7 Benefits of Video Conferencing

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01
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Video Calls With Several Participants

Video conferencing allows you to interact visually with several people
Video conferencing allows you to interact visually with several people from remote places. Ariel Skelley / Blend Images / GettyImages

Video conferencing is the technology that allows you to hold meetings with several correspondents who are located in different places while seeing them and talking to them in real time. It is different from simple video calling, which is normally one-to-one video communication. 

Some time ago, video calling or conferencing was a luxury and required expensive and (then) complex equipment and expertise. Today, you literally carry it in your pocket. You can participate in and host video conferencing sessions on your smartphone and mobile device as well as on your computer with basic hardware and adequate Internet connectivity.

Video conferencing has become more common and more accessible thanks to the advent and development of Voice over IP, which harnesses the underlying IP infrastructure of the Internet to make free communication possible. Packets of video data, along with packets of voice and other types of data, are carried on the Internet, thereby making voice and video communication free. 

You need to be aware that video conferencing has a much higher bandwidth requirement that a simple video call. A typical estimate for a session with decent quality video would be 1 Mbps for each participant. If HD video quality is of importance, consider this as a minimal value. Now the each participant also needs to have the same connectivity provisions, failing which they risk missing much of the session and also messing around with the whole collective experience. 

The most common free video conferencing tool around is Skype, because it has been around for long and it has carved itself a culture among people, even those who are not tech-savvy. As it stands today, it may not be the best. Alternative tools include TeamViewer, Google Hangouts, join.me and many others. Here are the ways in which video conferencing can help you.

02
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No Need To Travel

Travelling requires time and patience
Travelling requires time and patience. A-Digit / DigitalVision Vectors / GettyImages

It costs a lot of money and a lot of time to travel to meet people. Imagine that you have to conduct an important meeting for your company with different people who are scattered over different places in the world, thousands of miles apart. To bring them together around a table, you need to consider and shoulder so many hassles: travel expenses, availability of flight seats, visas, availability of participants at the scheduled time, accommodation, food etc. With video conferencing, you can organize and hold a meeting within the hour with participants from remote places all over the world. They only need to have the necessary equipment and requirements, which are basic commodities nowadays, and be present in front of the screen at the chosen time. The pre-meeting organization can be done over email or instant messaging.

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Bind Your Mobile Workers

Mobile worker
Work away from the office through your mobile device. xijian / E+ / GettyImages

Your workforce may be scattered around the city of around the country if they are mobile workers. They connect back to base through their mobile devices. You can leverage this existing mobile infrastructure to conduct video conferencing meetings with your workforce. Besides, the visual nature of video conferencing even allows you to check the activities and whereabouts of your employees (or spouse for that matter) should you be finicky about their duties or suspicious about their integrity. They will also like this type of meeting as it allows them more time away from the office.

04
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It Aids Telecommuting

Working from home
Working from home. Eclipse images / E+ /GettyImages

 Video conferencing is also an essential tool in contexts of teleworking or telecommuting- working away from the office, often at home. If your business has a quite open timetable and your workers or co-workers work from home, one way to curb the lack of interaction within the workforce and the lack of downward instruction or upward reporting is video conferencing.

05
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Organize Meetings Independent of Time

Pressed by time
Pressed by time. Stephan Drescher / E+ /GettyImages

Now that meetings online are free from the huge obstacle of travel expenses and restrictions, they can be organized more often. You can meet people around the world every day or even several times a day.  This allows your business to move at the speed the world is moving. Your business moves without you having to move. And that's very fast.

Your meetings can be very short notice. Participants will no longer have excuses related to location and travel; they only have to free themselves. This means that you can schedule video conferencing meetings quickly and get it running either immediately or in a short while. You can also easily squeeze in anyone with a tight schedule.

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Humanize Your Conversation

Human interaction through video conferencing
Human interaction through video conferencing. Dimitri Otis / Photographer's Choice / GettyImages

Take this point in contrast with voice communication or email correspondence. Video is moving pictures, which are worth more than a million words. By showing yourself and seeing others, you can work the charms of body language, which is so important in business and other activities involving human interaction. Also, seeing someone while talking to them completely changes the nomenclature of a conversation, be it for business or in a personal relationship.

07
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Show Things

Show things with video conferencing
Show things with video conferencing. Hero Images / GettyImages

Seeing is believing, and showing is convincing. Through video conferencing, you can write on a board and show it to everyone, you can make a demonstration of your latest product, you can try an artifact, you can introduce a new recruit, or your fiancée, show your new dress, and what not. Often, you can show things that you cannot take along with your in your suitcase while traveling to a meeting. Video conferencing allows you to showcase your house, premises, the exoticism of your location, the people around you etc.

08
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Learn and Teach Online

Video conferencing in a class
Video conferencing in a class. Ariel Skelley / Blend Images / GettyImages

There are great courses being offered and great teachers teaching, but most of them may be far, very far from you. If you are a teacher or trainer, your market may be lying far from where you are. Video conferencing is a great way of acquiring and sharing knowledge beyond hurdles. While it will not be like being physically present, the interaction is adequate. You will be able to use multimedia facilities like online interactive whiteboards, and you can use online collaboration tools.

Courses can take place with the teacher and each different student being in a different location, and that would constitute a real video conferencing session. Alternately, the teacher would be in one location and the class in another, with all students looking at one same screen.