Screen Sharing.

Screen Sharing

Think of all the time and confu­sion that could have been saved in the past when PC support problems had to be explained over the phone. Wouldn’t it have been so much simpler if you could have shown the problem directly to the IT support tech­ni­cian? Natu­rally it would have made the technician’s job a lot easier as well. Screen Sharing is a network-based tech­no­logy that allows a user to transmit and share the desktop content from their computer screen on to the screens of other connected users. Anything that the presenter sees on their or any action they take, is then visible to the remote viewer on their own desktop in real-time.

This is used for much more than just remote assis­tance. Busi­nesses use screen sharing soft­ware for online meetings, trai­nings, web confe­ren­cing, sales demos, and other colla­bo­ra­tion purposes. It is a great way to have a busi­ness meeting without spen­ding the time and money involved with traveling.


Even though the tech­no­logy that allows users to remo­tely share their screen has existed for quite a long time, it was only in the last two decades or so that this tech­no­logy has gained major trac­tion in the corpo­rate envi­ron­ment due to the many bene­fits and its safety and ease of use. Screen sharing soft­ware as we know it today has evolved from basic remote log-in tech­no­logy to become a major compo­nent of how busi­nesses operate, and has changed the land­scape of how corpo­ra­tions all over the world operate. Screen sharing and remote desktop soft­ware have greatly contri­buted towards the deve­lo­p­ment of tele­com­mu­ting, web colla­bo­ra­tion, and remote support technologies.

Screen Sharing Technology

Screen sharing tech­no­logy enables us to share desktop content from our compu­ters in real-time over the Internet to other people. This includes sharing any appli­ca­tion from the presenter’s computer such as web brow­sers, docu­ments, spreadsheets, etc. Screen sharing is usually done through the use of a graphical terminal emulator (a program that emulates a video terminal through a shell or text terminal) that allows the other user or users to access the display of a computer and to see the contents of a user’s display the same way the original user does. Once the remote desktop connec­tion has been estab­lished, the user can choose to switch control of the remote computer, talk over VoIP, transfer files, access the white­board, chat between users, record the screen sharing, and colla­bo­rate in real time.

Screen sharing works by sending packets of infor­ma­tion from a host computer to one or more remote compu­ters while describing the contents of the screen at all times. This sort of tech­no­logy is known as Virtual Network Compu­ting or VNC. This client/server model usually takes place either through a stand-alone appli­ca­tion or a web-browser, and in a typical screen-sharing session, all keystrokes and mouse clicks are regis­tered as if the client were actually performing tasks on the end-user computer.

The first step in estab­li­shing a screen sharing session usually involves getting the client’s permis­sion to connect to the host. Once the client computer has been cleared, the remote connec­tion can be estab­lished through a native OS appli­ca­tion or a web browser. Tight corpo­rate network settings and fire­walls made it diffi­cult to estab­lish this connec­tion in the past, however the secu­rity issues involved with desktop sharing and screen-sharing have been drama­ti­cally reduced over the past years as screen sharing soft­ware has become more polished and secure.

Screen Sharing Applications

In the first para­graph, we high­lighted the bene­fits of screen sharing as a remote support solu­tion. Natu­rally the bene­fits of screen sharing go a lot further than a bit of remote pc support. Today a vast number of diffe­rent compa­nies and indus­tries are bene­fiting from the ease and func­tion­a­lity of screen sharing. Consider large corpo­ra­tions where colle­agues & clients are sepa­rated by state borders and oceans. Screen sharing is bene­fi­cial here for provi­ding an easy means to interact and colla­bo­rate toge­ther, despite being in distant loca­tions. Free­lance teachers are educa­ting their pupils quickly and effort­lessly by using screen sharing within distance lear­ning soft­ware. Like­wise for online social meeting places where users need that little some­thing extra to bring them closer toge­ther. Univer­sity students using screen sharing and meeting soft­ware to colla­bo­rate on a group project… and the list goes on. Below you will find details on the some of the main use cases and appli­ca­tions for screen sharing software.

Web Conferences and Training

Screen sharing soft­ware has become an important compo­nent of online confe­ren­cing, web semi­nars, and trai­ning due to the fact that it allows users to congre­gate over an internet connec­tion and present any appli­ca­tion to a distant audi­ence from any loca­tion. This tech­no­logy has been successfully and seam­lessly imple­mented in many compa­nies and govern­ment sectors as a cost-cutting measure due to its effec­ti­ve­ness as a trai­ning, colla­bo­ra­tion and support tool.

Compa­nies such as Apple, Intel and Hewlett-Packard have successfully imple­mented web confe­rences and web trai­ning into their envi­ron­ment as a means to reduce costs, going as far as redu­cing their trai­ning costs by 50 to 80%. Screen sharing soft­ware is espe­ci­ally effec­tive in corpo­rate envi­ron­ments for web confe­rences where the mode­rator can share his desktop with others who are atten­ding the confe­rence remo­tely. In a typical web confe­ren­cing scenario, multiple users can see the same screen at all times either through a stand-alone appli­ca­tion or a browser-based appli­ca­tion. Some of the features that are used in a typical web confe­rence may include chat­ting, VoIP (voice over IP), white­board, recor­ding, as well as other confe­ren­cing features.

Screen sharing soft­ware offers a valuable aid for compa­nies and orga­niza­tions when it comes to redu­cing trai­ning costs as it allows trai­ners and personnel to offer computer-based trai­ning over the internet to new hires, exis­ting employees and poten­tial candi­dates. This sort of trai­ning involves the crea­tion of content that is focused around one or several topics and then adapted for online audi­ences through the use of addi­tional multi-media content such as videos, images, charts, and recor­dings which can then during the online trai­ning. Instructor-led remote trai­ning consider­ably reduces the travel costs asso­ciated with tradi­tional lear­ning sessions while incre­asing employee produc­ti­vity. This type of trai­ning is highly-valued in the corpo­rate envi­ron­ment due to its conve­ni­ence to lear­ners and its ease of access. Another important feature of screen sharing soft­ware when it comes to online trai­ning and web confe­ren­cing is real-time anno­ta­ting of docu­ments. This allows teams to come toge­ther and edit docu­ments in real time, rather than sending the files back and forth via multiple emails. The real-time nature of such colla­bo­ra­tion is a strong benefit of screen sharing over several users editing files at diffe­rent times via online docu­ment manage­ment systems.

Finally, one of the most common appli­ca­tions of screen sharing soft­ware is presen­ta­tion sharing. This is when a presenter shares his screen to an indi­vi­dual or a group of users to display a slides-based presen­ta­tion (typi­cally Power­Point presen­ta­tions). This type of presen­ta­tion usually involves only one presenter and is more rest­ric­tive in terms of colla­bo­ra­tion and has become a core compo­nent of online meetings, web trai­ning, instructor-led trai­ning and seminars.

Remote Support

One of the most common appli­ca­tions in IT for screen sharing soft­ware is remote support. Remote support tools allow a tech­ni­cian, engi­neer, deve­loper or other trained indi­vi­duals to offer IT support over a network, thus elimi­na­ting the need for on-site visits. Screen sharing soft­ware and remote desktop soft­ware allows compa­nies to offer quick, cost-effec­tive and effi­cient support.

Remote support soft­ware offers IT depart­ments and compa­nies a prac­tical solu­tion for soft­ware trou­ble­shoo­ting, virus removal, soft­ware updating, file transfer and computer clean-up amongst many other applications.

Although some concerns about privacy do exist when it comes to screen sharing for remote support purposes, screen sharing soft­ware allows the user to regain control of his computer if needed. In fact, it is common place nowa­days for the ulti­mate control to always remain within the hands of the client. Secu­rity measures are high and the client always main­tains full control over the IT technician.

Real-Time Collaboration

Real-time colla­bo­ra­tion refers to when compa­nies and groups meet online via screen sharing soft­ware to create, share and edit content pertai­ning to team projects over an internet connec­tion. This umbrella term can also be used to describe the group of web, social and soft­ware tools that are used to improve the effi­ci­ency of tasks, customer satis­fac­tion, corpo­rate commu­ni­ca­tion and increased sales and is an overall compo­nent of unified communications.

The use of screen-sharing soft­ware for real-time colla­bo­ra­tion is espe­ci­ally important for teams that need to work toge­ther in a project but are unable to meet physi­cally. Examples include, soft­ware deve­lo­pers and testers, graphic design and marke­ting teams, or sales teams and educa­tors. This sort of colla­bo­ra­tion (also known as web colla­bo­ra­tion) allows members of a team or company to come toge­ther and work on a project at the same time thus elimi­na­ting the need for on-site and face-to-face meetings.

Sales Demos and Software Trials

The use of screen sharing soft­ware amongst soft­ware sales teams has become an effi­cient way of show­ca­sing soft­ware (as well as other products/services) to a poten­tial client who wishes to test soft­ware before a poten­tial purchase. A remote sales demo offers a cost-effi­cient method to commu­ni­cate the func­tion­a­lity and features of soft­ware in hopes of closing a sales deal faster than an on-site visit would enable. Screen sharing soft­ware can be used to commu­ni­cate with a sales repre­sen­ta­tive and to assess the needs of a client as well as to try the product itself. In the past, the only way to effec­tively demo a product was face to face. However, with the popu­la­riza­tion of screen sharing soft­ware, sales teams now have a way to quickly show­case their product while keeping costs low.

Some of the other use cases commonly asso­ciated with screen sharing soft­ware such as online meetings, web presen­ta­tions and web colla­bo­ra­tion are an important compo­nent of making sales demos today. The pros­pec­tive client is able to express his ques­tions or concerns while looking at the soft­ware, thus crea­ting the perfect envi­ron­ment for both the sales person and the poten­tial client.


One of the most cited concerns when it comes to screen sharing soft­ware is secu­rity. While there have been a few noted cases where exploits in screen-sharing and remoted desktop appli­ca­tions have been abused, the deve­lo­p­ment of new browser-based screen sharing solu­tions elimi­nates most of these secu­rity and private concerns due to the limited amount of tasks that can be performed without the administrator’s consent.

Another problem that seems to have disap­peared as screen-sharing tech­no­lo­gies continue to evolve is the diffi­culty and skill-level required to remo­tely access another computer. Corpo­rate network settings and fire­walls made it diffi­cult in the past to connect to another computer. Today, soft­ware deve­lo­p­ment has allowed for the crea­tion of easy-to-use, yet safe and private solu­tions when it comes to acces­sing another computer’s screen. Most screen-sharing appli­ca­tions nowa­days allow the user to quickly regain control of his desktop in case the control is granted to one of the remote users. The fact that both parties can see the files being mani­pu­lated have also helped elimi­nate most of the privacy concerns, espe­ci­ally when it comes to company private data and insider information.

As stated above, these concerns have been mostly dismissed in recent years due to the advance­ment of anti-malware tech­no­logy and the overall increase of aware­ness of the average computer user. Nowa­days, compa­nies all over the world rely on screen-sharing soft­ware to grow their busi­nesses, pros­pect new sales oppor­tu­ni­ties, colla­bo­rate toge­ther on new projects and to conduct their online meetings.

Regard­less of the use case or appli­ca­tion, whether you’re a regular computer green­horn or an expe­ri­ence host of online meetings, today screen sharing is considered to be an easy-to-use solu­tion within the online colla­bo­ra­tion world. Follo­wing a quick and pain­less down­load (usually just a couple of mega­bytes), users are ready to use the screen sharing soft­ware and host their first remote support session or web confe­rence within minutes.