There is much confusion in the industry with the terminology of “web conferencing” and “video conferencing.” They are often interchanged and in reality, they are two different conference solutions.
Both video and web conferencing utilize a camera-capture image to combine this visual component with the audio component. This is where the similarities end.
Web Conferencing allows a presenter to deliver a presentation over the web to a group of geographically dispersed participants. It is usually software based and operates over your laptop. The presenter is not very “interactive.” Participants usually interact through the use of chat, whiteboards, and desktop sharing. In more passive instances, audience members may simply not interact or sit in a listen-only status. Participants can see what’s on the screen but cannot make changes.
Video Conferencing uses video and audio to connect two or more points across the internet for two-way conferencing over distance. Cameras are used to enable participants in a virtual conference to see the presenter and sometimes, the other participants. It requires the use of webcams or other video equipment connected to a network and uses more bandwidth than web conferencing.
Differences between both are cost and a quality of image rendered: “you get what you pay for.”
Web conferencing frequently has issues with frozen images and pixilation because of low bandwidth, which limits interaction. This makes web conferencing good for speeches, but for meetings, it leaves a lot to be desired.
Video conferencing is used more for meetings but comes with a higher upfront cost. Video conferencing is loaded with high definition video, crystal clear sound, and a more lifelike interaction to simulate a face-to-face experience between users.
Deciding which solution is right for you depends on the importance of the meeting. If it is an important meeting, you will likely want the HD image and high audio quality that only video conferencing can provide. Web conferencing works well for broadcasting a single message or speech. If reliability, quality, and dialogue interaction is important to you, high-definition video conferencing is the best option.
If you are considering implementing a web or video conferencing solution, please contact IMS Technology Services to learn more about what distinguishes the two and which solution is right for your environment.
Article written by William Kiley, IMS Executive Account Manager
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