video conference (video conferencing)

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Unified communications technology basics
Contributor(s): Irwin Lazar

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.

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:

This was last updated in June 2016

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Video conferencing is one of the many modes of unified communications.

Video conferencing is a higher-end benefit of UC. Learn other ways that unified communications can improve productivity.

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In your experience, what have been the major benefits and drawbacks of video conferencing in your enterprise?
Video conferencing certainly is an expensive solution these days. Great article. Imagine if communicating were always free. What a world that would be!


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