Video conference calls came into existence during the late 19th century in the United Kingdom and the United States. It was invented by Mr.John Logie Baird and AT&T’s Bell Labs.
The world’s first commercial video call took place exactly 51 years ago on the 1st of July 1970. It was between the Pittsburg mayor Peter Flaherty and Alcoa CEO John Harper on a device called Picturephone Mod II.
What is Video Conference?
Video conferencing is an online meeting where two or more people engage in a live audio-video conversation. The members can see, hear and talk with each other in real-time, no matter where in the world they are.
Businesses situated in different places consider it as a better option. Video conferencing saves time, reduces expenses, and minimizes the hassles associated with traveling. It refers to the transfer of audio-video signals by users in different places, for communication between them in real-time.
Video conference calls saw an increase amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic. As companies were no longer able to conduct face-to-face interviews these were the best option available.
Today video conferencing has become one of the most essential components in the modern business world. It helps to improve the connectedness of team members all over the world.
Types of Video Conferencing
There are two main types of video conferencing. They are:
Point-to-point Video Conferencing
Point-to-point video conferencing is a setup limited to only two locations. In this type of conference call, there is a better chance for clearer signal and lesser time lag. Skype is a point-to-point video conferencing tool. Example: one-on-one customer support and job interviews.
Multipoint Video Conferencing
Group video conferencing involves situations where there are more than two participants, making it ideal for businesses that have offices in several locations. A conference bridge is a software used for multipoint video conferencing. Example: team meetings and webinars. You can also use online meeting apps for better quality.
How Does Video Conference Calls Work?
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) makes voice communications over the internet possible. To transfer audio and video signals between two locations the VoIP relies on codecs.
We have classified how video conference calls work into five easy steps. They are:
Two or more people communicate through audio and video
Video conferencing includes two or more people communicating with each other. Through a computer that has a webcam and speakers. Along with a well-established internet connection.
Today’s video conference calls can include tens or hundreds of people. With the advent of new technologies, video conferencing continues to evolve and grow and has moved beyond computers. People can now communicate through mobile devices or digital screens accompanied by cameras and microphones.
Converting Audio-Visual (AV) inputs into digital data
When the end-users communicate, the audio-visual (AV) input is captured with a camera and microphone. These audio and video inputs are converted from analog to digital by video conferencing software.
Compressing the digital video and audio
The digital data is converted into digital packets using special compression software. It enables the data to move faster over a Wi-Fi or internet connection. The audio and video clarity depends on the system’s compression ratio. A higher compression ratio like 100:1 will provide a fluid, real-time communication experience.
The audio and video data reaches its destination
After reaching the other endpoint(s), the video conferencing software decompresses the digital data to its original size and converts it into analog form. It helps the users to understand the audio-visual data on their computer screens.
The listener sees and hears the content
Along with providing crystal clear audio and video, most of the virtual conferencing software today takes a few extra steps. Such as ensuring that the audio and video are in sync, acoustic echo cancelation. This removes sound interference (such as overlapping speech) from the other user(s) and eliminates sound delays if any.
Components of Video Conferencing System
Video conferencing brings people working in various places together in a virtual meeting room. To make this possible, you will need the following:
- An established internet connection
- A video display device like a laptop, desktop, or a television screen
- A computer or conference phone
- Other peripherals like webcam, microphone, headset, speaker, etc.
Key Video Conferencing Features You Will Want
A good video conferencing solution empowers your team to be productive no matter where in the world they are. Video conferencing platforms are one of the most important business communication tools available.
Video conferencing software offers a wide range of features to provide a perfect online meeting experience. Some of them are as follows.
Screen sharing is a vital feature for interactive meetings and webinars, which will make it easier for participants in the video conference calls to follow what the presenter is explaining. Sharing the screen with other participants will help everyone be on the same page.
This feature allows the participants to ask doubts or questions without interrupting the speaker. Most apps offer private and group chat options and allow to save chat logs. Note: The messages will be visible to everyone in the meeting.
Paper shuffling, sound from the vehicle, typing on a keyboard, and other background noises can make the speaker’s sound inaudible, which will make it difficult to understand what he has to convey. This feature helps to reduce noises that can distract the participants’ attention.
Video Call Recording
The video call recording feature enables recording video meetings to stream later. Video recording is usually done for documentation purposes. It is also used to help someone who could not attend the meeting to catch up with the discussion.
When you are busy and need to attend a meeting on another device, this feature helps you seamlessly switch between devices in the middle of a call. Device switching is only possible for the host and co-host of the video conference. Some settings and data like already sent chat messages and submitted Q&A might not be available.
This video conference call feature is something that you will not want to miss in a collaborative meeting. With the remote control feature, the participants can have direct control over the computer’s keyboard and mouse, which will make it possible for them to edit and make changes to shared documents in real-time.
Benefits of Using Video Conferencing
The presence of video conference call in today’s business world is an inevitable one. Video conferencing is transforming the way businesses communicate and collaborate in the modern world. Below are the reasons why it is playing such a vital role in the way people work today.
1. Digital workplace Support
Video conferencing not only builds a more collaborative meeting culture. It is also a foundation for enabling today’s digital workforce. Video conference calls help organizations operate without physical offices and hire staff from all over the world. It helps the team maintain human connections, regardless of their physical locations. Which helps speed up decision-making and improves the ability to collaborate globally.
2. Improved Productivity
Video conferring software comes with multiple features that enhance collaboration. None of these features is possible with other forms of communication like audio conferencing, SMS, or email.
3. Superior Communication
Video conference calls provide a fast and secure way to communicate with others. We, humans, understand visual data faster than text or audio. Visuals can also help keep the participants attentive and focused on the discussion.
4. Time and Cost Savings
Nowadays, the goals of a face-to-face meeting can also be accomplished through video conferencing. Job interviews, webinars, and business meetings are done without spending money and time to travel.
5. Well-Structured Meetings
The start and end dates of a video conference are usually predefined. Because of this, the participants have to stick to the time and agenda of the meeting. Also, they will not have time for idle talks.
5 Tips for Better Video Conference Calls
Video conference calls are and will be the key element of the modern business world in the long run. Following these five tips for better video conference calls will help you ensure a smooth and professional virtual meeting experience.
1. Mute Yourself When Not Speaking
Even though you are not speaking, most microphones pick up noises around us. These noises can easily distract other participants in the video conference. Make it a practice, out of common courtesy towards your colleagues, to mute your microphone while you are not talking. The mute function allows the conversion of the main speaker to flow uninterrupted.
2. Frame the Camera Correctly
When you are on a video conference call, make sure that you set your camera in a way that allows others to see you correctly. The camera should be in such a manner that it feels natural and allows you to look straight into it. Make sure that you are sitting eye-level to the camera. Try to position yourself correctly so that people can see your straight-on perspective. Putting the camera too high leaves other participants staring down at you. While putting it too low leads to unflattering and awkward angles.
3. Test Your Technology
Before joining the video conference call, make sure that you test your speakers, microphones, and camera. It will give you additional time to update your technology or troubleshoot the program if necessary. Also, do check your internet connection to avoid any glitches and lag during the conference call. If you plan to share your screen with other participants, then take time to close all unnecessary apps and tabs.
4. Choose the Right Environment
While choosing the perfect environment for your video conference call, it’s all about the location you are planning to sit. As we all know, an ideal location will be a quiet place with good lighting, without any distractions. Try to avoid sitting near a noisy fan, whirring refrigerator, or a high-traffic area. Remove any inappropriate wall art or distracting home decor till the video conference call ends. It also goes with attention-seeking partners, kids, pets, and lazy roommates.
5. Dress Appropriately and Be on Time
While you might be more comfortable wearing your favorite sweatshirt at home. Consider wearing professional attire to any video conference calls you are attending. Wear something that would be more appropriate for face-to-face meetings, rather than a virtual one.
Eye contact is an inevitable part of every video conference call, as you will want all the participants to feel engaged. Try to be on time for every meeting. When you walk in late for a virtual meeting, it will be difficult for you to get set with the technology.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the five requirements for using video conferencing?
The basic requirements for video conferencing are:
- High-resolution camera
- Sufficient network bandwidth
- Good video conferencing software
- Fast computer processing
- Video conferencing system
- Video display screen
2. What are the five best video conferencing tools?
Following are the five most popular video conferencing tools:
- Google Meet
3. Video conferencing etiquette 2021
Below are the ten tips for improving video conferencing etiquette:
- Be prompt
- Dress professionally
- Make sure that other participants can see and hear you
- Mute your mic
- Follow the agenda outlining participation expectations
- Avoid multitasking
- Don’t hesitate to ask questions
- Make use of the chat and poll functions
- Follow up with participants after the conference call
- Don’t eat while on the meeting
4. How do I make video conference calls better?
Here are some tips to look stunning and feel confident on video conference calls.
- Dress for the camera
- Sit in a spacious room
- Set up good lighting
- Put the camera at eye-level
- Clean the room in which you are planning to sit
- Use makeup and make yourself presentable
Video conferencing is a virtual meeting where two or more people engage in a live audio-video conversation. It is an online technology that allows users in different locations to hold meetings without shifting into a single place.
Video conference call is one of the essential components in the modern business world. There are mainly two types of video conferencing.
- Point-to-point video conferencing
- Multipoint video conferencing.
Generally, video conferencing works through the following steps.
- Two or more people communicate through audio and video.
- Converting audio-visual (AV) inputs into digital data.
- Compressing the digital video and audio.
- The audio and video data reaches its destination.
- The listener sees and hears the content.
Five tips for better video conference calls are:
- Mute yourself when not speaking.
- Frame the camera correctly
- Test your technology
- Choose the right environment
- Dress appropriately and be on time
Finally, I would like to say that the presence of video conferencing is an inevitable one. It will be an important element in the modern business world for a long time. Therefore it is required for everyone to have a good knowledge and understanding of the video conference call is.