There are many definitions of the term videoconference. We will discuss only some of them.
A videoconference is a set of interactive telecommunication technologies which allow two or more locations to interact via two-way video and audio transmissions simultaneously, using their PCs (data transmission) irrespective of the distance" (Wikipedia).
A videoconference is a way of holding meetings and discussions among the groups of remote users with on-line image transmission" (Explanatory dictionary of Internet terms).
A videoconference> is a meeting, methodological session or a discussion between people located in different places and using video technology as the main communication channel. Thereby two-way sound and one- or two-way video is provided" (Wikipedia).
It should be clear from above definitions, they all have one thing in common – they explain videoconferencing as one of the ways of communication which allow groups of people to communicate by exchanging images and sound among all or some of the participants.
What are the Advantages of Communication via Videoconferencing?
- In terms of a psychological effect there are more sense involved during a videoconference than during a regular telephone conversation. Among hearing, there is a vision, which allows participants to understand each other better through gestures and mimics;
- In terms of economy it is possible to a videoconference without forcing every participant of it to leave their workplace, which directly affects transportation and other related costs;
- In terms of convenience videoconferencing is an easy and affordable alternative to a telephone solutions.
Types of Videoconferences
There are four major types of videoconferencing: a point-to-point videoconference, group (or multi-point) videoconference, video meeting and a web-conference.
A point-to-point videoconference is the most common type of videoconferencing, which allows both participants to see and hear each other as well as exchange different types of information special features.
A group videoconference involves communication between three or more participants at the same time. In this type of videoconferencing, every participant can see and hear all the others, and vice versa. Such conferences most frequently use video server which provides a connection between several video sources and typically include terminals and videoconferencing gateways. Videoconferencing server can be both software and hardware in nature.
A video meeting (or role-based videoconference) is a videoconference held by a large number of participants. There are three roles in this type of videoconference: the host, the reporter and the speaker from the audience and the listener. An owner can swap the roles among other participants in real-time, while only speakers and the host could be seen and heard by listeners simultaneously.
A web-conference (also known as a webinar) is a videoconference used to organize live meetings and on-line presentations. In this case every participant connects to the conference from its own computer through the client-server technology via the Internet. A client application, which usually uses Flash and Java technologies, should be previously downloaded and installed. Webinars performs best when host's audio and video are broadcasted along with other media like presentations or documents.
Videoconferencing in Everyday Life
Everybody life today is transformed through intensive development of high-speed Internet technologies available at home, on vacation or even while travelling. Wide opportunities for using video communication solutions and technologies for point-to-point videoconferencing using a web camera and a PC opens up. Moreover, videoconferencing hardware prices have fallen significantly, which makes the use of this type of communication even more affordable.
Visual connection is an important component of every meeting. If the participants cannot meet physically or if the travel and time expenses play a crucial role in decision-making, in such cases videoconferencing is in demand whenever live communication is required.
Videoconferencing for Business
If applied accurately videoconferencing can bring huge financial and administrative benefits to large and multi-branch companies as well as companies which use distant employees. Videoconferencing enhances operational efficiency, productivity and competitiveness, which leads to an increase in the company’s profit.
Videoconferencing helps speed up the decision-making process, increases access to information and expertise, reduces the travel time for business trips (and, consequently, travel-related expenses and stress), raises labour productivity and makes the distribution of resources more efficient. Besides, it reduces the time of launching products on the market as well as the time of response to market change.
Videoconferencing in Education
Videoconferencing helps simplify the process of distance learning thanks to a two-way (point-to-point) video connection. Moreover, it enables teachers and students from all over the world to gather together into one audience (multipoint videoconferences, video meetings and web-conferences). By using videoconference students can access any part of the word without leaving their classrooms, communicate with other students and teachers. Virtual classrooms allow the students, especially those isolated geographically and economically, to get the knowledge only the best educational establishments provide. Schools can make use of this technology e.g. by teaching children the languages they can rarely encounter in their own regions.
Videoconferencing in Medicine
Videoconferencing can also be successfully used in remote diagnostics, treatment and consulting. Moreover, it offers such important advantages as continuous education and further training for medical staff. There’s a special term for this way of videoconferencing application – telemedicine.
In diagnostics and distance learning it is widely accepted to exchange pictures made with a digital camera from over the operating table, microscope, video-endoscope, or any other specific device. It is also possible to transmit telemetric information: pulse repetition frequency, blood pressure.
Application of videoconferencing in medicine will allow to improve people's health, which in many cases depends on the access to quality medical services. Generally accessibility of the medical services rises thanks to videoconferences held between highly-qualified specialists and institutes on diagnostics and treatment.
Author: TrueConf Team