Comparison of Teleconferencing

Comparison of Teleconferencing Technology makes it possible to collaborate with colleagues and customers from around the world using voice and video channels. Two of the more common choices are teleconferencing and webcasting technologies. Both have their advantages and are suitable for specific tasks. What’s the difference? Which one is better? Let’s compare…

What is Teleconferencing?

Teleconferencing is the real-time exchange of information between two or more people who are not physically in the same space. While people often interact remotely with one another in real-time using various tools such as instant messaging or social media, teleconferencing is generally defined as a real-time interaction using voice technologies such as an ordinary telephone.

Some telephones, including residential and business telephones, are capable of teleconferencing. For example, many phones have three-way calling capabilities. This is a basic teleconferencing tool but it’s limited to just three attendees. Expanded teleconferencing options are available through robust business phone systems and third party teleconference providers. Comparison of Teleconferencing

Though various service models exist, third party teleconference services generally work by providing the moderator with a set of tools for scheduling and managing conference calls. Once a call is scheduled, participants are invited to join at the designated time. In order to join a teleconference, each participant must dial a specific telephone number and enter an “access” code or “PIN.” This code routes each caller to the appropriate “conference room” where everyone may interact with each other. Depending on the nature of the teleconference, the moderator can encourage a round table-like discussion or mute all of the phone lines except for the person who is designated to speak. Participants can usually mute and unmute their phone lines at will.

What is Webcasting?

Webcasting technology takes teleconferencing to an even more interactive level. Webcasting involves broadcasting live streaming media such as video and audio over the Web; hence the term “webcasting.” With a webcast, audio and video is transmitted to each participant’s computer in real time. There’s no saving the video to disc, editing, and packaging involved (unless the presenter opts to share a prerecorded presentation. Because webcasting is a live exchange of information using audio and video, participants can see and hear each other and interact as if they were face-to-face.

Like a traditional teleconference, the moderator of a webcast usually has a dashboard with various webcasting tools. Webcasts can be configured in numerous ways depending on the intention of the moderator. For example, a one-to-many webcast would involve a speaker presenting information to a group of largely passive participants. Webcasts can also be highly collaborative with the entire team brainstorming ideas and sharing insights.

In addition to adding video to the mix, webcasting can also include other interactive elements such as screen and file sharing and text-based chats. For example, imagine a one-to-many webcast with a teacher conducting a lesson on microbiology. Though the teacher may be the voice and face of the webcast, students can ask questions in the chat box. Likewise, the teacher may share her screen with the group so everyone can see slides, definitions, or even a PowerPoint presentation. She could send files to the group covering the day’s homework assignment or useful resources.

Teleconferencing and webcasting technologies allow groups to collaborate in real time. While webcasting is more robust, both are useful communications tools. Comparison of Teleconferencing


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