Conferencing on the web refers to a range of activities involving communicating live audio and video from one communicator to a number of others who receive the communication.
- Often used for education purposes, web conferencing can include “webinars” which are video seminars or interactional training sessions that resemble lecture/demonstrations and where in some cases question-asking may be possible.
- It includes “webcasts” where one speaker distributes live audio and video to a large group.
- It also includes peer-level web meetings, where a number of participants can be seen on the screen and can speak or present images to each other in real-time. The quality of video in the case of web meetings may be limited and motion may not be smooth in some cases because of bandwidth limits.
Conferencing on the web is based on TCP/IP connecting technology which allows real-time point-to-point communications, as well as multicasts from one sender to many receivers. It offers data streams of text-based messages, voice and video chat over an unlimited geographic range, connecting any web-connected computers.
Conferencing on the web software may simply run as a browser application relying on Adobe Flash, Java, or Web Real Time Communication (RTC) capability. Other web conferencing capability may be offered by web conferencing services that require all participant to download and install proprietary software which runs locally on each participating computer.
There is a variety of conferencing on the web vendors who host web conferences as a service, allowing varied numbers of participants and powers of document exchange, etc. Some vendors install proprietary computer appliances that replace the office PCs and permit large screens and other presentation options. Some even install professional video cameras that connect to the web through an IEEE 1394 interface.
As part of the video conference, participants may be able to display their computer screens, sometimes allowing for colleagues to adjust or add to images on the screen. Sometimes visual support is limited to uploaded Power-Point presentations or other digital documents.
These vender-hosted conferencing on the web services are offered as a licensed service charging fixed per minute fees, monthly or annual feed based on contracted numbers of meetings and participants (i.e, “seats”).
Some people make the distinction between web conferencing and video conferencing. According to this distinction, conferencing on the web refers to the lower participation options, that is, one-to-many communication. Video conferencing refers to the one-on-one real-time communication applications. Most commentators no longer make that distinction, but use the term “web conferencing” for all conferencing that uses internet protocols.
The first video conferences were conducted over closed-circuit television between stations connected via cable. During the 1960s, the idea of a video-phone drew widespread excitement and the first video phone hardware was demonstrated at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. The first “Picturephone” was introduced to the commercial market by AT&T in 1970. A Network Video Protocol was developed to speed analog picture communication in 1976 and a Packet Video Protocol was introduced in 1981. But analog video conferencing remained very expensive and limited to experimental and limited private corporate use. Practical video conferencing systems awaited the development of the Internet Protocol in 1991. The 1990s saw the full development of internet-based conferencing that came with the development of capability on the personal computer.
Visit Clarus Communications here or call us at 855-801-6700 to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff so we can work with you on finding the right for your web conferencing service for your business at the most affordable rates. Our goal is to ensure high levels of customer service plus building and maintaining a system that enables your business to run well.
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