Understanding the difference between audio, video, and web conferencing isn’t as complicated as you might think. Just a decade ago, these communication solutions were not widespread, but as we now proceed through the year 2021, they are a must-have for any business seeking to collaborate or be more productive. However, sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between these tools, which is important for getting the most for what you’re paying for.
In the popular lexicon, video conferencing and web conferencing are often used interchangeably. But they’re different from each other and from audio conferencing, although video conferencing uses audio conferencing to enhance the experience. To avoid confusion, it might be a good idea to take a look at the difference between audio, video, and web conferencing, and how these telecommunication tools can enhance your business.
Video Conferencing vs. Audio Conferencing
You’ve used conference calls; many people still do. Phone conferences, also known as audio conferencing or teleconferencing, are a technology that uses the telephone to connect multiple parties. These tools have been around for decades, and before video conferencing and instant messaging became popular, were the go-to technologies for a group discussion when participants weren’t in the same room. Audio conferences allow multiple people to use their phones to dial into a bridge line to join a conference. The technology is still in use today and it’s an easy way to use any phone line to share a conversation with a dispersed group of people.
The problem with audio conferencing has always been that you only rely on two human communication tools to participate: Your ears and your voice. The limitation of an audio conference call is that you can’t see the expression on the face of the person you’re talking to. It can also be confusing to identify the speakers or even to know if people are paying attention because you can’t see what they’re doing.
Video conferencing was really the next evolution in the technology that began with the audio conference. Comparing video conferencing vs. audio conferencing is simple; video conferencing transmits both audio and video data in the cloud to bring people together. Audio conferencing lacks the visual information of a video conference.
Although the technology has been around for decades, video conferencing became very popular for businesses due to the 2020 COVID crisis. From doctors using these tools for telemedicine to businesses bringing together remote workers, video conferencing technology has become a normal part of most of our lives.
We’ve covered video conferencing vs. audio conferencing. Now let’s look at web conferencing vs. video conferencing to understand their differences.
What is the Difference Between Video Conferencing and Web Conferencing?
Early video conferencing used proprietary software and hardware that was installed in a business to bring together two or more people in a video chat. It was revolutionary as a step above audio conferencing, because you could hear, talk, and see other people on the call. However, these tools were often very expensive, and often required physical on-site hardware to facilitate conversations.
The big evolution in video conferencing came in just the last few years as software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies created applications that allowed end-users to download these tools on their personal digital devices. Modern video conferencing is now as close as your phone. As long as you have a stable internet connection, you can use an online vendor to start a video conference. Typically, you must download their software from the internet to start the connection.
Web conferencing vs. video conferencing is very different, although there are similarities. Both use the video camera and microphone found on your phone or another digital device. But web conferencing is an online form of video conferencing that requires no software download. Web conferencing allows for real-time meetings, presentations, training, and even recorded on-demand events. These tools typically allow screen and file sharing, as well as instant messaging and a host of other features that make for a great online virtual event.
Modern web conferencing uses WebRTC technology. This backbone allows the web conferencing software to work on any browser, whether it is Chrome, Firefox, Edge, or Safari. The main difference from a video conferencing solution is that WebRTC technology requires no software download from the internet. Conference participants just click on a link to start the virtual event.
To put it in other words: Web conferencing is a type of video conference. Not all video conferences are web conferences, but all web conferences are video conferences as well.
Now that you understand the difference between audio, video, and web conferencing, which type of service is better for your business?
Pros and Cons: Audio, Video, and Web Conferencing
Now you have some decisions to make. Is web conferencing or a video conferencing solution right for your business? Do you need a video conference when an audio conference may work just as well? Let’s recap the pros and cons of audio, video, and web conferencing.
Audio Conferencing Pros
· Easy to use.
· Clear real-time audio communication.
· You don’t need a power suit (participants can’t see you).
Audio Conferencing Cons
· With video conferencing, a teleconference can seem outdated.
· You can’t see the expressions on people’s faces.
· You can’t see if your audience is paying attention.
Video Conferencing Pros
· Anyone can conduct a video conference with an internet connection on any digital device.
· It’s easier to read body language and get the tone of participants when you can see them.
· It makes the conference more interesting when you can see and hear participants instead of just hearing them.
Video Conferencing Cons
· It often requires you to download software from the internet, which could be a security risk.
· A poor internet connection can cause your screen to freeze, and latency can cause the audio to not match the video.
· For participants who lack the right technology on their digital devices, they may not be able to use the software.
Web Conferencing Pros
· There is no software to download from the Internet.
· Works on any digital device that can use an online browser like Chrome, Firefox, Edge, or Safari.
· Comes with sophisticated features that make the online event more interactive.
Web Conferencing Cons
· The quality of the web conference can vary with your internet speed.
· These services are usually not free, unlike some well-known video conferencing solutions.
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MegaMeeting solves the biggest challenges of modern video conferencing. For users, it is an all-in-one platform that delivers both video conferencing and webinars in a single, simplified interface. For attendees, it is 100% browser-based, making it highly accessible; joining a meeting is instantaneous from a single click. For enterprises, it is highly customizable, with white-labeling options for a private branded solution. For developers, it is API-driven and easy to integrate.
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