Video Conferencing: How It Works, How to Use It, Top Platforms


Video conferencing is a technology that allows users in different locations to hold real-time face-to-face meetings, often at little to no cost. Learn how it works, various use cases, and explore the top platforms for effective communication.

What is video conferencing?

Video conferencing is an online technology that enables users in different locations to hold face-to-face meetings without having to move to a single location together. This technology is particularly convenient for business users in different cities or even different countries because it saves time, expenses, and hassles associated with business travel. Uses for video conferencing include holding routine meetings, negotiating business deals, and interviewing job candidates.

When a video conference is held for informal purposes, it is called a video call or video chat.

How video conferencing works

Video conferencing’s main advantage over telephone conference calls is that users can see each other, allowing them to develop stronger relationships.

There are various ways to conduct video conferencing. Individuals may use web cameras connected to or built into laptops, tablets, or desktop computers. Smartphones and other connected mobile devices equipped with cameras may also be used for video conferences. In such instances, a software-based platform is typically used to transmit the communication over internet protocols.

Some businesses use dedicated video conferencing rooms equipped with high-grade cameras and screens to ensure clear conversations with minimal technical faults. Third-party providers often install and assemble the hardware needed to conduct video conferences.

The stability and quality of the video conference may fluctuate with the speed and reliability of one’s internet data connection.

Uses of video conferencing

Companies with multiple offices often establish direct video communications between their locations to enable teams to work more collaboratively.

Video conferencing can also be used for conducting training, with instructors teaching remote classes from almost anywhere. This is valuable in a corporate context, especially for providing workers with the knowledge they need to perform their jobs better. The academic world can also make use of video conferencing to connect traditional classroom settings with students located a considerable distance from the school.

A video conference may also be used to conduct regular meetings with company staff or to confer with shareholders about the latest activities at the business. It can be used to announce significant changes at a company, such as introducing a new CEO, or to present information interactively, allowing all participants to engage in discussions about what they see on screen.

Hotels and conference centers sometimes make video conferencing services available to guests who require such services. This may be offered in suites or conference rooms equipped for this purpose.

Video conferencing during the 2020-21 COVID-19 pandemic

Video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft Teams saw a surge in interest and use during the 2020-21 COVID-19 pandemic, as lockdowns forced many individuals worldwide to work from home and attend online classes.

Video conferencing allowed professionals to meet with their clients and conduct one-on-one consultations, including financial advisors, therapists, tutors, and lawyers. In fact, some legal proceedings and court cases moved entirely to video conferencing during parts of the pandemic. Doctors and other medical professionals also adopted telehealth to a much larger degree than before the pandemic.

Frequently asked questions

What is video conferencing?

Video conferencing is a technology that enables individuals or groups in different locations to hold real-time face-to-face meetings using the internet. It allows for audio and video communication, making it a valuable tool for remote collaboration.

How does video conferencing work?

Video conferencing works by transmitting audio and video data over the internet. Participants use devices with cameras and microphones, such as computers, smartphones, or tablets, to connect to a virtual meeting room. Specialized software or platforms facilitate this communication, enabling users to see and hear each other in real-time.

What equipment do I need for video conferencing?

For basic video conferencing, you typically need a device with a camera, microphone, and an internet connection. Common devices include computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. Some professional setups may require high-quality cameras and audio equipment.

Are there free video conferencing options?

Yes, many platforms offer free video conferencing options with certain limitations. Popular choices include Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams. These free versions often have participant and time restrictions.

Is video conferencing secure?

Video conferencing security varies between platforms. It’s important to choose a reputable provider and follow best practices to enhance security. This includes using strong passwords, enabling meeting locks, and being cautious with meeting links and invitations.

What are the advantages of video conferencing?

Video conferencing offers several advantages, including cost savings on travel, improved communication with visual cues, increased productivity through remote work, and the ability to connect with people globally without geographical constraints.

What are the disadvantages of video conferencing?

Despite its benefits, video conferencing has some disadvantages. These include technical issues like poor internet connections, potential security breaches, and the challenge of maintaining participant engagement in virtual meetings.

How has video conferencing evolved during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly accelerated the adoption of video conferencing. It became essential for remote work, online education, healthcare consultations, and more. The pandemic led to the development of new features and improvements in video conferencing platforms to meet increased demand.

Can video conferencing be used for personal as well as business purposes?

Yes, video conferencing is versatile and can be used for both personal and business purposes. Individuals use it for virtual social gatherings, connecting with friends and family, or attending online events. For businesses, it facilitates meetings, training sessions, interviews, and client consultations.

What are some tips for effective video conferencing?

Effective video conferencing involves preparing in advance, optimizing your workspace, testing equipment, using a stable internet connection, muting when not speaking, dressing appropriately, and maintaining eye contact with the camera to create a more engaging experience.

Key takeaways

  • Video conferencing is a technology that allows users in different locations to hold real-time face-to-face meetings, often at little to no cost.
  • There are various ways to utilize video conferencing technology, such as company meetings, job training sessions, or addressing board members.
  • Video conferencing saw a huge boost amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The stability and quality of the video conference may fluctuate with the speed and reliability of the data connection.
  • Video conferencing can be conducted using smartphones, tablets, or desktop computers.
View Article Sources
  1. Advantages Of Video Conferencing In Education – MacCormac College
  2. Benefits of Teaching with Video Conferencing – New York University
  3. Best Practices for Effective Video Conferencing | University IT – Stanford University