Video conferencing is a technology that enables us to conduct a meeting online by using some platforms which offer such facilities. It is very helpful for many people involved in different sectors like education, businesses, Information Technology Industries, or even for Courts. Meetings for different purposes, like routine meetings, business deals, or interviews, are often conducted through video conferencing.
It is also very cost-efficient to conduct a video conference; the user will just need a laptop or a mobile phone and a good internet connection. A significant rise in the usage of video conferencing platforms was seen during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Through video conferencing, one can connect with their friends, colleagues, customers and partners on their devices, irrespective of their location. So, it is effective for both personal and business purposes.
Working of the Video Conferencing
Video conferences typically use the IP address to connect all people virtually. Unlike telephone conference, video conference allows users to see the person on the other side by using the camera and screen of their respective devices. This makes video conferencing a more favourable option than a telephone conference. The video conference also helps improve the relationship with the other person compared to the telephone conference, as people feel more connected because they can see each other while having a conversation.
There are many ways available using which users can do video conferencing. With modern devices, users can use the in-built camera of their desktop, laptop and mobile phones to do video calls. If the desktop or laptop is not equipped with an in-built camera, then in such a case, the users may attach an external camera to their devices.
Many businesses these days have their own special video conferencing room with high-quality cameras and mics attached to large screens. It is done to conduct a meeting without any errors or difficulties in the audio or video.
Components of Video Conferencing
We do not need much equipment or resources to conduct a video conference. Still, there are some major components of video conferencing without which it is impossible to conduct it.
Some of the major components of video conferencing are:
Computer or Any Other Device
The devices which are necessary to do a video conference are a laptop, desktop, tab (also called tablet), or mobile phone. But, it is important that they are equipped with a properly working camera and a mic.
If the users are not satisfied with the quality of the camera or the mic that comes with their mobiles, laptops, or desktops, they can even attach a high-quality camera to their respective devices. It is also a very easy procedure to do video conferencing whether you are doing it on a mobile or a laptop.
It should be noted that if users want to video conference with a group of people simultaneously, a device with higher RAM (Random Access Memory) will be required.
A good internet connection is one of the main and most important components that a user needs to conduct a video conference. Nowadays, almost everyone has an internet connection on mobile, so there is no need to pay for it separately. The existing internet pack on your mobile will be sufficient to do video conferencing in most of the cases. Also, the mobile internet can be shared with other devices as well.
However, it is advised to use a fast internet connection as it will make the quality of the video or audio clear and high, and the users will not face any buffering while doing video chat.
Video Conferencing Platforms
Apart from a good internet connection, another important component of video conferencing is a platform that offers a feature to users to do video calls or video conferencing. To access such a platform, the users just need to download the applications of it from their respective official websites or from an app store.
Luckily, many Video conferencing software platforms are available on the internet.
However, there are some platforms that require users to pay for their plans to continue using their services. They offer many plans for different businesses based on the size of the business. Some of the best video conferencing platforms are Webex, Google Meet and Microsoft Team, etc. There are many other platforms, too, on which the users can do video conferencing free of cost.
Evolution of Video Conferencing
The technology of video conferencing saw a significant rise in its usage in recent years, but it does not mean that it has been developed recently. The concept of video conferencing evolved in the early 20th century when the vendors conducted research on television and radio and came up with an idea to provide a live stream for videos.
Initially, video conferencing was not much viable and cost-efficient because to do video conferencing a high expense was required, and still, the quality of the video was not much good. But with the rise in technologies and IP (Internet Protocol), video conferencing has become affordable and accessible for users, which enables the users to chat in real using an internet-connected device. Since then, we have seen continuous improvement in the video quality of video conferencing with options for video in HD. With the evolution in the software providing video conferencing features, users are now able to access video conferencing on their smartphones or tablets too.
Earlier, video conferencing was used by only big businesses to connect with their employees or management all over the world. But during the Covid-19 pandemic, almost every company and organization were left with no other option but to continue their operations remotely, and this increased the usage of video conferencing by all those companies to conduct meeting with their employees. Presently, many companies have again started working offline, but still, several companies offer a hybrid work approach, and employees are opting for this option in huge numbers. Video conferencing is now being used in almost every sector, including education, healthcare, sports, and even in finance.
Some Most Common Uses of Video Conferencing
The most common use of video conferencing is to keep physical and remote teams connected to each other and to the organization. During the pandemic, social gatherings and personal events were also used to be held using video conferencing. Relatives who could not come to the marriage also used to join the events on video calls.
The following are the most common use cases where video conferencing has been widely used and is still being used:
One-on-One or Team Meetings
Constant communication of companies with their employees is very important as it makes the employees more connected and updated with the goals and missions of the business or company. It is easy for companies to communicate with their employees if they are working offline, but connecting with those employees who are working remotely, is difficult without video conferencing. Companies or businesses often host weekly meetings for remote employees to connect with them and keep them motivated and updated.
Nowadays, with the increase in technology, many companies are shifting to take online interviews of candidates for jobs. Such online job interviews are done using video conferencing. It is beneficial for the candidates and interviewers as they do not need to travel to any place to give or take interviews.
Interviewers taking online interviews may evaluate the candidate's personality and performance just like offline interviews, as video conferencing helps them take the interview face to face but virtually.
Giving sales demos by visiting the customer's location is an old way to present your products or services to the customers. In comparison, video conferencing is a very cost-efficient way as well as a more effective way to give a demo of the product or services to the customers.
Nowadays, many organizations and businesses are giving live presentations of their products or services online through video conferencing. Additionally, the sales demo can be given to multiple customers at the same time using video conferencing platforms, and therefore it saves the time of the businesses too. However, this is not applicable to all products.
Many organizations are now providing training to their employees online through video conferencing. There is no need to ask the employees to come to the office for the training. The employees can be trained in real-time, which also makes the sessions interactive as the employees may ask questions or discuss various topics as in regular training sessions. In addition, it is also possible to provide pre-recorded sessions to the employees.
It saves time and money for both the employees and the employer, which usually happens if the training sessions are conducted offline.
Benefits of Video Conferencing
During COVID-19, remote working was a necessity for companies, but later, companies realized how much they could save if they allowed their employees to work remotely. At the same time, it was also comfortable for employees to work from home. This led to a huge rise in the usage of video conferencing. Some of the essential benefits of video conferencing are listed below:
Reduce Operational Costs
With video conferencing, businesses can now save the money that they used to spend by holding meetings to communicate door-to-door with their customers and by holding promotional events and gatherings to advertise their products. Nowadays, businesses can create a link for video conferencing on which multiple users can join and have a live video conference with the business.
Many IT businesses are now shifting their businesses completely online, and therefore no physical headquarter is required, which would have cost them huge. The reduction in office numbers has also helped many companies reduce operating costs.
Build Stronger Relationships
Video is the best way to break the physical barrier between the organization and the employees working remotely. It helps the colleagues build a strong relationship, as they cannot only hear the other colleagues but also see them live while talking. It is advised to the participants to keep their video on as in some research; it has been bound that those who keep their video on during the meetings on video conferencing have received several benefits. It helps them collaborate with their peers easily, and their colleagues' empathy also increases.
Include Anyone, Anywhere
One of the best advantages of video conferencing is that participants from all over the world can join each other simultaneously on the same platform and interact with each other in life.
A wide range of video conferencing software also offers some incredible features, like real-time translation. This feature translates whatever the speaker is speaking into any language the audience wants to listen to in real time. Hence, it helps to bring together participants from any geographical location and enables them to understand what is being told by another person.
Video Conferencing Features to Look For
Over the years, video conferencing software has been updated a lot and has become more sophisticated in terms of offering some very useful features. It has improved so much that now video conferencing can give the participants of a meeting a much better experience than being in the same room.
Let's look at some of the essential features of video conferencing:
HD Video and Audio
A high-quality video and crystal clear audio are paramount to any meeting as they form the basis of a great meeting experience conducted over video conferencing. Suppose the user is facing a poor internet connection. In such a situation, the quality of audio and video may not be good. However, there is usually an auto-adjusting feature in most video conferencing software that automatically adjusts the quality of the video and audio.
The feature of sharing the desktop screen keeps all the participants of the video conferencing involved on a certain page on a screen. It means that the other participants can see the content from the other's screen as well as the respective presenter at the same time. It helps in giving presentations as the presenter can share the presentation made by him by sharing his screen with all of the participants. In addition, by sharing the screen with others, the presenter can easily define the elements or aspects of the project opened on his screen in real time.
Background Noise Removal
One of the most common problems that users face during video conferencing is the unwanted noise in their backgrounds, as it makes it difficult to concentrate or to hear what the speaker is saying. To overcome this problem, good video conferencing software includes a feature that helps users reduce background noise by optimizing the clarity of their voices.
There are many special features that video conferencing platforms can provide to their users. For example, users can use colour filters or real-time face filters, change their background with some available themes or even blur the background. The users can even upload any image of their choice as background. It is very helpful in such cases when you do not want the other participants to get distracted because of the background behind you.