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Video Conferencing Beyond The Boardroom

Business meetings may be in the minority if you expand your definition of the term to refer simply to telecommunication via audio and video – hundreds of thousands of people use webcams regularly for example. A liberal interpretation could even include the long-standing use of UHF/VHF links by TV channels to report from distant locations, though generally, only one individual could see the other.

As you can see from just these two examples, there are more applications for video conferencing technology than business meetings. However, even if we scale back the definition further, there are other areas in which video conferencing has proven an extremely useful tool:

Telecommunications for the deaf

For obvious reasons, the telephone systems that have connected the majority of the population for the better part of a century have never been available to those of us afflicted with speech impairment or hearing problems. The use of video as a means of telecommunication for the deaf and other people with communication problems is obvious. Whilst the relatively recent introduction of text services may seem easier to use, deaf people generally prefer to use sign language. Video conferencing makes it possible for these individuals to communicate with their full range of emotion and expression and has even been used to offer remote interpretation services using a third party.

Long distance learning

One of the areas that have seen the fastest growth with the introduction of broadband services and increased bandwidth, video conferencing can help cut costs in education and extend services to people in remote locations. There are dozens of possible uses that universities and education bodies have for this technology; a few examples include:

• Lectures delivered by academics at remote institutions or by staff who are away from their home campus
• Researchers at different institutions can touch base regularly without losing time travelling
• Smaller institutions can pool resources and teach courses remotely that would otherwise be absent
• Home learning can be a 2-way experience rather than simply absorbing secondary material


At the most basic level, video conferencing technology can be used by medical professionals to discuss case experiences with colleagues across large distances. Beyond this it is also used to offer medical advice and expertise in real-time for both routine and emergency medical situations, allowing a surgeon to consult on an operation taking place several miles away for example. However, the most impressive application incorporates peripherals that can record data about a patient, such as ultrasound imaging devices or microscopes fitted with digital cameras – these can allow diagnosis itself to take place across vast distances.


Finally, there’s politics. Given that meetings between high-level officials tend to resemble those between executives in the private sector, this may not be much of a revelation. However, it is one of the most common and effective uses of the technology, saving millions in public funds. Heads of state and senior politicians can confer on crises in real-time without waiting for travel and without running the risk of travelling to unstable regions. Given that few international discussions involve just one or two parties, this application has arguably had the biggest effect on the wider world – even if no one realises it.

I use and highly recommend GVO Conference Video Conferencing Software. Taking time when choosing a provider GVO Conference Video Conference Software is my recommendation.

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