To more planes, trains and automobiles. When a big
meeting is scheduled, rather than file into a conference
room, you may be more likely to see attendees duck into an
office, boot up their computers and log onto the
Indeed, in a high-speed world, the Internet is
connecting the aquatics industry more efficiently than the
travel industry, thanks to the introduction of Web-based
seminars, also dubbed ?Webinars.?
?Webinars are an effective way to reach a large
audience,? said Pam King, spokesperson for the
American Red Cross, which offers Webinars on a variety of
subjects, including a partnership with Aquatics
International on its new lifeguarding program.
More and more people are hopping online to experience
the virtual classroom and conference centers.
For attendees, it?s an alternative to booking
flights and hotels that saves time, money and effort, said
Tom Lilly, vice president of sales at Rain Drop Products,
LLC, in Ashland, Ohio. His company just launched live Web
classes for contractors, architects and operators of
interactive spray features. Rather than jetting all over
the country training clients, ?[Webinars] allow
on-demand training with groups that you couldn?t do
otherwise,? he added.
The program benefits all parties: It helps companies and
organizations reach out to customers and improve service,
and vice versa. In addition, the Webinars are broadening
people?s knowledge base. ?The information
can be downloaded and shared with others,? King
said. ?This makes the Webinar useful as a reference
source and an additional training tool for
Pool chemical manufacturer BioGuard operates
?Dealer Village,? a virtual networking
venue for its dealers and staff. The dealers can talk to
each other via video conferencing, which puts a personal
spin on the meeting, said Carl Dunn, program manager and
mayor of the BioGuard Dealer Village in Lawrenceville, Ga.
?What we?re trying to do is get them off
the phone and onto the Village totally so they
instant-message each other and share applications through
the system,? he said.
Webinars also connect employees within a company. Pool
Corp in Covington, La., offers ?Poolinars?
to link and train its employees at branches around the
country. Its live Webinars cover several customer service
topics, including ?Working with Upset
Customers? and ?Creating the Loyalty
Response.? BioGuard?s ?Village
School? also trains new employees for the job
through e-learning courses and quizzes.
Webinars create value, too. ?When you bring the
value of education [to people] more conveniently, they
respond to that more positively and bring more security to
the foundation or provider of that information,?
said Tom Lachocki, CEO of the National Swimming Pool
Foundation in Colorado Springs, Colo.
NSPF hosts eProAcademy, which offers courses in chemical
safety, workplace management, and portions of its Certified
Pool Operator online. Its seminars from the World Aquatic
Health Conference also can be viewed online for those who
couldn?t be there in person.
Of course, the Web is no substitute for an in-person
meeting. ?There?s still nothing more
powerful than having a conversation with partners and
customers,? Lachocki says. For that reason, many
companies and groups are trying to establish a blended
educational format. Part of the course would be taught
online, and the other part would require an on-site,
While Webinars will may never replace face-to-face
meetings, they could create a great complement to them,
industry members agreed. ?The conferences will
always have their training curriculum. I don?t see
[Webinars] being any challenge to that,? Lilly
said. ?But setting up individual trainings will
diminish when people see they can do just as well