PROS / During testing, this service offered the best performance and usability.
CONS / Whether you are presenting or attending a webcast, you must download an add-on.
VERDICT / Cisco WebEx Event Center is feature rich, especially in lead-generation tools, and has a simple, high-quality webcasting platform.
Cisco WebEx Event Center is one of the best webcasting services we reviewed. It offers a full range of excellent features and a worldwide network of data centers to ensure a high-quality broadcast. While it lacks a couple of useful features, like social media integration, it nonetheless makes it easy to create and host a successful webcast. Thus, it earns our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award.
This site is customizable. You can brand it to your company, move or change windows to match your webcast's purpose, and prepare a waiting area with documents or videos for your attendees to watch. This webcasting platform is mobile-friendly, so attendees can participate from a phone or tablet as well as with videoconferencing tools. This makes it easier for you to not only create and present your webcast but also for your audience to view it wherever they are.
WebEx fully integrates with Microsoft Outlook to make scheduling and inviting people easy if you have the contact information on that program. Otherwise, you can invite people from the WebEx software itself. In addition to the invitation, you can program reminder emails and follow-up emails. The service allows you to fully customize the emails you send to attendees.
During testing, we found that this service was among one of the easiest to use as both a presenter and an attendee. From creating a meeting using a pre-made template to sending out bulk invitations, this service offers an intuitive dashboard that helps you customize every aspect of your meeting. While you have to download an add-on to join the meeting as either a presenter or attendee, we found the service offered superior performance and minimal lag.
Cisco WebEx allows you to record the session and rebroadcast it later. It also has downloadable editing tools so you can cut out sections you don't want, like the side conversations before and after the information is presented or times the discussion got off topic. This is common with webcasting services, but WebEx also allows you to send a transcript of the chat conversation to the attendees, a feature we didn't find with other webinar services. Another great feature of Cisco WebEx is its global network of data centers, which help make your broadcasts clear.
Cisco WebEx offers secure encryption and optional passwords for confidential webcasts, such as company-wide town halls or exclusive presentations for valued customers. You also have the option of presenting webcasts that are open to the public and news media if you choose.
We found the setup method more tedious than many of the other programs on the lineup. This service requires you to download applications whether you are hosting, attending or even viewing a recording of the webcast. Although, once the program is installed, this service offers high functionality with its numerous presentation tools.
You can stream up to eight videos at a time. To allow webcam transmissions, however, you need to invite the person as a presenter rather than an attendee. You can promote people to presenter status, but they won't have webcam ability.
Presenters have many options for presentation in addition to the usual uploading of PowerPoint slides. They can share applications from their computer, which differs from screen share in that it limits what the audience sees to just that application, rather than the presenter's entire desktop. You can choose to either share your desktop or a specific application depending on the needs of the audience. During the presentation, you can see your slides before sharing them with audience, a useful feature because you can change your presentation as you go to meet your audience's interests without them seeing you skip over slides.
This webinar software can translate the chat portion into several languages, including Portuguese, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean and South American Spanish. The Microsoft Windows version also translates into Dutch, Russian and European Spanish. If your company has offices or clients in other countries, this makes it easier for them to use the software and for you to expand your reach.
In addition to VoIP, Cisco allows phone-ins at no extra charge, unless you want to select a toll-free option and pay for the attendee's calls. Not all services include teleconferencing bridges. Regardless of how attendees call in, whether by VoIP or phone, presenters have the ability to moderate. You can either mute or remove unruly attendees that are distracting the rest of the audience from the webinar.
Cisco WebEx moderator features help you keep control of your webcast so that everyone is heard. With the Q&A tool, you can look at questions privately and decide if you want to share them with the rest of the viewers. If you elect not to answer a question, you can program a standard message for the questioner to see, a courtesy not found in every webcasting platform that offered question screening. In addition, you and anyone on your team who is part of the presentation can chat privately.
For large webcasts or ones where you'd like some outside assistance moderating, Cisco has professionals who can help you set up and run your webcast. The company charges an extra fee for this. For webcasting, Cisco can also provide live-event support, pre-event testing, and video production and editing. Plus, the company can provide post-event services, like reporting, video editing and help with archiving.
This webcast service has multiple features for customer management and lead generation. It can integrate with CRM software and lead-generation tools. The reports track attendance and attendee interest. This can help you identify which attendees your sales department should contact for follow-up. The registration function has a unique feature that grades responses to identify the most promising leads.
Within the webcast itself, you have the option to change the template and logos to brand your site. Additionally, you can add a redirect link so that as people leave the seminar, they are sent to a URL of your choice, such as a survey or product page. The survey function can also serve as a testing feature in case you are conducting training.
One drawback of this software is that it does not process webcast payments. WebEx offers a different plan with a collect-payment option, however.
Help & Support
Cisco WebEx offers the standard email and 24/7 telephone support as well as live chat. We found that the technical support team was quick to respond to our inquiries and offered helpful responses.
Technicians can diagnose your webcast from the backend and work with you to solve any problems. In addition to online videos that teach you how to use the features, this company offers advanced training and live training for your company's presenters. Cisco even offers videos specifically for attendees, a great feature as you don't have to spend your webcast acquainting your attendees with the software.
Cisco's large, dedicated network and the webcasting platform's flexibility of features make it a top webcasting software. Its lead-generation features are some of the best, and the webcasting software is easy to use. While it lacks payment capability with this particular plan, it's still one of the best webcasting services.