As video conferencing has moved from the realm of science fiction over the past several decades to the domain of everyday applications, interactive telecommunication technologies are allowing more and more locations to interact via two-way video and audio transmissions simultaneously.
Video conferencing has also been called visual collaboration and is a type of groupware. Video conferencing is also designed to serve a conference as well as individuals.
Video conferencing uses telecommunications of audio and video to bring people at different sites together for a meeting. This can be as simple as a conversation between two people in private offices (point-to-point) or involve several sites (multi-point) with more than one person in large rooms at different sites.
Besides the audio and visual transmission of people, video conferencing can be used to share documents, computer-displayed information, and whiteboards.
Unlike the instant messaging or VoIP
providers that treat video as an afterthought to their other features, companies such as SightSpeed (News - Alert) bring video conferencing solutions to consumers.
The core technology for video conferencing used in the company’s videoteleconference (VTC) system is digital compression
of audio and video streams in real-time. The hardware or software that performs compression for video conferencing is called a codec (coder/decoder) and compression rates of up to 1:500 can be achieved using it.
The resulting digital stream of 1's and 0's is subdivided into labeled packets. which are then transmitted through a digital network of some kind (usually ISDN or IP
). The use of audio modems in the transmission line of video conferencing allow for the use of POTS, or the Plain Old Telephone System, in some low-speed applications, such as video telephony, because they convert the digital pulses to/from analog waves in the audio spectrum range.
SightSpeed differentiates its video conferencing services by adding rich and innovative voice and video features including outbound and inbound telephony calling, integrated video mail, multi-party video conferencing, and a unique "click to call me" web address for every SightSpeed video conferencing user.
Tim Gray is a Web Editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To see more of his articles, please visit Tim Gray’s columnist page.