Video conferencing is a powerful business tool, that facilitates a virtual visual meeting environment between two or more participants, located at different sites, by using computer networks to transmit and receive audio and video data.
Video conferencing is a widely accepted mode of communication among business houses as well as other organizations. The mechanics of video conferencing is similar to a telephonic conference, except video communication allows a visual presentation. Each participant has a microphone, speakers, and a video camera mounted on the computer. As two or more people communicate with each other, their voices are carried over the network to the others, and images appear on the other participant’s monitor. Like all technologies, it has its share of advantages and disadvantages.
No Time Constraint
Video conferencing can be conducted at any time of the day. Time differences between countries do not matter when people use this method of communication because they do not actually need to travel to attend meetings.
Saves Time and Money
Transaction of any business requires frequent travel, to facilitate its growth and diversification. That translates to travel and associated costs like hotel accommodation and food expenses. A video conference will keep executives in the office, rather than sending them halfway across the country for conducting business. As one can conduct transactions without traveling, it also reduces the time spent in doing so.
Sharing Information is Easy
This technology enables improvisation of operations and services of remote outlets. As it can also be used to transmit files and documents, it is possible to provide real-time information, that can help in solving problems. Also, decisions can be made in the least possible time. The ability to share, coordinate and evaluate digital data from anywhere in the world allows people to conduct simultaneous communication and collaboration on time-sensitive projects.
Useful for Medical Professionals
Video conferencing makes it easier to access experts in a medical environment. Doctors, scientists, and researchers can bring together their findings and studies, and accelerate the process of providing timely assistance. This type of collaboration can not only help save lives, but can also help many people who can’t travel long distance to access health care.
Facilitates Long-distance Programs
Educational institutions, mainly long-distance education programs and instructional courses, have reaped enormous benefits from video conferencing. Professionals and students are able to access lectures, study material, group discussions, and even one-to-one talk with the instructor. It has taken education to far-flung corners of the world.
The major disadvantages are the technical difficulties associated with smooth transmissions that could result from software, hardware or network failure. Remote connections are sometimes known to be hampered by environmental changes. On some occasions, the absence of technical support personnel creates difficulty for participants who are unfamiliar with the videoconferencing technological concepts.
Lack of Personal Interaction
Another major drawback is the lack of personal interaction, that sets the tone for many business meetings in highly cultural societies. A handshake and an eye contact are essential aspects of many business meetings. Some meetings require a personal touch to be successful.
High Cost of Setup
Setting up video conferencing in an office can be a bit expensive for small-sized companies. Simple features can fit into the budget, but if advanced features are required, then a substantial amount of expenditure must be done.
Video conferencing advantages definitely outweigh its disadvantages. It can help stimulate better brainstorming, knowledge, fact and information sharing and gathering. The possibilities for different kinds of communication, for a better life seem to be endless due to this technology.