TMCnews Featured Article
Video Conferencing Gets the Gold
By Robbie Pleasant, TMCnet Contributor
When video chats first hit the market, they seemed like amusing tools for consumers – a relatively simple way to entertain and keep in touch. Despite this, their applications towards businesses seemed quite limited. While it was nice to see the person you’re talking to, the video quality wasn’t that great, lag was common and calls could be dropped pretty easily.
Those days are long gone now; instead, we’re at the point where video is not only an accepted and preferred tool for communications, but one would be considered a fool to go without it.
So, what exactly caused this shift? It was a slow process, but the improvements in technology made it easier to adopt video and VoIP into the workplace. With Skype (News - Alert) and Facetime becoming increasingly popular amongst consumers worldwide, it became clear that video chatting had its uses within businesses, and video conferencing began to grow in popularity.
We all remember this heart-warming Oreos commercial promoting the use of video chat services and solutions – even to simultaneously dunk your favorite cookie into a glass of milk:
Of course, the technology behind it began to improve as well, with more high definition cameras and software hitting the market – cue HD video conferencing – as well as the introduction of multi-conferencing capabilities, application integration and improved security.
The more companies began to invest in video software, the better it became.
Today, it’s hard to imagine video not being an integral part of business communications. Even during the Olympics, it was a key tool for many organizations. For example, while many London employees were advised to telecommute to avoid the crowd, video communications were vital for keeping business flow active. For companies not based in London, it proved essential for keeping communication alive.
For instance, in an interesting use of video technology during the Olympics, Panasonic’s (News - Alert) RUN@LONDON website used videos from the torch running and the locations in it to create a virtual torch-running experience. Users could log in and create a virtual avatar that they could then control, moving their virtual self through a video-formed version of London, from St. Paul’s Cathedral to Buckingham Palace. The high definition images captured a 360 degree view of every area, creating as close as one can get to a real online experience of London.
Of course, video technology is not perfect yet. While programs such as Facetime and Skype helped make video communications more popular, their lack of communication with each other proves frustrating for those who prefer one over the other, finding that they have to download multiple programs to communicate with all their contacts.
Video rooms are also still limited in size, sometimes taking up considerable bandwidth to host a large amount of people. Video quality isn’t always perfect, as it depends heavily on the camera on each side of the conversation, but that is a problem slowly being worked upon.
Today, there are several different video communication tools to choose from, both in a professional and every day environment. On top of those mentioned, there’s Google (News - Alert)+ Hangouts, the new Zoom.us – even video games are gaining video technology, such as the Nintendo 3DS with its 3D video camera, and the “X-Transceiver.” Wi-Fi video chat tool is even in the latest “Pokemon” games, of all things.
As video becomes more common outside of businesses, its need in a professional environment grows exponentially greater. One thing’s for sure, and that’s that high definition video tools are continually being released and improved upon to help us stay as strongly connected as we can.
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Edited by Allison Boccamazzo