Saturday, July 21, 2012

Free Video Conferencing

What is video conferencing?

Video conferencing is the two way video communication where presenter or presenters can chat with the audience through live video and audio streaming with the help of a camera and streaming server. It reinstates the need to meet in person with the geographical dispersed audience and reduces the amount of travel required.

Components of Interactive Video Conferencing

Video conference consists of:

  • Live Video And Audio Streaming - Two-way video broadcast is one of the fundamental features of interactive live video conferencing. It allows multiple presenter and each presenter can have the complete control of the session. Not just audience can see and attend to presenter(s) speeches but presenters can also view and interact with the audience, if necessary. This two-way audio/video streaming increases the effectiveness of content and knowledge being delivered.

  • Online Chat And Speaker Rooms - To cater audience questions presenter can allow live chat or speaker rooms to allow different speakers to interact with the audience through text based chat and live discussion facilities. Speakers rooms are the innovative segregated chat rooms that are built based on the speaker or presenter's area of expertise to connect audience and multiple speakers more effectively and minimize noise.

  • Hands-Up Or Q/A Features - Hands-up feature is a dedicated question/answer feature that allows individuals to raise questions through voice and video enabled chat during the session and participate interactively in the presentation.

  • Interactive Surveys/Polls - These user centric assessment and engagement are used in video conferences to gauge the comprehension level, aptitude, or audience feedback on certain topics before, at some interval, or after the conference. Presenter can post question(s) during the sessions at different intervals - MCQs, True/False, or Descriptive - to understand audience requirements and know grasp on the knowledge delivered.

  • Document Attachment - Presenter can attach and distribute documents such as PDFs, Word Files, Excel sheets, Images, and PowerPoint Presentations, etc. during the live conferencing to increase comprehension on different complex topics and assist through supporting resources.

  • Real-Time Desktop Sharing - Real-time desktop sharing allows presenters to communicate and present documents, videos, animations, software simulations, graphs, and Web pages right through the computer and interact live with the content presented.

  • Instant Recording - Presenter can make instant recordings of the session or a part of it for Web distribution, edited publishing, and future Web cast.

Types of Free Video Conferencing

Omnipresent free video conferencing is available in different modes and formats. It facilitates communication and development in almost all verticals including but not limited to healthcare, education, retail, government, and manufacturing industries. Free video conferencing tools can be categorized as follows:

  1. Social Media Platforms With the advent of video features on social media sites such as Facebook Video Chat and Google+ Hangout, video conferencing is anticipated to grow further and faster - in corporate as well as community or social communication. Google Hangout is getting considerable attention in the market and turning out to be a useful communication and collaboration application to connect with an audience worldwide to demonstrate upcoming and new products/services, present ideas to the like-minded professionals and peers, discuss educational topics with the students, or have fun with online friends and relatives.

  2. Web Messengers Web messengers such as Yahoo! Messenger, Google Talk, and Microsoft Windows Live Messenger have played a significant part in revolutionizing and evolving video communication on the Web. Windows Messenger is one of the earliest adopters of interactive live video conferencing and has a noteworthy contribution in advancement of peer-to-peer video communication. These Web messengers are available free of cost and engage audience with no substantial cost through an internet connection.

  3. Mobile Applications Communication is getting mobile. Free mobile video conferencing applications are the next big thing. Cutting-edge video applications such as iVisit, ooVoo, and Fring, etc. are getting popular every day. The advancement in mobile communication is influencing video chat, conferencing, and streaming on advanced 3G/4G phones such as iPhone, SamSung Galaxy Phone, and Nokia Fusion phones, etc. to evolve and improve faster and become accessible for the users of these phones. Development and resourcefulness of applications - be it live conferencing or a plain video chat - are becoming trivial in competing mobile market and for the success/failure of certain devices.

  4. Live Streaming Facilities Beside the advancement of video conferencing solutions on mobile and Web messengers, online live streaming platforms such as YouTube Live Streaming, USTREAM, and are still the most widely used and appreciated video conferencing solutions worldwide because of the ease of use and flexibility these software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications offer.

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