What Is Video Conferencing & Why Is it Important?

by Franki Colbert
A webcam used for video conferencing.

A webcam used for video conferencing.

Video conferencing provides educators and businesses with the opportunity to learn, share and interact across distances. Video conferencing technology utilizes both the telephone and a video camera. The camera is often connected to a laptop or desktop computer. Video conferencing improves productivity and reduces travel time. Individuals using video conferencing can share data with each other and transfer information such as photos or documents.

Government

Government agencies use video conferencing in different ways, such as training employees, conducting meetings and conducting employee appraisals. Courts use the technology to cut travel time for court attendees. It is also used as an added security measure. The video conferencing software helps agencies operationally by improving efficiency and meeting logistics.

Distance Education

Video conferencing technology enables students to attend classes remotely. Some colleges and universities offer full degree programs completely online. This offers greater flexibility to students and professors. Students and lecturers can meet individually through video conferencing and lecturers can hold classes online. Students with video cameras can see the professors and other students equipped with similar video equipment.

Medical Field

Professionals in the medical field can utilize video conferencing technology to communicate with each other. Doctors can consult with specialists regarding specific treatment options. They can send a patient to see a specialist for a specific illness and the specialist can virtually meet with the referring doctor to discuss the test results and discuss potential treatment options. Internationally, video conferencing use entails treating patients abroad and consulting with medical professionals in other locations through video conferencing.

Business

Often business professionals have to travel long distances to meet with customers or colleagues. Video conferencing allows them to meet virtually. Employees can work from home or at any other location with an internet connection and attend meetings through video conferencing. Lawyers can use video conferencing to conduct meetings as well.

Requirements

To use video conferencing technology, people often need to install video conferencing software. Companies often purchase and make this software available to employees who will need to utilize video conferencing. Users will need a computer and a video web camera. This camera connects directly to the computer. Conference rooms often may include video cameras connected in the room itself. Companies also will need to train employees to utilize the video conferencing technology.

About the Author

Franki Colbert has been writing professionally since 2002, focusing primarily on career development and human-resources technology issues. Her work regularly appears on Break and other websites. Colbert is a certified product manager and product-marketing manager. She also holds a certificate in project management from New York University and a Bachelor of Arts in business administration.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera video camera image by rafalwit from Fotolia.com