Discover why Webex was named a Leader in the 2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Meeting Solutions. Read Report

What is video conferencing?

A way to meet face to face, from anywhere

In a recent report by Info-Tech, surveying real users, Cisco Webex was rated highly satisfactory by:
85%
for ease of implementation
86%
for quality of features
84%
for usability and intuitiveness
85%
for breadth of features

Video conferencing is a form of telecommunications, in which participants join online meetings using devices with built-in cameras. It may also be referred to as videotelphony, video calling, video chat, or web conferencing.

The history of video conference systems begins in the early twentieth century, when research related to technologies like television and radio prompted vendors to explore the possibility of adding live video feeds to these forms of communications. However, the video conferencing solutions developed before the 1990s were impractical, as they could only be operated at high expense and with low framerates that produced unrealistic image quality.

With the emergence of the Internet Protocol (IP) suite in the 1990s, video conferencing finally became viable. Using an internet-connected PC, participants could chat in real-time, adding an extra dimension to their online interactions.

Continual improvements in internet connectivity since then have allowed for better-quality video, including support for HD (1920x1080 pixels) and higher displays. Laptops, desktops, smartphones, tablets, and dedicated video conferencing systems can all connect to video conferences now via Webex Meetings and other services.

Real collaboration, in real time

Video conferencing in Webex Meetings is an engaging, highly interactive way to meet face-to-face with colleagues, partners and customers over an IP network. Plus, it can fuel more productive online collaboration through additional features like screen sharing, meeting recording and integration with unified communications solutions for VoIP, messaging, presence, and more.
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A high-quality video conference can make participants feel like they’re right in the room with the people they’re meeting with, even if everyone is actually far away. As a real-time application, it keeps the proceedings in sync with a live and crystal-clear video feed,further enhanced by crisp audio quality. Attendees can:
  • Make eye contact and see meeting participants’ facial expressions in rich detail.
  • Keep meetings focused with face-to-face conversations and visual aides.
  • Boost participant engagement beyond what’s possible with audio conferencing alone.
  • Reduce unnecessary business travel by holding a video conferencing meeting instead.
The benefits of real-time video conferences are extensive, ranging from more productive meetings to less time-consuming and expensive visits to remote sites. An online meeting is the perfect forum for an internal discussion, a client-facing presentation and much more!

Simple to join, easy to participate

When joining a video conference, there are usually multiple options for connecting to audio. The most common are dialing-in via phone, joining with a computer, or using a mobile app:
  • Dialing in entails either calling a special number and entering a PIN for the video conference in question, or receiving an automated call to a designated number and then picking up to join. In Webex Meetings, the Call Me feature makes it easy to join in the latter way.
  • Connecting with a computer means using that device’s speakers and microphone (instead of a phone) to join a meeting in a web browser or a dedicated desktop app. In many cases, end users opt also for headphones or headsets that allow them to hear better and limit the amount of background noise filtering into the conference.
  • With a native mobile app, someone can join a video conference from a phone or tablet without needing the extra step of dialing-in. Joining can be as simple as clicking a button when it’s time to start.
Webex allows for one-click or one-tap joining from any device for more straightforward online collaboration – just press the Webex button to begin! That spares everyone the hassle of navigating complex interfaces or entering long dial-in numbers and PINs. Meetings can also be easily scheduled, joined, and initiated directly from a computer’s toolbar using Webex Productivity Tools.

With these features and others, Webex delivers a more streamlined meeting experience. Not only do you get to see everyone in high-definition video, but you don’t have to jump through a bunch of hoops just to get into the conference.
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Hop on from any device, anytime, anywhere

Video conferencing is especially popular among mobile and remote workers, because it gives them a high-quality way to interact with each other and stay in touch from any location or device. Even if they don’t have a PC or Mac in front of them, they can quickly connect using other devices to communicate and work together on key projects. Video conferencing can approximate the experience of an in-person meeting for employees who are spread out over different offices and timezones.
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Webex’s rich set of features and intuitive interface enables the best possible experience for today’s mobile and remote workers:
  • Join or host a meeting whether you’re on a computer, tablet, phone or other video-enabled device with a built-in camera.
  • Customize the layout so that you get the best possible view for the device you’re currently using.
  • Alternatively, join from any standards-based video conferencing system, no matter the vendor.
  • Also, it’s possible to hop on from a standard web browser with no additional software downloads required.
The flexibility of Webex Meetings is ideal for remote teams, as they can count on being able to have a consistently engaging experience regardless of the devices in use.

Fill in even more details with screen sharing

Video calling creates clarity, much more so than just hopping on to a traditional conference call or exchanging emails. But there’s more to a breakthrough video conference solution than video feeds alone, as screen sharing in particular adds an extra layer of real-time collaboration to an online meeting.

With screen sharing in Webex, more details can be added with just a few clicks or taps:
  • Share you entire screen so that online meeting participants can watch you walk through a detailed workflow step by step.
  • Or share just a particular document or application, such as a slide deck or spreadsheet, for a more focused session.
  • Screen sharing is also possible even if you’re joining a video conference from a mobile device.
Screen sharing keeps everyone on the same page. Take advantage of it for reviewing important documents or giving detailed presentations in real time, from any device.
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Record and share online meetings

What if someone couldn’t make it to a video conference meetings? Not to worry: It’s easy to preserve the entire session in a meeting recording and then share it later so they can get up to speed. With Webex, a meeting host can:
  • Record the meeting and easily share it over email or by posting a link elsewhere.
  • Ensure viewers can simply click on the link to begin watching, with no download required.
  • Download and edit meeting recordings before they’re more widely distributed.
It’s that easy. Informative and useful video conference meetings are saveable and shareable, so that everyone can learn from them.

Invite as many participants as you need

Video conferences are often thought of as one-on-one engagements or interactions between very small groups. They’re more flexible than that, though:
  • You can invite up to 100,000 people to a Webex conference, making it the perfect venue even for a large-scale video presentation or lecture.
  • Hosts can also stream video conferences to social media via Facebook Live for further audience reach.
  • Scheduling a video conference with any number of participants is easy and can be done directly from all common calendaring software and even from apps like Salesforce.
These features make video conferencing a versatile format, one that’s more scalable than either audio conferencing or instant messaging.
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A path toward unified communications

As powerful as it is on its own, video conferencing is even better as one component within a unified communications strategy that also incorporates solutions for calling, team chat and more:
  • Whiteboarding, file sharing and messaging within the Webex Teams collaboration platform can further boost productivity and keep participants connected.
  • Cloud calling provides a fast, feature-rich and cost-effective alternative to a traditional phone system.
  • Adding touchscreen whiteboards or meeting room and desktop devices can improve the meeting experience and enhance collaboration.
Unified communications puts everything you need for effective teamwork across your entire organization in one place, with a full set of functional and intuitive systems for staying in touch.
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Ready to start harnessing the power of video conferencing across your organization?