Video conferencing is the ability to host live interactive meetings by using Internet connectivity, a computer and a web camera. With video conferencing, businesses can now hold meetings with the participants being virtually anywhere in the world.
Conferencing Across Distances
Video conferencing, or VC for short, is defined as conducting meetings in two or more locations by audio and video transmission.
Specifically, VC uses special equipment, such as webcams, high-speed Internet connectivity and personal computers. With VC, those who participate in the meeting can see, hear and speak to one another, regardless of their geographical location, in real time. In this lesson, we will go over the advantages and disadvantages of using video conferencing technology.
Video Conferencing Advantages
Let’s start with the advantages. By using VC, companies can save a lot of money, because they don’t need to spend money transporting employees to meetings. Say, for example, a company has a meeting every week and has to fly people from around the world to attend. This can be extremely pricey and not very efficient.
The business would have to coordinate flights as well as booking food, lodging and transport. Thanks to video conferencing, businesses no longer have to spend time and money on these activities.Video conferencing is also good for home use. Imagine chatting over real-time video with your loved ones back home. This can save money until you’re ready to return home for an extended period of time. Video conferencing can also come in handy in the event you have work or other scheduling conflicts that won’t allow you to fly back home.Another reason why VC is good for business is that it is very cheap.
There are only three pieces of hardware you will need. First, you need a personal computer. Secondly, the computer needs a webcam. Finally, the computer needs to be hooked up to a high speed Internet connection.
Most people can find a laptop and a stable Internet connection under $300 dollars, which works well for personal home use. However, businesses and organizations that have to hosts numerous connections around the world may have to opt for a video conference package that is anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000.You must also use some type of software as well. Most VCs come with their own software for communicating. But for the home user, software such as Microsoft’s Skype, which is free to download for home use, is available.
Video Conferencing Disadvantages
Now let’s deal with how video conferencing may have its faults.
First, your Internet connection may from time to time have issues, such as not being available when you need it. It is possible that your Internet Service Provider, or ISP for short, may be conducting maintenance on the network. An Internet Service Provider is the company that provides you and your business with Internet access. If they have to conduct maintenance on the network, your Internet service could become degraded or unavailable. In the case of disrupted Internet service, users who are using the VC may experience jitters while conducting a video conference.
We define jitters as a technical glitch where the video and the audio start to slow down. This can make the video quality so poor that it cannot even be viewed. Although this does not happen all the time, it can hinder high-priority meetings.Another disadvantage is that more sophisticated video conferencing systems may require someone with technical knowledge to set it up.
In case there are issues, the person must know how to troubleshoot and determine if it is an Internet service provider issue or an actual VC issue. If you have a person who does not have readily available access to a help desk technician, it can be hours or even days to restore the VC capabilities. In this case, it is best to use a system that is very user friendly.
Video conferencing gives people the capability to host live, interactive meetings using a computer with a high-speed Internet connection, software such as Skype and a web camera. Video conferencing can potentially save a business a lot of money since it does not involve physically transporting people for meetings.
However, VCs are not without their drawbacks, as interruptions in Internet connectivity can slow down or stop important meetings, which may necessitate calling in a technician or waiting for an Internet Service Provider to restore the connection. Still, VCs are very useful for businesses as well as individuals who want the ease of conducting business without always having to drive to the office.