Video conferencing technology has come a long way from it’s glitchy, constantly-freezing former self. It originally made its debut under the name Picturephone in 1968, created by media giant AT&T. Originally devised as a solution to expensive international calls, users could communicate with someone on the other end of the line for 10 minutes. This failed as it was expensive, bulky and difficult to set up. 

Multiple overpriced versions of the same technology came and went until the early 2000s. This is when video conferencing became more common in large corporations that needed to cut down on travel costs but still collaborate across borders. 

Fast forward to the mid-2000s when high-speed internet connections became more accessible — paving the way for applications like Skype, Facetime and Zoom to become a common fixture in our everyday lives.

What is modern-day video conferencing?

It's easy to find yourself lost in the world of video communications. With so many applications offering a similar service, connectivity issues or a webcam giving you problems, it can feel like a futile exercise for some. 

So, what exactly does it mean to be in a  video conference today? Business 2 Community defines it as “having an online chat with one or more people using both video and audio.” Basically, you are having a face-to-face conversation with somebody through a screen. You’ve got to love modern technology

To participate in the growing video conferencing craze, you need the following:
  • a device with a microphone and webcam — this is the main equipment needed to transmit your audio and video to other participants
  • a device with Internet connectivity — your device needs to be able to connect to the internet for you to access video conferencing applications 
  • a strong Internet connection -— this allows you to connect to your VoIP service provider. A strong Internet connection helps prevent technical issues, and
  • a VoIP service provider — to participate in a video conference, you need the software or application that runs the call.

The benefits of video conferencing

Cheap and simple-to-use video conferencing makes communication effortless — regardless of distance. 

These perks aside, video conferencing has a multitude of benefits in the business environment, such as:

The Zoom boom 

Popular teleconferencing tool Zoom has skyrocketed in popularity amid the COVID-19 frenzy. People all over the world have been practicing social distancing, living in quarantine and working remotely. Since its launch in 2011, Zoom has risen in popularity all over the world, specifically in the United States and Europe

In recent times, it seems as if recently Zoom is on the tip of everyone's tongue, whether you’re using it for online classes, meetings or to stay in touch with your family; it’s likely that you’ve either used the app or just heard of it.  

This begs the question: What is the appeal? With apps like Skype and Google Hangouts offering a similar service, still Zoom skyrocketed to the top of the charts on both Apple and Android stores, bested only by TikTok. 

According to data analytics firm Sensor Tower: “Zoom's mobile app was installed about 3.7 times more than Skype's and 8.6 times more than Google Hangouts.”
What seemingly sets Zoom apart from its competition is its accessibility and reliability. The app allows up to 100 people to join a session together for a maximum duration of 40 minutes on their free tier. Another appealing feature is that the applications are available across all platforms, be it Mac, Windows, Android or iPhone

Aside from being easy to use and free, Zoom also has a hidden beauty filter called ‘Touch Up My Appearance’ that users can activate in their settings. The app describes it as “a softening effect to skin to minimize the visibility of imperfections.”

Could video-conferencing overtake social media?

With no end in sight when it comes to the Coronavirus pandemic, it appears that video conferencing technology could be here to stay. 

Video as a medium continues to grow, becoming one of the most popular forms of content across all platforms. In a business context, utilising video in your marketing strategy results in a longer time on page, a lower bounce rate as well as a boost in SEO

From a consumer viewpoint, video appeals to the masses because it engages them and allows them to interact with one another in the most authentic way, other than speaking face-to-face. 

This authenticity engages users more than a phone call ever could because by seeing each other, we are connecting and giving each other our undivided attention. This fosters a solid connection between participants, according to Sproutvideo, because video simulates our senses which in turn elicits an emotional response

Be it Facebook, Whatsapp or Instagram — video communication is worming it’s way into all of our favorite platforms, with all of them launching video chat features. The novelty surrounding video communication is exciting to consumers, peaking their desire to stay on top of what is hip and happening on social media. explains the appeal of video conferencing perfectly as the elements of computer and electronic technology together creating an experience that is to date, the most reality anyone can experience in cyberspace

A key player in determining whether video conferencing stays in vogue is the Coronavirus. If social distancing and living in isolation continue to be enforced, people will need to find a new normal for communicating with one another.   

As isolation continues, broadband Internet gets more affordable and webcams improve in quality; it seems as if video conferencing could take off in years to come. 

Do you enjoy video conferencing? Let us know in the comments section below.

You’ve reached the end of what we could only assume to be an amazing article! Instead of having to search for our stories in the future, why not get them delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter here.

Want to know more about the growth of video? Be sure to check out the Five reasons to use video for content marketing in 2020
*Image courtesy of Vecteezy