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What is videoconferencing?

Definition, uses, and general information about videoconferencing.

What is videoconferencing?

Videoconferencing is a service of simultaneous telecommunication, typically involving two or more locations and multiple participants. It's designed to allow groups to see and hear each other at the same time.

Videoconferencing does not require that users travel to a common location. It can also enable remote users to attend a face-to-face meeting that is held in another location, also called a hybrid meeting. Videoconferencing allows participants to see, hear, and speak to one another using desktop computers, or it can be done on laptops, tablet computers, or smartphones.

Videoconferencing synonyms

teleconferencing, video chat, remote meeting, virtual meeting, web meeting, web conference.

How is videoconferencing used?

Virtual meetings are used for business meetings like sales calls, customer calls, and internal discussions between team members. Often a recurring team meeting will be held with the same videoconferencing link each week.

In education, lectures at schools or universities are often broadcast using videoconferencing so that students can attend remotely.

Government hearings and emergency services' conferences are government uses of video conferencing.

News broadcasts also make extensive use of high-quality video conferencing, connecting correspondents together during live broadcasts.

In telehealth, it can be used to provide essential face-to-face time with a patient in remote locations. In cases where the patient is too ill or frail to travel, videoconferencing provides doctors and other health professionals access to patients' experiences and medical data.

Is videoconferencing synchronous communication?

Yes, videoconferencing is synchronous communication because the people on the call are interacting in real time.

More information about videoconferencing

1. It's a communication service that allows two or more locations and multiple participants to see and hear each other at the same time through an audio-visual system such as video cameras, microphones, computer, television or teleconference systems.

2. Videoconferencing is often employed by companies who wish to develop stronger relationships with customers and suppliers based in different countries.

3. It's also used for business meetings which take place at two separate locations, lectures at schools or universities, government hearings, emergency services' conferences etc.

4. Videoconferencing may be used to present information slides to accompany speech or other interactive tasks where participants are not in the same location as the presenter.

5. Telehealth is an example of videoconferencing being used so that doctors can communicate with patients who are too ill or frail to travel, putting together a care plan.

6. It can be used for person-to-person business, commercial and social communication between two or more locations via telephone lines or the Internet.

7. It uses video cameras, monitors, microphones, and speakers just like the videophone but it allows users to share documents or computer screens while they are talking to each other.

8. Videoconferencing is also used for providing essential face-to-face time with a patient in remote locations.

9. Videoconferencing brings people together without boundaries, connecting them instantly and efficiently across time zones, cultures or languages.

Top videoconferencing providers

Zoom, Google Meet, WebEx, and MS Teams are among the most popular videoconferencing providers. Videoconferencing has become so ubiquitous, it would be difficult to list out all the products and services that offer it as part of their products.

Slack, for example, while not thought of as a videoconferencing tool generally, has videoconferencing built in.

Free videoconferencing for large groups

Because most free plans for videoconferencing only allow a few participants or have a limit on the total meeting time, it's difficult to find a good free tool for large group videoconferencing.

  • Google Meet allows videoconferencing calls up to 100 participants for up to 60 minutes.
  • Zoom is free for up to 100 participants for 40-minute meetings.

While not perfect for large and long meetings, both Zoom and Google Meet strike a good balance of being a free tool that can accommodate a large meeting and deliver high-quality video and audio. Just make sure to start on time.

Videoconferencing example

A group of people get together in a room to talk via videoconference. The people can see and hear each other because they are connected by cameras, microphones and speakers in their laptops. They use a software program called Zoom.

Alternatives to videoconferencing

If you wish to send a video message to someone, but it isn't important that you be online at the same time, Loom offers a great alternative. By leveraging Loom for asynchronous video messaging, you can cut down on virtual meetings at work.

Related meeting management software

While videoconferencing may help deliver audio and visual aspects of your virtual meeting, many teams also turn to meeting management software such as Hugo (hugo.team) to help with other aspects of the meeting, such as preparing agendas, sharing notes, and tracking action items. Meeting management software can help you and your team work more efficiently, so you don't have to use videoconferencing as often or for as long. For example, using a meeting note template for recurring meetings will help streamline how you prepare for that meeting.

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