video conferencing tools
video conferencing tools With the power of Internet connectivity in full force, the world is becoming smaller and smaller. Businesses worldwide are experiencing the change that the Internet and the resulting advances in technology,
bringing with it tools that are designed to realize the globalization dreams of corporate minds all over. One such tool is the web conferencing tools that are continuously being touted as a cost-effective alternative to offsite meetings.
Basically, web conferencing tools are software applications that allow each participant to sit at his computer and virtually attend an online meeting.
The meeting itself takes place in a wholly online environment made possible by a web server hosted by the service vendor.
Web Conferencing Tools vs. Forums
video conferencing tools 2022
During its early days, web conferencing tools consisted mainly of posted text messages that are uploaded onto a server board, known as a message board or a forum.
Subsequent changes in technology led to a gap between conventional forums and the more interactive type made possible by the incorporation of other multimedia elements.
Thus, web conferencing tools came to mean a dynamic interaction between groups of individuals often accompanied by voice communication or video while mere “posted text messages” was relegated as definition for forums, message boards, or bulletin boards.
Web Conferencing Tools: Communication Options
Voice communication in web conferencing tools is made possible via a normal telephony network or a net-based one, such as VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol).
The pervading technology used in today’s web conferencing tools however is VoIP since it provides a more affordable and more practical means of fostering communication between conference participants.
Besides voice, some vendors and developers also incorporate chat facilities into their web conferencing tools. Though text-based, chatting is different from posting
on a forum in that messages are posted in a real time environment, thus providing for lesser feedback time and faster response.
Chat is not as effective a communication tool as voice as it is greatly limited in transmitting emotions. Thus, chat facilities in web conferencing tools only come in handy when the spelling of a particular word becomes an issue or files are being sent.
Another important component of web conferencing tools and perhaps its most basic feature yet is screen sharing.
This particular feature allows users of web conferencing tools to view and manipulate (to a certain extent) the presenter’s screen.
The white board concept and annotation options are based on this one feature. Screen sharing allows for a more interactive discussion between meeting participants.
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Audio Conferencing And Its Uses
Audio conferencing has been a major boon to business. It is helping them reach out to geographically separated people. As a result, these establishments are also saving on cost and time.
Quite often you have difficulties in scheduling your professional events. This occurs due to various kinds of problems.
These could be conflicts pertaining to schedules, geographically separated venues, time differences between countries, the time that it takes to travel, hotel accommodations, and other logistics related issues.
Just take a look at distance education. Here, students are required to reach out to the faculty if they want to attend professional development programs.
How do they do this? In this modern age, video and audio conferencing have brought professionals to a common platform. Thus, conference calling has begun to be used extensively.
It is a fantastic aid in exchanging ideas for any professional development activity. Professionals today are gathering greater technical expertise by attending seminars which are being held in all parts of the world.
And how is this being achieved? It is being achieved by the help of today’s communication technology.
On browsing the Internet, we can find many schools that have begun to offer distance learning programs. Microsoft offers their Windows-based MCP training through distance learning.
This has solved several problems, which would inevitably have appeared if professionals and other students had to physically be present at the classes. video conferencing tools
Today, distance learning is helping those who are sitting on the other side of the world to acquire the appropriate knowledge in the subjects of their interest. And all this is being achieved because they are able to use the technology.
Inter-active video, audio, and online media are being deployed today by many institutions to impart knowledge to adult students on various subject matters. video conferencing tools
Within the communication technology available today, audio conferencing is considered to be a lower form of interactive technology. Nevertheless, audio conferencing is quite a great thing.
Audio conferencing is extensively used in distant professional development programs and helps in communication over long distances.
Business enterprises have today set up bases all over the globe. Hence, they need to keep in touch. Professionals in those business houses are required to meet to carry out discussions and to make decisions.
Sales conferences have to be held at most offices. Many of these conferences are conducted by audio conferencing. The business world is truly reaping the benefits of audio conferencing.
Real time interactions, faster decision making possibilities, and a huge reduction in cost and travel expenses have made the audio conference call the darling of business meetings.
Audio conferencing provides us with a great deal of savings in money terms. This goes a long way in enhancing business processes, fostering better communication, and collaboration.
It is general practice for many organizations to outsource their audio conferencing needs to service providers. This facility can be utilized by paying a fee to the provider company each time that the audio conferencing network is hired.
There are also service providers who offer pay-as-you-go services. An organization can also build its own audio conferencing system. All that the organization needs to do is get the equipment and set it up within the enterprise. video conferencing tools
Where Did It Come From? Web Conferencing History
Through web conferencing, there is an opportunity to chat and communicate with co-workers, even facilitate meetings, presentations and demonstrations.
Web conferencing not just offers communication exchange but also allows participants to trade documents, share applications, access desktops, use whiteboards and PowerPoint.
How did this technology started?
Lucy P. Roberts, author of “History of Web Conferencing – Multifunction Conferencing Comes of Age” (2004) traced the roots of web conferencing long before there is internet.
The University of Illinois developed a system known as PLATO during the 1960s. This is for their Computer-based Education Research Laboratory (CERL).
This is just a small system supporting just a single classroom of terminals connected to one mainframe computer. In 1972, the terminals being supported by PLATO increased to over a thousand.
Although PLATO was long before internet technology and it is mainly designed for computer-based education, it paved several communication features that became the foundation for web conferencing and instant messaging. PLATO Notes, was the world’s first online messaging boards, while Personal Notes is used for electronic mails. Talkomatic is used for real-time instant messaging or for chat. PLATO even developed a tool for monitor mode or remote screen sharing.
David Wooley, creator of PLATO Notes in 1973, eventually designed Lotus Notes which was released in 1989. Lotus Notes is mainly an e-mail client, but it can also be used as an instant messaging client, browser, notebook, and calendar reservation client.
Roberts cited that Lotus Notes was the first commercially released product that offered document sharing, user-created data-bases and remote location communication.
The PLATO technology gave birth to several communication tools that paved the way for web conferencing. But it wasn’t until mid-1990s that the complete web conferencing started to shape up and become available in the market.
Roberts cited PlaceWare as one of the first companies to provide complete web conferencing. It was developed by Xerox Palo Alto Research Center in the 1990s. In 2003, Microsoft acquired PlaceWare and renamed its core product Microsoft Office Live Meeting.
Meanwhile, file sharing started proliferating the World Wide Web. Peer to peer (P2P) file sharing refers to sharing of file containing audio, video, data or anything in digital format.
With peer to peer file sharing, peers act as equals, the roles of clients and servers are merged. There is no central server that manages the network nor a central router.
Peer to peer file sharing was seen as a way of hosting web conferencing, rather than running the application through a single server. With this P2P format, it is more dynamic and involving.
Groove was the first to apply the P2P concept in web conferencing. It was released on 2000 and was upgraded in 2002 with impressive results.
Wired Red Software, in 2003, released the first web conferencing software that does not require significant installation time.
Most web conferencing providers offer packages that contains voice over IP ,co-browsing and application sharing, additional features that can be readily available like polls,
event management, PowerPoint presentation, playback, recording and live annotation and mark-up.
With a lot of web conferencing providers and vendors in the market today, web conferencing is becoming more and more common. A lot of people are using this technology in their businesses and companies.
New development in the web conferencing system is inevitable due to competition and continuous technological innovation.
About Audio Conference Calls
The world is getting smaller by the minute. How so? With the advancements in technology and communication, even people from opposite ends of the earth are able to transact business and talk in real time, without having to go face to face and meet personally.
Because of these developments, businessmen worldwide no longer find the need to travel from country to country just to meet a particular offshore site manager for a weekly status report. All they need to do is connect to the Internet and, presto, the job is done.
There are many kinds of communication tools we can use to talk with other people in different locations. Some communication devices allow for audio conferencing,
for instance, while others support video streaming in real time, to allow participants to view each other during an online transaction.
They can have as few as two to as many as a dozen participants. And because technology is advancing every minute, before we know it, they might soon be able to accommodate hundreds of people all at once, as in a plenary.
Congressmen might soon find it useless and tedious to meet in one session hall to make legislative decisions
(though it is hoped that this does not happen, because they hold the future of the country in their hands and would more likely make better decisions if they are face to face).
Some audio conference call features only allow some people to listen in to a particular conversation.
This usually happens during status checks or monthly reports, which do not really require much participation from everyone.
This kind of audio conference call enables a person to listen, but does not allow him or her to talk.
Meanwhile, there are audio conference calls that allow all participants not just to listen in but to join in on the conversation, as well. This usually happens in board meetings where not all directors are in the same room.
Directors are able to give their inputs about a certain issue even if they’re thousands of miles away from the actual meeting itself.
Families can set up virtual reunions using audio and video conference calls at a much lower cost, compared to traveling from one place to another, which can be both physically taxing and heavy on the pocket.
Audio and video conferencing are practical and cheap alternatives to face to face meetings and deals.
The huge advancements in the telecommunications in the last decade has improved the quality of local, as well as, global communication for all of us,
from cell phones to global video teleconferencing we all have learn to expect only smooth operations and fast solutions from the communication leaders in the market of conference calls.
Web conferencing provides a great combination of the advantages of the Internet together with voice conferencing to enable you to carry on online meetings and events like
a face to face meeting with the aid of audience response tools , visuals, and other features with ease making your events and meetings productive, more interactive, entertaining and engaging through inexpensive conference calling.
Web conferencing is the term which refers to conducting presentations or meetings over the Internet live. In the initial span of time for the use of Internet, the terms “computer conferencing”
and “web conferencing” were generally used to specify to group discussions that were conducted within a message board (through posted messages) i.e. they were not live.
But with the advancement of technology, the term has grown to refer particularly to “live” meetings, while the posted message variety of discussion is called a
“message board”, “forum”, or ” company bulletin board”, since these days live discussions are more effective. One needs to have an internet connection for web conferencing.
Web conferencing requires an application software that enables any user to communicate with other conferencing people using internet. This application is provided by a “host” company which charges for using it.
The people involved can exchange their ideas, information and data easily and the presenter can get the feedback immediately from all the people concerned simultaneously.
This can be either an application that is downloaded on each of the attendees computers or an application that is web-based where the attendees simply have to enter a
“URL” or website meeting address to enter and participate in the conference or live meeting . These web applications use either Java or Flash technology for their functioning.
For many individuals and businesses entities, conference calls alleviate the unnecessary cost and troubles of travel by providing a platform to contact different people at the sane time. By using this facility a person can be contacted at the best comfort.
Audio conference call service systems help organizations improve communications and business processes while significantly reducing conferencing costs Tele conference calls involve telephone solutions only – no internet or web-based technology.
Conference call, using standard telephone equipment and speakerphones, was a new way to reach out and connect with distant clients.
Now, companies can save significant travel expenditure by using tele conferencing – get connected with 5, 10, or 50 co-workers, clients, or customers.
Our expert designed solutions utilize industry standards to ensure compatibility of existing networking infrastructure.
It reduces overall business travel expenses and eliminates potential risk factors to employees..
Instead of the deployment of the complete or process redevelopment or network face-lifts , a network add-on is often simpler and more effective.
Conference call rates are less and even allows timely, productive and effective communications between employees , businesses, investors, suppliers, and customers on a 24 by 7 basis without any hassles or disruptions.
When you think of video conferencing you probably picture a webcam perched on a computer or monitor recording your image and sending it out to the world.
While webcams are most frequently used by online conference participants, it is also possible to get the work done with a digital video camera.
Which webcam or digital video camera you opt for depends on your needs. Here are some points to consider when making your selection.
Nowadays, web cams can be found for under $20 and go all the way up to $150. The difference between the high end cameras and the starter web cams are usually due to the quality of image that is put out.
First, take a look at the resolution of the camera. Ideally you should get a webcam that can produce at least a 640×480 resolution.
Then check how many frames per second the camera can handle. For video conferencing the ideal level is 30 frames per second (fps).
Finally, find out what kind of sensor the camera uses. The better web cams use CCD technology instead of CMOS. Also, remember that most webcams connect to computers with a USB cable.
Digital Video Cameras
For an even better result (sharper and faster images), you can use digital video cameras. These are the same devices that are used to record home movies, etc. Digital video cameras start as low as $250 and go up to thousands of dollars.
In order to use a digital video camera, you need to make sure that the device supports a USB or a Firewire output and that it can be used as a webcam and connect you with online applications.
Whether you use a webcam or a digital video camera depends on the type of conferencing that you will be doing.
If you’re meeting in a manner in which the quality of the video is not too important, then a lower end webcam will probably suffice. However, if you need quality video, then a higher end webcam, or even a digital video camera will be required.
If you’ll be in a conference room setting, in which you need to get more than one person on camera, a digital video camera with tilt/pan/zoom capabilities will work best.
Firewire digital video cameras provide images that are so nice that you can see the second hand of a watch sweep by.
You can also see details of products and items that normal webcams simply cannot provide. This is because firewire handles the processing of video much better than USB does, allowing for smoother images and better quality.
When you are out shopping for webcams, take a look at Logitech products. They are one of the leaders in this field and have a wide variety of models.
They offer great products at reasonable prices. For digital video cameras, Canon offers a good selection and devices of excellent quality.
So, consider your needs and your budget and then find a webcam or a digital video camera that is best for you.
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