Web Conferencing and Video Conferencing Difference

Alina Krukova
March 28, 2016
Alina Krukova
Categories: Reviews

Very often video conferencing and web conferencing are seen as the same technology under different names. However, that’s not the case. Though the difference between these notions is rather vague, we will share all nuances today.

Web Conferencing vs Video Conferencing

Businessteam listening to manager in a video conferenceWeb Conference is a real-time online event based on audio or video communication with essential content sharing t.i. presentation slides. The entrance point is always a web browser and a link to an event. Endpoints are usually represented by a web browser itself (using WebRTC technology) or third-party plug-ins and applications which automatically connect to an event after the installation. The second name for a web conference is webinar.

Young Businessman Video Conferencing On Desk With Multiple ComputersVideo Conference is a full-duplex real time audio / video communication session between two or more remote participants. Participants to the conference can see and hear each other according to rules defined by a video conference mode. Users can also exchange various media assets (content).

Video conferencing systems require installation of special client applications or equipment, can work without any Internet connection and always require a server which controls multipoint video conferencing sessions. Depending on the system’s capabilities, users can organize various types of conferences including webinars (web conferences).

Feature Web Conferencing Video Conferencing
Main objective Content sharing. Live communication.
Internet connection Mandatory. Optional.
Confidentiality Low. Authorization is often not required; link access. High. Requires authorization or physical access to an endpoint.
Security This requirement is irrelevant for webinars.
Number of Speakers Usually 1, rarely more than 2 people simultaneously. Limited only by the video conferencing server’s capacity.
Number of Viewers Unlimited. Usually limited by the video conferencing server’s capacity.
Video quality of Speakers Up to 460p (SD quality). VIdeo is optional. Up to 4К UltraHD.
Feedback options Chat only. Audio and video.
Using in conference room Only from laptop or desktop computer. Can be used with a dedicated endpoint.
Integration with corporate tools / systems Only with calendars. Can be integrated with virtually any system.
Area of application Distance education, presentations, trainings. Occasional and regular meetings, negotiations, discussions.

Video conferencing can be organized both via the Internet or within a local network of a company. The deployment requires minimal set of equipment: PC, camera, and microphone. You can expand your system’s capabilities by using high-quality cameras, speakerphones, and thanks to additional features from software video conferencing solutions (like third-party endpoint integration, telephony, video surveillance, etc.).

What is Video Conferencing

For web conferencing an Internet connection is essential since its main purpose is to offer an access to the event from any place, t.i. from any browser. Most often web conferencing platforms are various cloud services, but sometimes such conferences are organized on on-premises enterprise platforms with external access option enabled. Such services usually have a broad set of features, they support collaboration tools, telephony, recording, participant registration and even special ‘green rooms’ for testing the event before going ‘online’:

Young Businesswoman Video Conferencing On Computer In Office

Most often web conferencing is used to show presentations and for distance learning. Webinars fit great for organizing online events which do not require live feedback from the audience. Webinars are used for broadcasting the speaker to a wide audience. There can be several speakers and feedback is usually limited to Instant Messaging.
Video conferencing can substitute business trips for its users. You can create large-scale conferences with many participants. If you want to host a business meeting, corporate discussion or a seminar with live feedback from all the company’s employees, a webinar should not be your choice since video conferencing is a superior instrument for such activities:

Web conferencing is fairly easy to use since there is no required authorization and all you need is a web browser. To participate in the event a user should only have a link and enter his/her name which does not require validation since the administrator does not create user accounts beforehand.

Video conferencing system is curated by an administrator who creates user accounts for every user. To participate in a video conference organized on the server it is necessary to log in to a client application with credentials provided by the administrator. However, if a conference is public, you can connect to it via WebRTC by only entering your name or nickname. Sometimes the capabilities of suc ‘guest’ users are limited. E.g. they cannot send their audio or video into the conference or send text messages.