What is Video Conferencing?
Video conferencing offers possibility to people at distant and different locations to participate to a real-time meeting, lecture or conference with the colleagues who are at other offices instead of enduring many inconveniences of coming together to meet face to face. Discussing mutually, working together and sharing data (presentations, technical drawings, budget files, …) with employees at other offices and branches are possible. The drawing or application can be used even at the same time. Participants express themselves to people at other locations via the microphone and camera while they use the TV or computer screen to get their sound and picture. Video conferencing is a different form of the comfort of face to face interaction through a variety of devices.
Appealing Aspects of Video Conferencing
· It puts an end to the time loss of the managers of different branches when they had to come to the headquarters for meetings.
· It reinforces team collaboration.
· It creates opportunities to hold meetings instantly. Thus, it offers the possibility of making decisions very quickly.
· Thanks to the possibility of instant communication with the executives, the overall productivity increases and that consecutively will increase the productivity of the key persons of the company (corporate executives, successful employees of the firm).
· The executives’ fatigue and depression will decrease as a direct result of getting rid of many inconveniences she/he endured just to hold a physical meeting.
· As researches point out, travel expenses bring a huge burden to companies. Owing to video conferencing, travel expenses will decrease surprisingly.
· It increases mobility. In this way, place and location dependence will be eliminated, the opportunity to participate to the meetings from different points will arise. Thanks to the laptops, which can be carried handheld, physical location dependency to gather a meeting will be completely eliminated.
· Video conferencing allows meetings to be more efficient, as well as the meetings, which couldn’t be done because of necessity, can be assembled because of the opportunity of holding more meetings in a shorter period of time.
· Participating to a meeting was kept to a minimum due to cost and time issues. Video conferencing gives possibility to organizing meetings with higher participation rate due to its minimizing of cost and time issues.
· In fact, firms take risks of accidents by sending their valuable employees to different cities for meetings. Through video conferencing, we increase the safety of administrative staff by eliminating the necessity of travel.
· Training expenses will be cut off and trainings can be made more often by taking advantage of video conferencing system at the company trainings of employees.
Usage Areas of Video Conferencing
· Works for Distance Education
· Meetings with people at remote locations
· Use in health and medical field; knowledge sharing. ‘Such as interactive monitoring, from a different place, a first-time surgical operation at any location of world.’
· Monitoring areas (Shop, Airports, etc.)
· Insurance. ‘Appraiser can reach the headquarters right at the crash site next to the vehicle and transmit the damage assessment.’
· Video phones
Types of Video Conferencing
There are two main types of video conferencing. One of them is Room-Type Video Conferencing and the other is Desktop Video Conferencing. However, there is a third type of video conferencing as Video Conferencing Over Internet which carries approximately same features as Desktop Video Conferencing but some accept it as a type of video conferencing where some do not.
Room-Type Video Conferencing
There are video conferencing device, microphone, speakers and camera as equipment. The microphone is very sensitive and can perceive all conversations in the room. Camera can be of two types, one remote controlled and other sound controlled. The camera has the features such as rotating to the desired angle, zooming in and zooming out controlled by either remote or sound. If the remote controlled camera does exist, one of the participants can control it with a remote during the meeting. If the camera is sound-controlled, then it automatically rotates towards the speaking participant. If more than one people speak at the same time, then the camera focuses to all of the participants and transmits the picture of whole desk. While the video is converted into digital packages and transmitted onto counter endpoint through the video conferencing device, the video and sound packages of the opposite node is taken and decoded by the device at the same time, the video is transmitted through TV and sound through the speakers to the participants at the conference hall. During the transmission, both audio and video are compressed. That way, a certain amount of bandwidth is saved online. Thanks to the sophisticated compression algorithms, video conferences which are impossible to be done under low bandwidth circumstances can be realized.
Room-Type Video Conferencing allows more than one people to gather and hold a meeting. It’s quite simple in terms of ease of use. Once the installation is done, it’s used with remote controls. There’s absolutely no need for any additional training for the attendees’ managing the video conference.
The underlying cause of the Room-Type Systems’ being expensive is that all the equipment used -whether it’s the camera, the microphone or other hardware- is much more capable than the Desktop Video Conferencing Devices.
It’s also possible to publish the video to the Internet or local network using the room-type systems. The picture taken by the camera and the sound recorded by the microphone or the conference as a whole can be published during the conference or any other time asynchronously. That makes possible to reach many participants just as the audience and not necessarily taking place in the conference.
Desktop Video Conferencing
On Desktop Video Conferencing, all processing is performed through the computer at your desk. Necessary equipment for desktop video conferencing consists of a video conferencing card plugged to the computer, a small camera, a microphone and a video conferencing software. Through desktop video conferencing, as the name suggests, you can hold a meeting and conversations with other people while still sitting at your desk. Therefore, it doesn’t provide a way to gather more than one person and assemble a reliable meeting with people at distant locations as it is in the case of room-type video conferencing. Because desktop video conferencing is more like a single-person system.
Desktop video conferencing systems are generally allocated to the individual at the desk. Desktop video conferencing systems are able to communicate over IP and ISDN just like room-type video conferencing units.
PC processes the communication. Since the packaging, compressing and sending/receiving of sound and video are done through PC, this kind of systems don’t require much of a hardware. Encoding and Decoding processes are performed by your computer. Microphone and camera are also pretty cheap compared to the room-type systems. Furthermore, since there’s no need for a separate TV screen to show the video, its costs fall considerably down compared to the room-type video conferencing systems.
Desktop video conferencing systems can be used even in the same building. The main reason behind this is that the costs are quite low as mentioned above. Desktop video conferencing units are often preferred because of their inexpensiveness. The comfort (sound and picture quality) of the desktop video conferencing units depend on the processing power of PC and the quality of monitor and graphics card to a large extent.
It’s possible to perform video conferencing with more than 2 nodes at the same time through both room-type systems and personal desktop systems. Multiple video conferencing of more than 2 nodes can be done via split screen or showing just the talking person on the monitor. For this process, MCUs (Multipoint Conferencing Units) are used. Thanks to the multi-conferencing, you’re able to carry everything you expect from a video conference to more than two locations. Thus, you can maximize every and each gain on crucial issues like time and mileage as well as the efficiency and participation.
Videophones are the new trend in addition to room-type and desktop systems. Anything one can expect from a video conferencing system is possible with these phones. They’re similar to personal desktop systems. They can operate over IP and ISDN.
If government and military solutions are in subject, special products at different standards and compatible to a variety of environmental conditions are used. Water resistance, shock resistance, operating capability at extreme temperatures and humidity, etc.