A video conference is a live, visual connection between two or more people residing in separate locations for the purpose of communication. At its simplest, video conferencing provides transmission of static images and text between two locations. At its most sophisticated, it provides transmission of full-motion video images and high-quality audio between multiple locations.
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Consumer services -- like Apple's FaceTime, Google's Hangouts and Microsoft's Skype -- have made video conferencing ubiquitous on desktops and mobile devices that have an embedded camera. In the business world, desktop video conferencing is a core component of unified communications applications and Web conferencing services, while cloud-based virtual meeting room services enable organizations to deploy video conferencing with minimal infrastructure investment.
For businesses, the tangible benefits of video conferencing include lower travel costs -- especially for employee training -- and shortened project times as a result of improved communications among team members.
The intangible benefits of video conferencing include more efficient meetings with the exchange of non-verbal communications and a stronger sense of community among business contacts, both within and between companies, as well as with customers. On a personal level, the face-to-face connection adds non-verbal communication to the exchange and allows participants to develop a stronger sense of familiarity with individuals they may never actually meet in person.
See a video on the benefits of video conferencing:
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