Like the other kinds of desktop sharing we've discussed in this article -- remote login, real-time collaboration and presentation sharing -- application sharing relies on the same basic screen-sharing technology. Application sharing uses the Internet to remotely view and control a particular software application on someone else's computer.
The greatest benefit of application sharing is that a remote user can run software that isn't installed on his computer, even software that isn't compatible with his operating system or that requires much more processing power than his computer can usually handle. This is because the remote user isn't actually running the software on his computer, he's just viewing and controlling the desktop (and therefore the software) of the host computer.
For example, an architect wants to present his designs for a large apartment building to his firm's partners. One of the partners is on vacation in the Bahamas and only has his old laptop computer with him. The architectural plans were created with a sophisticated computer aided design (CAD) program that requires a lot of processing power -- too much for the vacationing partner's little laptop. With application sharing, the architect can share his desktop with the partner and the partner can work with the CAD software remotely, never having to run the application on his laptop.
Application sharing is particularly useful for software salesmen and representatives. Traditionally, the only way for potential clients to test drive a software application was for the salesmen to travel to the client or for the client to attend a large trade show. But with application sharing, the salesmen can set up virtual sales appointments with the potential clients. Not only can he make his pitch with an engaging Web presentation, but he can hand over desktop controls to the client so the client can experience the software for himself.
For lots more information about desktop sharing and related topics, check out the links on the next page.