Videoconferencing is a method of using internet based communication to stream live video of different people in different places all over the world together so that a virtual group conversation can be had with ease. This is one of the most widely used forms of communication in the world today, and is used in a wide range of scenario. For example, two people in different offices in the same building could video conference instead of wasting valuable time moving from one office to the next. In a large corporation, time is money and you can’t afford to waste any time at all.
Because of this, over the years a number of video conferencing solutionshave become available to the users. Videoconferencing has had a long history, and it has had a hard time getting recognized as the standard for easy communication all over the world. However, it has fought through all the doubting and criticism to become a wildly popular method of staying in touch for individuals and businesses alike.
The different Types of Video Conferences
There are two ways in which a video conference can occur. The point to point method is one in which only two people talk over the network using video. Multipoint is the true definitive part of a video conference, as it involves many people in different locations conversing at the same time while transmitting and receiving live video and audio. Video conferencing can extend past the basics of talking to each other, and can be used to share things over the network such as documents and slides, making it feel just like a real conference, without the hassle of traveling to and from the locations.
The History of Video Conferences
Initially, the method used was extremely expensive, and things like distance education which is a very popular form of learning now were too pricey to afford. What was used instead was the normal telephone network lines, which would be able to send video at a very slow, terrible pace. However, these failed almost immediately because the quality of the conversations were just so bad. Video couldn’t be compressed effectively either, which led to the video that was being sent, to be sent very slowly indeed.
In the 1970s, the Picturephone was introduced as a possible alternative to the failed method of the 1950s, and it did seem like a step up. However it was also not to be, mainly because no one could afford to get and maintain one of these systems at the time. This meant that there were very few people in the world who actually possessed this system, leading to there being very few calls actually being made. There was also the problem that the picturephones were not compatible with any other forms of video conferencing, which led to there being an overall lack of video contacts.
In the late 1980s, telephony networks made the switch from analog to digital. This meant that compressed data in the form of video and audio could be sent much faster and more efficiently. Soon, companies began to conduct research into video conferencing methods for these newer networks. In 1984, the PictureTel Corp. released the first true commercial videoconferencing system. After this, the technology evolved at a rapid pace throughout the next decade. The costs of owning and operating one of these systems also hit an all-time low, and the networks switched from exclusive to public networks.
At long last, the IP based method was developed so that people could talk to each other using their computers. By 1995, video conferencing had hit the public in a big way. Although it had always been used more as a method by which corporate bigwigs could talk to each other when necessary without having to take the time to make a long trip to a meeting, video conferencing soon became something that everyone could do with relative ease.
Video Calling Today is Easier than Ever
The cost of video conferencing in the present day is almost free. With services like Skype in existence, people no longer need to pay for separate systems and networks over which to call each other using video. Although the quality of video on these services was not as good in the first years as it is today, the development of newer, better technology has led to video calls in the present day being mostly high definition, based on the speed of the broadband connection over which the call is being transmitted. Video conferencing has indeed shot up in its evolution to become the communication method of the future.