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CoIP, or communications over Internet protocol, is a process used for transmitting multimedia over the Internet. Considered to be the next logical advancement in online communications, CoIP takes the voice capabilities inherent in VoIP or voice over Internet protocol and adds in the ability to transmit images, videos, and text with equal ease. The result is a real-time communication experience that is very similar to gathering in one physical location, even though the participants may be located all over the world.
Because of the interactive capabilities of this communication method, CoIP is also sometimes identified as collaboration over Internet protocol. This designation focuses on the ability of people to share documents and work on them together in a manner not unlike gathering in a conference room. Thus, CoIP allows several people to contribute to enhancing a document in real time, rather than the participants suggesting changes or additions and receiving an amended copy of the document for review later. With this level of online collaboration, everyone sees the final draft before the meeting ends.
CoIP is also sometimes used to refer to conferencing over Internet protocol. This particular designation focuses on the ability to use this technology in much the same manner as traditional audio conferencing, only with the addition of a visual component. For example, regional retail managers can hold a weekly meeting with district managers and not only hear verbal reports, but also view any supporting documents that the district manager wishes to share with the group.
Because CoIP uses existing technology, the cost for holding a meeting using this approach is extremely reasonable. Along with large corporations, small businesses and even non-profit organizations can make use of this communication tool without breaking the budget. The combination of audio transmissions with two-way video transmissions, document sharing, and document collaboration can save a great deal of time and money when it comes to travel expenses or scheduling time out to travel to a central location.
In order to take advantage of CoIP applications, it is necessary for all participants to use a high speed connection. Internet connections such as dial-up are usually too slow to properly support any of the communication processes inherent in this communication process. The installation of some type of software as well as hardware components may also be necessary. Information technology professionals can evaluate current equipment and connectivity to determine what, if any, changes or additions must be made before a location can participate in an online meeting using CoIP as the foundation.