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How Does Video Conferencing Work?

written by: Regina Woodard•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 10/29/2010

In our days of trying to communicate with people in far off lands, video conferencing helps to connect people when email and IM is not going to work. But how does video conferencing work? In this article, learn how video conferencing works and why someone would want to use it.

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    What is Video Conferencing?

    What is video conferencing?

    In essence, video conferencing is a form of communication that uses video, audio, and the technology of computers in order to allow people to communicate. You can think of it as another form of online chat; however video conferencing is usually used for businesses in order to connect with remote companies and employees. For instance, let's say that a company in London would like to do business with your company here in California. How would you speak with the manager or owner of the company?

    With video conferencing, you can schedule an online meeting with the manager in London, actually see him and speak to him, which for some is a bit more personal that just sending off an email and less expensive than flying. But how does video conferencing work? What do you need for it to work and how do you set it up with other people?

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    How does Video Conferencing Work?

    Now that you know a little about what video conferencing is, how exactly does it work? The basic concept is for one person to sit in front of a computer and load up a program that allows them to use voice or video chat. This computer must have the ability for sound and have a web cam or some type of video equipment. They then connect to the person they wish to speak with, either dialing up a number or typing in an IP address. Both people connect and thus, are able to see and speak to each other. How Does Video Conferencing Work? 

    There are many components to video conferencing - audio, video, hardware, and software. Depending on the size of your company and business, the price range for these things can run from free all the way up to thousands of dollars. The set up of a video conference also depends on the size of the conference taking place - for a small group, say less than five people, the set up may include a few computers; for larger groups, there may need to be video cameras and microphones.

    For smaller groups of people, utilizing programs like Skype, Ventrilo, or even Instant Messaging with Video chat can work well. The audio and video is taken care of by the computers being used, while the software is usually free to download. The only thing that needs to be purchased is a web camera and those are fairly cheap in price.

    For larger groups, there may be the need for actual video cameras, but again it depends on the situation. If one person will be speaking to a group, they may be to utilize the same type of conferencing that a small group would employ. If a large group is speaking to another group, cameras may be needed. There may also be a need to purchase software to help.

    Overall, video conferencing is another step to bring people together, helping to bring businesses, and ideas together. Video conferencing can sometimes be the next best thing aside form traveling to another city, another state, or another country to speak to someone.

    Image content @ Morgue