers in Europe, Africa and Asia.
At the end of the process, BlueJeans was identified as the best webinar delivery platform, which could also be used as a web conferencing tool.
Here is the full evaluation report, downloadable via Slideshare:
The first two social media webinars, using Bluejeans, were delivered in a common project by CIFOR and CGIAR Shared Services to the ASEAN Social Forestry Network (ASFN) and CGIAR staff in 2014, as part of the run-up to the Forests Asia conference.