Group (multi-point) video conference

Group or multi-point video conference is a video conferencing session, which provides simultaneous participation for several remote users, unlike a point-to-point personal conference, which supports two endpoints only. During a group video conference session users are able to not only see and hear each other, but also to share data and use collaboration tools to work with documents. The purpose of multipoint video conferencing is to allow participants who are unable to attend the meeting in person to take part in it remotely.

Group video conferences allow business partners to collaborate on developing new projects; students are able to attend training seminars and lectures remotely; and doctors can advise their patients, as well as upgrade their skills in virtual conferences and symposia. Group video conferences can be symmetric and asymmetric. In symmetric video conferences participants interact with each other fully: they all see and hear each other, having the ability to communicate. Video conferences, in which there is no communication between some of the participants, are called asymmetric. Typically, symmetric video conferences hold up to several dozens of participants, while asymmetric conferences may involve up to a hundred or more remote users.

There are three types of asymmetric video conferences: teleconferences or virtual meetings, video lectures (video seminars) and video broadcasting.

Apart from the equipment itself video conferencing room presupposes a certain set of furniture, inside décor elements (at the telepresence level) and illumination system.

During a virtual meeting (role-based conference) the audience is divided between those who are engaged in two-way communication (they can see, hear and speak at the same time - as a rule these include the host of the video conference and several speakers assigned by him/her) and those who can only see and hear the speakers.

Video Lecture is a video conferencing session, which involves more interaction between a speaker and a few listeners. In contrast to the virtual meeting mode, where speaker broadcasts to a wide audience while not being able to see and hear the other participants, in the video lecture mode it is possible to do so. Students, in turn, can see only the lecturer and are not able to communicate with each other.

During a real-time video broadcasting session it is not necessary to receive feedback, as the main task of the speaker is to inform the audience and clearly communicate the main point. Since broadcasting does not imply real-time feedback, the image can be late for a few seconds for the remote participants.