What Is Online Video Conferencing?

G. Wiesen

Online video conferencing is a method by which people at different locations are able to communicate and see each other through computer hardware and an Internet connection. This type of conferencing can be used for a number of different reasons, including personal recreational use and business and professional networking. While different services offer such conferencing, most of these methods require the installation of software that allows users to connect and both see and hear each other. Online video conferencing platforms can also allow users to share documents and computer files, allowing employees to work on a project together in real time using such conferencing.

Families and friends separated by distance can use online video conferencing platforms to say hello to one another.
Families and friends separated by distance can use online video conferencing platforms to say hello to one another.

Since online video conferencing can be achieved with relatively little expense, a wide variety of people can use it for a variety of reasons. All that is typically required is a computer with a decent Internet connection and a webcam and microphone. Additional software to establish the conferencing connection is offered by a number of different companies, and many of these programs are free to download and use. This allows people to use online video conferencing for personal communications, such as a parent using video chat to talk long distance with a child.

Video conferencing may help reduce a business's travel expenses.
Video conferencing may help reduce a business's travel expenses.

Online video conferencing is frequently used for professional and business purposes, however, as it can allow distant people to communicate and work together more easily. In the past, information often had to be sent between distant locations of a large business through the mail and other services. Now, however, people at distant locations can talk to each other quickly and easily, while using online video conferencing to also see each other for more effective and authentic communication. While verbal communication may be all that is necessary in some instances, it is often valuable to allow non-verbal communication and the inclusion of visual aids in business meetings.

Some online video conferencing software even allows users who are connected in a conference to share files and documents. This can be used in some applications to send files between users quickly and easily, without ever leaving the conferencing software. Other programs can even allow users to open a document through a host platform, which they are all connected to, and view and make changes to that document in real time. Businesses can use such online video conferencing to allow employees to quickly communicate, work together, and even create group projects or presentations through live audio and video chat with little additional expense to the company.

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