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The free version of Lotus Sametime Unyte Share can be downloaded from http://www.unyte.net/download/index.php. This product will permit a one to one sharing of two computers over the internet. So, a presenter can share the applications on his desktop with an audience computer located at the user group meeting, some distance from the presenter. The audience computer can see all of the applications running on the presenter computer, so that a PowerPoint slide set, a software demonstration, and other application screens on the presenter computer can be seen on the audience computer. Thus, the presentation slides or software demos do not have to be sent to and installed on the audience computer in advance of the meeting. These remain on the presenterís computer when he simply projects them over the internet to the audience computer.
Voice communication between the two computers is handled by Skype and it interfaces smoothly with Unyte. Skype can be downloaded from http://skype.softwarecenterz.com/ at no charge. So, the presenter can give his presentation comments using Skype and be heard by the audience. At the same time, any presentation slides or software demonstrated on his computer can be seen on the audience computer with the Unyte tie-in to Skype. The combination of these two free products can be used to present and receive a remote webinar to the user group.
Both the presenter computer and the audience computer need to have Skype and Unyte installed on them before the webinar begins. The presenter may wish to upgrade to Unyte Plus for a small fee of $30 per year. By doing this, the presenter gains some valuable additional features in Unyte to help in giving the presentation. He gains the ability to show just selected applications instead of his entire desktop. He also can use his mouse as a pointer to point to items on the audience screen or even to annotate certain items. He can also schedule his presentations in advance so that the user can join the presentation when they are ready. It also gives the presenter remote control over the audience computer if he is offering remote assistance on that machine. But, that is another topic we wonít cover here. The audience computer can actually use any browser to see the remote presentation, but by using Unyte on the audience computer, the performance of the webinar is improved. I would recommend the $30 upgrade for the presenter and the use of Unyte on the audience computer to give the best webinar setup.
Getting ready for the webinar is simple and easy to do. The presenter must install Skype and Unyte (Plus preferred) on his computer. He also needs to have his slide presentation ready to show and any software installed that he wishes to demonstrate. A high quality webcam on his computer will permit him to show his friendly face to the audience. This will help to make the remote presentation more personal. Of course, the most important item he needs is to be connected to high speed internet access. The audience computer also needs to have Skype and Unyte (not Plus) install on it prior to the meeting. The audience computer needs to be connected to a video projector so that the screen content can be shown to a larger audience. A microphone to pick up the presenters voice from the computer and broadcast that to the audience will be needed in most cases. A webcam should also be attached to the audience computer so that the presenter can see the audience and hear individual questions from the audience. Again, having high speed internet connection on the audience computer is also very important.
It is very advisable that a test trial of the webinar be conducted a few days before the actual meeting. This will test out all of the equipment and software used to make sure that everything is working properly. It is also a chance for the presenter and the user group computer operator to become familiar with how to start and run the webinar from each end. This experience will help them to know what to do in case of problems in doing the webinar. If some things are not working smoothly at the test trial, it gives the presenter and user group operator a chance to correct things before the meeting. On the meeting night, about an hour before the presentation, the computers should be set up and connected to make sure all is still running correctly for the meeting. A little bit of advance testing will prevent embarrassing problems when the webinar begins. If problems show up during the webinar, the presenter and operator must get the show going again as quickly as possible. Hopefully, this will not happen at your webinar.
Detailed instructions on how to download and setup Skype and Unyte and what settings to select in each of them to do the best webinar can be found on my web site at www.ugr.com/newsletters.html. If you have questions about the use of these products in doing remote presentations to user groups, send me a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will try to assist you.