Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Acronyms, Wikipedia.


[‚vid·ē·ō′ kän·frəns·iŋ]
(computer science)
Two-way interactive, digital communication through video streaming on the Internet, or by communications satellite, video telephone, and so forth.


A real-time video session between two or more users that reside in two or more locations. While videoconferencing supports several end points communicating, the terms "video call" and "video chat" generally mean one-to-one. See video calling.

Although AT&T unveiled its expensive Picturephone at the New York World's Fair in 1964, there were few takers. Today, due to high-speed cable and DSL service, video calling has become commonplace for the consumer in the form of Apple's FaceTime and Microsoft's Skype. See FaceTime and Skype.

In the 1970s, business videoconferencing was established between branch offices, and by the early 1980s, more inhouse systems became popular after Compression Labs pioneered highly compressed digitized video. Digital video is delivered in various resolutions and frame rates starting at 128 Kbps up to multi-megabits per second.

Room Systems - The Beginning
In the early 1980s, videoconferencing emerged with room systems like this unit from Tandberg (the company was acquired by Cisco in 2010). (Image courtesy of Tandberg,

On the Desktop
Desktop videoconferencing became more widely used after the universal adoption of IP protocols in the late 1990s. Polycom's PVX software turns a Windows PC into a videoconferencing system. (Image courtesy of Polycom, Inc.,

ISDN was the traditional transport for private videoconferencing because it provided dedicated 64 Kbps channels that could be dynamically allocated. However, ISDN gave way to the Internet protocol (IP). In a private IP network deployed by either the enterprise or via carriers, the quality can be controlled.

Using the public Internet as transport provides reasonable quality without additional cost. Although congestion is inevitable, systems can throttle down to lower frame rates to eliminate most of the jerkiness.

Multipoint Conferences and Telepresence
A point-to-point conference between two people is straightforward, but a conference with several people requires moderating. A multipoint control unit (MCU) is used to mix the audio and make the video of the dominant speaker the larger window on screen (see MCU). Multipoint conferences are also achieved by connecting to a carrier's conferencing network service. A more immersive environment for group meetings is achieved with multiple monitors and loudspeakers (see telepresence).

Firewalls often presented a problem for Internet videoconferencing because they are designed to block packets that were not previously requested. However, there are numerous ways of configuring routers and firewalls to accept videoconferencing data. Another option is to place the video system in the demilitarized zone (between the private network and the Internet). See DMZ.

Video PBXs
Like a telephony PBX, a video PBX is used to switch calls and provide call forwarding and call transfer. Video network management is also required to adjust bandwidth, provide quality of service (QoS) and to log calls for accounting purposes. See videoconferencing standards.
References in periodicals archive ?
* set realistic expectations of what can be completed within one videoconferencing lesson;
Videoconferencing in dietetics: Aside from papers that provided team examples involving RDs and videoconferencing (25,26), none was located that included an in-depth discussion of how the dietetic profession has used this form of health care delivery in Ontario.
Videoconferencing allows participants in other countries to pick up on cues of what is expected in the meeting, says Allegrucci.
"We now have a weekly meeting via videoconferencing where we can discuss patient care with colleagues and have access to the consultant if needed.
Those serving sentences in national penitentiaries will also have to appear in court through videoconferencing, with regards to other pending cases or procedures, since they cannot be taken out of prison.
If you are involved in the Telepresence (Videoconferencing) industry or aim to be, then this study will provide you inclusive point of view.
VQmon/EP-VCF directly integrates into videoconferencing applications and devices, employing VQmon's proven perceptual models to compute user perceived quality (QoE) and performance metrics in real time.
The typical videoconferencing unit in those days was actually a facility--a custom-built room with full-time videoconferencing coordinators who were inputting strings of code into an MPEG-2-based codec.
The post Gartner, IDC recognise Polycom as 'leader' in videoconferencing appeared first on Reseller Middle East.
This kind of meeting has become increasingly common as Kenai Peninsula Borough Schools have embraced videoconferencing technology as a way to open up students' connections to the lower 48--and the rest of the world.
According to Chipps (2010), 81 articles on distance education courses using videoconferencing in nursing education were published from 1999 to 2009.