It is the procedure of holding a meeting/video chat over the internet mostly using a webcam where participants can see each other on the screen. In recent days the internet has become fast enough to support the speed and capabilities required for holding a video conference. This has enabled the use of technology in mainstream industries and common computer users.
The main advantages of video conferencing are it saves time and cost, is convenient, and provides a virtual feeling of a real meeting. While the disadvantages are that it requires high bandwidth stable internet, members of the meeting are in different time zone, and managing a virtual meeting may be a challenge.
With video conferences, people can communicate with each other in an interactive session as if it is a real one-on-one conversation.
Requirements for video conferencing
1. The electronic device (computer/smart-phone)
You will require the device to connect to the internet and one that will process both the visual and sound microphone and digital video camera respectively.
2. Video camera/webcam
To be able to capture the video images you will require a video camera, either in-built into your device or you can get an external camera that can be connected to the computer so that it can process information.
3. Fast internet connectivity
To be able to use video conferencing services you require internet connectivity and fast in that case. The internet should be able to support video streaming which will enable video to be transmitted from one location to the next without delay.
For audio communication to happen, you will require either an internal or external microphone to transmit sound and a speaker to listen to what other participant is saying. Since most devices come with these two in-built it means you may not need to worry about the external.
Advantages of video conferencing
Save money and time
Video conferencing save money by cutting the cost of traveling from one work location to the next to attend the meeting and the lodging cost are also reduced. The time that would have been used while traveling is saved and can be used for productivity in another area.
The technology can be used from any location in the world as long as the above facilities for connectivity are available. This makes it convenient since one can attend a meeting from the comfort of their home or even when they are on vacation.
Technology makes communication to be fast and easy to do for organizations and individuals.
Provide visual information
For family and friend communication, using video gives them a sense of closeness even if they are separated by thousands of miles. This is because they can able to see their children, family member, and friend.
Disadvantages of video conference
High initial cost
For companies that want to install video conference systems the cost of acquiring these systems is high. This applies if a company what to use high-specification devices. Also, fast internet connectivity can be expensive if it’s met for that purpose only.
Internet connectivity sometimes cannot be relied upon and when it is down then the system cannot be used, again if it is slow it may not support the fast speed that is required for video streaming.
Different time zone
For large organizations that have many branches across the world, it means that when one group is in the office the other is asleep. For a meeting to be held, one group must be up throughout the night to attend the meeting. If it is friends that are communicating it is the same case if they are in different time zone.
Coordination of large group
If the group involved in the meeting is big coordinating the meeting may be hard and those people using handheld gadgets may not be able to see everybody who is attending the meeting.
5. Virtual meeting etiquette
Since online meetings are new and they are not physical some people may not find it prudent to follow the meeting guideline. The attendee should be given the meeting protocols and requirements before the meeting starts to ensure a fruitful meeting with minimal interruptions.
6 video conference platforms
To be able to combine all these components you will require application software to enable you to make the conference a reality. The main platform includes:
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5. Google Meet
5 application areas of video conferencing
Most learning institutions are adopting e-learning which can use video conference technology. While the lecturer is in the lecturer’s room in one location in the world a student can use the technology to connect and attend the lecture whenever they are. Again master/doctorate students can have a supervisor who is in a different location and they can use video conferences to communicate.
With Covid 19 even more learning institutions have adopted the use of eLearning to reduce physical contact. There have emerged many more platforms that can be used for eLearning since the Covid 19 pandemic started
2. Friendly chat
Friends can use technology to recap. A family member can use video conference like Skype and WhatsApp video platform which is free to communicate with their family member where they can have one-on-one communication.
3. Business meeting
Business organizations are saving millions of money on transport, lodging, and other operational costs that are cut down by the use of video conferencing. By using this technology businesses can hold a meeting for all branch managers of the organization from their respective locations which saves time and money. Video conferencing is the next big thing in the business environment in terms of cutting down costs for higher productivity.
Covid 19 also has disrupted how businesses operate with some employees working from home. This led to the use of video conferences for meetings and updates about the company and clients.
4. Courtroom proceedings (witness testifying)
Courtroom proceeding is another area where the technology is used. Judicial officials across the world are adopting the technology by allowing witnesses to give their testimony over the internet via video conferencing. Judges can also attend a proceeding and even make a ruling over the internet using the technology.
5. Medical industries
The technology can be used in the medical field by getting instructions from a specialist who is in a different location from where the operation is. Specialists can give instructions on what a specific delicate operation can be done from far away by the use of technology.