Due to a random request from a customer at work, I was tasked with locating a free screen-share application to utilize for a single-use. There are several products out there that can provide video conferencing, media sharing, or initiate a remote desktop, but in the end, Cisco Webex captured my attention.
Cisco Webex is a secure and simple, yet feature-filled package of virtual meeting tools. Webex enables hosts and participants to communicate effectively using video with integrated voice and content sharing, remote support capabilities, real-time chat, presentation streaming, electronic hand-raising, and record and playback abilities.
The most attractive benefit of Cisco Webex is their company’s well-known cybersecurity prowess. Due to the sensitive information that might be passed during a screen-share event, I needed a program that had extensive security measures built-in. Cisco Webex offers consistent availability, scalable architecture, and multilayer tenant securing which is governed by audits such as ISO 27001 and SSAE-16.
While there are paid versions of Webex, I opted for the free install of the software. The download of the program was effortless and I was able to start a meeting with just a few mouse clicks. I have yet to try the video capabilities of Webex, however, all I really wanted was a safe method of showing a customer how to do something on one of our websites, remotely.
I also needed a product that our customers could easily use, without following too many steps. With Cisco Webex, I made a test meeting with my computer and the one next to me. I created a meeting on my computer, sent the email invite to the other one, accepted the invite, quickly installed the program, and then was immediately greeted with the meeting window. I noticed a bit of a delay in the screen-share feature, however, that can be expected as the delay is only noticeable if you can actually see both monitors at once, which I was able to do (due to the other computer’s close proximity).
By using the Cisco Webex Meetings app in Google G-Suite, I can schedule a Webex meeting directly on my Google Calendar and indicate whether the meeting will be in one of our conference rooms or on Webex; this makes adding participants to the meeting a breeze as our employees are already added into Gmail.
My only complaint with Webex so far was the difficulty I had trying to screen-share with the other computer; it might have been something I was doing wrong, but I had to swap the host of the meeting from one user to the next in order to have the screen-share icon useable. When I tried to screen share using the top-left menu, the screen-share selection under ‘Share’, was not clickable. I was, however, able to perform the action by using the icons at the bottom of the screen after swapping hosts; since I am only using the free plan of Webex, I didn’t put too much thought into the problem.
With the free plan, it is important to note that your meetings are limited to 40 minutes.
Below, are the steps involved in starting a Cisco Webex meeting and adding a participant. I have also included some general tips on how to use the interface to screen-share, record, and share files. I made the following tutorial for our employees to use; I train them on Webex later this morning.
If you haven’t used Webex before, I promise you won’t be disappointed; I am thoroughly impressed with the entire product.
How to Start a Webex Meeting Using The Desktop App
Open the Cisco Webex Meeting App.
Select ‘Start a Meeting.’
You will now enter your Personal Room.
From here. You can set up your audio/video equipment before you enter the room.
When ready, select ‘Start Meeting’.
Next, the meeting will begin.
To add participants, select ‘Participant’ at the top left of the window.
Next, from the drop-down menu, select ‘Invite and Remind.’
Now, enter the email addresses of the new participants, then click ‘Send.’
You can also use this screen to send a reminder to the participant for an upcoming meeting by selecting ‘Remind’ (clock icon).
Once the new participant receives the invitation, he/she will need to download the app and then join your meeting.
Meeting Screen Functions and Features
From the top left of the window, you will see File, Edit, Share, View, Audio, Participant, Meeting, and Help icons; using these drop-down menus, you can access a wide range of available tools and features, such as: open a poll or chat, share screens or files, record, and add participants (as mentioned before).
On the bottom of the screen, you will see multiple additional features and options; with these easy-to-use icons, you can quickly chat, add participants, upload files, share content, or end the meeting.
With this information, you should now be able to start a meeting, add participants, and access the many wonderful features included in Cisco Webex. For more information about the product, check out their website here. Enjoy!