Video Conferencing: How It Works, How to Use It, Top Platforms

What Is Video Conferencing?

Video conferencing is an online technology that allows users in different locations to hold face-to-face meetings without having to move to a single location together. This technology is particularly convenient for business users in different cities or even different countries because it saves time, expenses, and hassles associated with business travel. Uses for video conferencing include holding routine meetings, negotiating business deals, and interviewing job candidates.

When a video conference is held for informal purposes, it is called a video call or video chat.

Key Takeaways

  • Video conferencing is a technology that allows users in different locations to hold real-time face-to-face meetings, often at little to no cost.
  • There are many ways to utilize video conferencing technology, such as company meetings, job training sessions, or addressing board members.
  • Video conferencing saw a huge boost amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The stability and quality of the video conference may fluctuate with the speed and reliability of the data connection.
  • There are a variety of ways video conferencing can be conducted—such as using smartphones, tablets, or via desktop computers.

How Video Conferencing Works

Video conferencing's main advantage over telephone conference calls is that users can see each other, which allows them to develop stronger relationships.

There are a variety of ways video conferencing can be conducted. Individuals may use web cameras connected to or built into laptops, tablets, or desktop computers. Smartphones and other connected mobile devices equipped with cameras may also be used to connect for video conferences. In such instances, a software-based platform typically is used to transmit the communication over internet protocols.

Some businesses use dedicated video conferencing rooms that have been equipped with high-grade cameras and screens to ensure the conversation is clear and with limited technical faults. Third-party providers often install and assemble the hardware needed to conduct the video conference.

The stability and quality of the video conference may fluctuate with the speed and reliability of one's internet data connection.

Uses of Video Conferencing

Companies with multiple offices might establish direct video communications between their locations in order to allow their teams to work more collaboratively.

Video conferencing can also be used as a medium for conducting training, with the instructor teaching a remote class from almost anywhere. This can be done in a corporate context, especially for getting workers the knowledge they need to better perform their jobs. The academic world can also make use of video conferencing to connect a traditional classroom setting with students who are located a considerable distance from the school.

A video conference may also be used to conduct regular meetings with company staff or to confer with shareholders about the latest activities at the business. It may be used to announce significant changes at a company, such as introducing a new CEO, or to present information in an interactive way that allows all participants to engage in discussion about what they see on screen.

Hotels and conference centers sometimes make video conferencing services available to guests who require such services. This may be offered in suites or conference rooms that have been equipped for this purpose.

The Investopedia team has dug deep into nearly two dozen platforms and has produced its list of Top Video Conferencing Platforms for 2021.

Video Conferencing During the 2020-21 COVID-19 Pandemic

Video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft Teams saw a surge of interest and use during the 2020-21 COVID-19 pandemic, as lockdowns forced many individuals around the world to work from home and attend online classes.

Video conferencing allowed for professionals to meet with their clients and conduct one-on-one consultations, including financial advisors, therapists, tutors, and lawyers. In fact, some legal proceedings and court cases moved entirely to video conferencing during parts of the pandemic. Doctors and other medical professionals have also adopted telehealth to a much larger degree than before the pandemic.

Article Sources
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