Video conferencing (or Video Teleconferencing) is when a set of telecommunication technologies makes it possible for two or more locations to communicate by simultaneous two-way video and audio transmissions. Think increased productivity, improved collaboration and strengthened overall communication between off-site staff, travelling employees, cross-border guest lecturers and cross-team/cross-country brainstorming sessions.
Video conferencing means using computers to provide a video-link between two or more people. Instead of just communicating by telephone, you are able to see them as well. This may also be referred to as ‘visual collaboration’ and is a type of groupware.
There are various options available to you under the VC umbrella, to suit most budgets and to cater for all from SME’s to large business alike.
Telepresence most closely simulates a live meeting. Large screens are mounted on the wall or above conference tables, displaying people at life size. Similar furniture, directional acoustics and cameras mounted at eye level make it seem as though participants are sitting around the same table, eye-to-eye with one another.
A few sophisticated systems even incorporate 3D and holographic images with virtually invisible screens thereby creating a highly ‘immersive’ experience. Because of the complexity involved, a telepresence VC system is best professionally installed and routinely maintained.
Room-based Video Conferencing systems include large screens that are fixed to the wall in a meeting room. Alternatively, screens can be mounted on carts that may be moved to where they are needed.
Desktop Video Conferencing resides on desktop computers and laptops, and possibly devices such as IP phones for individual use. Scalable desktop video conferencing depends on a reliable network, bandwidth and links. As technology advances, most vendors specializing in this type of VC are often extending their product reach to include mobile video conferencing.
Hybrid Video Conferencing systems combine elements of multiple types of VC. Telepresence and room-based conferencing often overlap and can be used differently depending on the environment. A typical hybrid VC setup could provide an integrated system in which diverse business applications or user groups in an organization could utilize different VC equipment or software, based on their needs.
Service-based Video Conferencing is a fully managed product often available from telecom carriers, who operate and maintain the underlying network infrastructure. You may also purchase subscriptions to Web-based video conferencing such as our own fully-supported in-house service, MeetMe.
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