PDF Videoconferencing for the Real World: Implementing Effective Visual Communications Systems

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Technical problems: The major disadvantages are the technical difficulties associated with smooth transmissions that could result from software, hardware or network failure. Remote connections are sometimes known to be hampered by environmental changes. On some occasions, the absence of technical support personnel creates difficulty for participants who are unfamiliar with the videoconferencing technological concepts. Simple features can fit into the budget, but if advanced features are required, then a substantial amount of expenditure must be done.

In my opinion, Video conferencing advantages definitely outweigh its disadvantages. It enables people from different place to communicate with each other in a more convenient way. Best 7 GoToMeeting Alternatives in Read More. Best 5 Free Webinar Platforms Advantages and Disadvantages of Video Conferencing.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Video Conferencing

Subscribe Now Get our latest article updates as soon as they are posted! Chris Lee. Posted on Mar 31, Tags: Video Conference. Join Us. The issue of eye-contact may be solved with advancing technology, including smartphones which have the screen and camera in essentially the same place. The ubiquity of smartphones , tablet computers , and computers with built-in audio and webcams in developed countries obviates the need to buy expensive hardware. The core technology used in a videotelephony system is digital compression of audio and video streams in real time. Compression rates of up to can be achieved.

The resulting digital stream of 1s and 0s is subdivided into labeled packets , which are then transmitted through a digital network of some kind usually ISDN or IP. Continuous Presence simply displays all participants at the same time, [21] usually with the exception that the viewer either does not see their own feed, or sees their own feed in miniature. Voice-Activated Switch selectively chooses a feed to display at each endpoint, with the goal of showing the person who is currently speaking.

This is done by choosing the feed other than the viewer which has the loudest audio input perhaps with some filtering to avoid switching for very short-lived volume spikes. Often if no remote parties are currently speaking, the feed with the last speaker remains on the screen. Acoustic echo cancellation AEC is a processing algorithm that uses the knowledge of audio output to monitor audio input and filter from it noises that echo back after some time delay. If unattended, these echoes can be re-amplified several times, leading to problems including:. Echo cancellation is a processor-intensive task that usually works over a narrow range of sound delays.

Videophones have historically employed a variety of transmission and reception bandwidths, which can be understood as data transmission speeds. Data transfer rates and live video image quality are related, but are also subject to other factors such as data compression techniques. Some early videophones employed very low data transmission rates with a resulting poor video quality. Broadband bandwidth is often called " high-speed ", because it usually has a high rate of data transmission.

The organization's vision is to maximize the interoperability of UC based on existing standards. Videoconferencing in the late 20th century was limited to the H.

Visual Communications Introduction

A number of call-setup methods based on instant messaging protocols such as Skype also now provide video. Another protocol used by videophones is H. Videophones that work on regular phone lines typically use H. A slightly modified version of H. There is also H. It applied mostly to dedicated circuit-based switched network point-to-point connections of moderate or high bandwidth, such as through the medium-bandwidth ISDN digital phone protocol or a fractionated high bandwidth T1 lines.

Modern products based on H. The IAX2 protocol also supports videophone calls natively, using the protocol's own capabilities to transport alternate media streams. While additional software is required to patch together multiple video feeds for conference calls or convert between dissimilar video standards, SIP calls between two identical handsets within the same PBX were relatively straightforward.

The components within a videoconferencing system can be divided up into several different layers: User Interface, Conference Control, Control or Signaling Plane, and Media Plane. Many in the industry have encountered both types of interfaces, and normally graphical interfaces are encountered on a computer. User interfaces for conferencing have a number of different uses; they can be used for scheduling, setup, and making a videocall. Through the user interface the administrator is able to control the other three layers of the system. Conference Control performs resource allocation, management, and routing.

This layer along with the User Interface creates meetings scheduled or unscheduled or adds and removes participants from a conference. These signals control incoming and outgoing connections as well as session parameters. The Media Plane controls the audio and video mixing and streaming. The RTP and UDP normally carry information such the payload type which is the type of codec, frame rate, video size, and many others.

RTCP on the other hand acts as a quality control Protocol for detecting errors during streaming.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Video Conferencing | ezTalks

Simultaneous videoconferencing among three or more remote points is possible in a hardware-based system by means of a Multipoint Control Unit MCU. This is a bridge that interconnects calls from several sources in a similar way to the audio conference call. There are MCUs which are pure software, and others which are a combination of hardware and software. An MCU is characterised according to the number of simultaneous calls it can handle, its ability to conduct transposing of data rates and protocols, and features such as Continuous Presence, in which multiple parties can be seen on-screen at once.

MCUs can be stand-alone hardware devices, or they can be embedded into dedicated videoconferencing units. The MC controls the conferencing while it is active on the signaling plane, which is simply where the system manages conferencing creation, endpoint signaling and in-conferencing controls.

This component negotiates parameters with every endpoint in the network and controls conferencing resources. While the MC controls resources and signaling negotiations, the MP operates on the media plane and receives media from each endpoint. The MP generates output streams from each endpoint and redirects the information to other endpoints in the conference.

Some systems are capable of multipoint conferencing with no MCU, stand-alone, embedded or otherwise. These use a standards-based H. The advantages of this technique are that the video and audio will generally be of higher quality because they don't have to be relayed through a central point. Also, users can make ad-hoc multipoint calls without any concern for the availability or control of an MCU.

This added convenience and quality comes at the expense of some increased network bandwidth, because every station must transmit to every other station directly. Cloud-based video conferencing can be used without the hardware generally required by other video conferencing systems, and can be designed for use by SMEs , [33] or larger international or multinational corporations like Facebook. They can also come with a video recording function to archive past meetings. High speed Internet connectivity has become more widely available at a reasonable cost and the cost of video capture and display technology has decreased.

Consequently, personal videoconferencing systems based on a webcam, personal computer system, software compression, and broadband Internet connectivity have become progressively more affordable to the general public. Also, the hardware used for this technology has continued to improve in quality, and prices have dropped dramatically.

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The availability of freeware often as part of chat programs has made software based videoconferencing accessible to many. The widest deployment of video telephony now occurs in mobile phones. Nearly all mobile phones supporting UMTS networks can work as videophones using their internal cameras, and are able to make video calls wirelessly to other UMTS users in the same country or internationally. Deaf, hard-of-hearing , and mute individuals have a particular role in the development of affordable high-quality videotelephony as a means of communicating with each other in sign language.

Unlike Video Relay Service , which is intended to support communication between a caller using sign language and another party using spoken language, videoconferencing can be used directly between two deaf signers. Videophones are increasingly used in the provision of telemedicine to the elderly, disabled, and to those in remote locations, where the ease and convenience of quickly obtaining diagnostic and consultative medical services are readily apparent.

Benefits of Video Conferencing

Such units are capable of relaying both regular audiovideo plus medical data over either standard POTS telephone or newer broadband lines. Videotelephony has also been deployed in corporate teleconferencing , also available through the use of public access videoconferencing rooms. A higher level of videoconferencing that employs advanced telecommunication technologies and high-resolution displays is called telepresence.

Today the principles, if not the precise mechanisms, of a videophone are employed by many users worldwide in the form of webcam videocalls using personal computers, with inexpensive webcams, microphones, and free videocalling Web client programs. Thus an activity that was disappointing as a separate service has found a niche as a minor feature in software products intended for other purposes.

Transmission: Communication Skills for Technicians

According to Juniper Research, smartphone videophone users will reach 29 million by globally. In the United States, videoconferencing has allowed testimony to be used for an individual who is unable or prefers not to attend the physical legal settings, or would be subjected to severe psychological stress in doing so, however there is a controversy on the use of testimony by foreign or unavailable witnesses via video transmission, regarding the violation of the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment of the U. In a military investigation in North Carolina , Afghan witnesses have testified via videoconferencing.

In Hall County, Georgia , videoconferencing systems are used for initial court appearances. The systems link jails with court rooms, reducing the expenses and security risks of transporting prisoners to the courtroom. The U. Social Security Administration SSA , which oversees the world's largest administrative judicial system under its Office of Disability Adjudication and Review ODAR , [44] has made extensive use of videoconferencing to conduct hearings at remote locations.

Louis , Missouri. This continues the SSA's effort to use video hearings as a means to clear its substantial hearing backlog. Videoconferencing provides students with the opportunity to learn by participating in two-way communication forums. Furthermore, teachers and lecturers worldwide can be brought to remote or otherwise isolated educational facilities. Students from diverse communities and backgrounds can come together to learn about one another through practices known as telecollaboration [47] [48] in foreign language education and virtual exchange , although language barriers will continue to be present.

Such students are able to explore, communicate, analyze, and share information and ideas with one another. Through videoconferencing, students can visit other parts of the world to speak with their peers, as well as visit museums and other cultural and educational facilities. Such virtual field trips can provide enriched learning opportunities to students, especially those in geographically isolated locations, and to the economically disadvantaged.

Small schools can use these technologies to pool resources and provide courses, such as in foreign languages, which could not otherwise be offered. Videoconferencing is a highly useful technology for real-time telemedicine and telenursing applications, such as diagnosis , consulting, transmission of medical images , etc.

With videoconferencing, patients may contact nurses and physicians in emergency or routine situations; physicians and other paramedical professionals can discuss cases across large distances. Rural areas can use this technology for diagnostic purposes, thus saving lives and making more efficient use of health care money. Special peripherals such as microscopes fitted with digital cameras , videoendoscopes , medical ultrasound imaging devices, otoscopes , etc. Recent developments in mobile collaboration on hand-held mobile devices have also extended video-conferencing capabilities to locations previously unreachable, such as a remote community, long-term care facility, or a patient's home.

Videoconferencing can enable individuals in distant locations to participate in meetings on short notice, with time and money savings. Technology such as VoIP can be used in conjunction with desktop videoconferencing to enable low-cost face-to-face business meetings without leaving the desk, especially for businesses with widespread offices.

The technology is also used for telecommuting , in which employees work from home. Intel Corporation have used videoconferencing to reduce both costs and environmental impacts of its business operations. Videoconferencing is also currently being introduced on online networking websites, in order to help businesses form profitable relationships quickly and efficiently without leaving their place of work. This has been leveraged by banks to connect busy banking professionals with customers in various locations using video banking technology. Videoconferencing on hand-held mobile devices mobile collaboration technology is being used in industries such as manufacturing, energy, healthcare, insurance, government, and public safety.

Live, visual interaction removes traditional restrictions of distance and time, often in locations previously unreachable, such as a manufacturing plant floor thousands of miles away. In the increasingly globalized film industry , videoconferencing has become useful as a method by which creative talent in many different locations can collaborate closely on the complex details of film production. For example, for the award-winning animated film Frozen , Burbank -based Walt Disney Animation Studios hired the New York City -based husband-and-wife songwriting team of Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez to write the songs, which required two-hour-long transcontinental videoconferences nearly every weekday for about 14 months.

With the development of lower cost endpoints, cloud based infrastructure and technology trends such as WebRTC, Video Conferencing is moving from just a business-to-business offering, to a business-to-business and business-to-consumer offering. Although videoconferencing has frequently proven its value, research has shown that some non-managerial employees prefer not to use it due to several factors, including anxiety.

Remote workers can also adopt certain behaviors and best practices to stay connected with their co-workers and company. Researchers also find that attendees of business and medical videoconferences must work harder to interpret information delivered during a conference than they would if they attended face-to-face.


The concept of press videoconferencing was developed in October by the PanAfrican Press Association APPA , a Paris France-based non-governmental organization , to allow African journalists to participate in international press conferences on developmental and good governance issues. Press videoconferencing permits international press conferences via videoconferencing over the Internet.

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Journalists can participate on an international press conference from any location, without leaving their offices or countries. They need only be seated by a computer connected to the Internet in order to ask their questions to the speaker. In , the International Monetary Fund introduced the Online Media Briefing Center, a password-protected site available only to professional journalists. The site enables the IMF to present press briefings globally and facilitates direct questions to briefers from the press.

The site has been copied by other international organizations since its inception. More than 4, journalists worldwide are currently registered with the IMF. The use of sign language via videotelephony was hampered for many years due to the difficulty of its use over slow analogue copper phone lines , [69] coupled with the high cost of better quality ISDN data phone lines. Significant improvements in video call quality of service for the deaf occurred in the United States in when Sorenson Media Inc.

It was designed to output its video to the user's television in order to lower the cost of acquisition, and to offer remote control and a powerful video compression codec for unequaled video quality and ease of use with video relay services. Favourable reviews quickly led to its popular usage at educational facilities for the deaf, and from there to the greater deaf community. Coupled with similar high-quality videophones introduced by other electronics manufacturers, the availability of high speed Internet , and sponsored video relay services authorized by the U.

Federal Communications Commission in , VRS services for the deaf underwent rapid growth in that country. Using such video equipment in the present day, the deaf, hard-of-hearing, and speech-impaired can communicate between themselves and with hearing individuals using sign language. Telecommunication equipment can be used to talk to others via a sign language interpreter, who uses a conventional telephone at the same time to communicate with the deaf person's party.

The relative low cost and widespread availability of 3G mobile phone technology with video calling capabilities have given deaf and speech-impaired users a greater ability to communicate with the same ease as others. Some wireless operators have even started free sign language gateways. Sign language interpretation services via VRS or by VRI are useful in the present day where one of the parties is deaf , hard-of-hearing , or speech-impaired mute.

Multilingual sign language interpreters , who can also translate as well across principal languages such as a multilingual interpreter interpreting a call from a deaf person using ASL to reserve a hotel room at a hotel in the Dominican Republic whose staff speaks Spanish only, therefore the interpreter has to utilize ASL, spoken Spanish, and spoken English to facilitate the call for the deaf person , are also available, albeit less frequently. Such activities involve considerable mental processing efforts on the part of the translator, since sign languages are distinct natural languages with their own construction , semantics and syntax , different from the aural version of the same principal language.

With video interpreting, sign language interpreters work remotely with live video and audio feeds, so that the interpreter can see the deaf or mute party, and converse with the hearing party, and vice versa. Much like telephone interpreting , video interpreting can be used for situations in which no on-site interpreters are available. However, video interpreting cannot be used for situations in which all parties are speaking via telephone alone.

Some advanced equipment enables interpreters to control the video camera remotely, in order to zoom in and out or to point the camera toward the party that is signing. The name "videophone" never became as standardized as its earlier counterpart "telephone", resulting in a variety of names and terms being used worldwide, and even within the same region or country. Videophones are also known as "video phones", "videotelephones" or "video telephones" and often by an early trademarked name Picturephone , which was the world's first commercial videophone produced in volume.

The compound name "videophone" slowly entered into general use after , [72] although "video telephone" likely entered the lexicon earlier after video was coined in Videophone calls also: videocalls , video chat [74] as well as Skype and Skyping in verb form [75] , differ from videoconferencing in that they expect to serve individuals, not groups.

In general everyday usage the term videoconferencing is now frequently used instead of videocall for point-to-point calls between two units. Both videophone calls and videoconferencing are also now commonly referred to as a video link. Webcams are popular, relatively low cost devices which can provide live video and audio streams via personal computers, and can be used with many software clients for both video calls and videoconferencing. A videoconference system is generally higher cost than a videophone and deploys greater capabilities. A videoconference also known as a videoteleconference allows two or more locations to communicate via live, simultaneous two-way video and audio transmissions.

This is often accomplished by the use of a multipoint control unit a centralized distribution and call management system or by a similar non-centralized multipoint capability embedded in each videoconferencing unit. Again, technology improvements have circumvented traditional definitions by allowing multiple party videoconferencing via web-based applications. A telepresence system is a high-end videoconferencing system and service usually employed by enterprise-level corporate offices.

Telepresence conference rooms use state-of-the art room designs, video cameras, displays, sound-systems and processors, coupled with high-to-very-high capacity bandwidth transmissions. Typical use of the various technologies described above include calling or conferencing on a one-on-one, one-to-many or many-to-many basis for personal, business, educational, deaf Video Relay Service and tele-medical, diagnostic and rehabilitative use or services. New services utilizing videocalling and videoconferencing, such as teachers and psychologists conducting online sessions, [78] personal videocalls to inmates incarcerated in penitentiaries , and videoconferencing to resolve airline engineering issues at maintenance facilities , are being created or evolving on an ongoing basis.

A telepresence robot also telerobotics is a robotically controlled and motorized video conferencing display to help give a better sense of remote physical presence for communication and collaboration in an office, home, school, etc. The robotic avatar device can move about and look around at the command of the remote person it represents.

In science fiction literature, names commonly associated with videophones include "telephonoscope", "telephote", viewphone , vidphone , vidfone , and visiphone. The first example was probably the cartoon "Edison's Telephonoscope" by George du Maurier in Punch In many science fiction movies and TV programs that are set in the future, videophones were used as a primary method of communication. One of the first movies where a videophone was used was Fritz Lang's Metropolis Other notable examples of videophones in popular culture include an iconic scene from the film A Space Odyssey set on Space Station V.

Film director Stanley Kubrick strove for scientific accuracy, relying on interviews with scientists and engineers at Bell Labs in the United States. Larry Rabiner of Bell Labs, discussing videophone research in the documentary The Making of a Myth , stated that in the mid-to-lates videophones " Kubrick and the people who reported to him".

In one movie scene a central character, Dr. Heywood Floyd, calls home to contact his family, a social feature noted in the Making of a Myth. Floyd talks with and views his daughter from a space station in orbit above the Earth , discussing what type of present he should bring home for her. A portable videophone is also featured prominently in the science fiction movie Moon , where the story's protagonist, Sam Bell, also calls home as well to communicate with loved ones.

Bell, the lone occupant of a mining station on the far side of the Earth's moon, finally succeeds in making his videocall after an extended work period, but becomes traumatized when viewing his daughter. Other popular science fiction works with videophones include the films Space: , Total Recall , and Blade Runner , and the series Star Trek and all its franchise successors , Max Headroom , and Firefly. The videophone was also a staple, everyday technology in the futuristic s Hanna Barbera cartoon The Jetsons.

Other earlier examples of videophones in popular culture included a videophone that was featured in the Warner Bros.