Videoconferencing uses audiovisual equipment including computers, monitors, video cameras or webcams, microphones and speakers. It enables two or more people in various locations to conduct a meeting as if they were all in the same room. Advancements in technology and computer communications continue to improve videoconferencing technology, and the impacts of this communication method are significant.
Before videoconferencing, businesses had to plan, coordinate and schedule meetings and conferences that involved departments or associates in various locations. This required costly travel expenses and time away from the office. Videoconferencing has eliminated the need to travel to meetings, saving money in the process. This communication method also enables impromptu virtual meetings. The financial impact of videoconferencing is promising. “Telepresence Revolution,” a study conducted by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and sponsored by AT&T, determined that U.S. and U.K. businesses with at least $1 billion in annual revenue will save $19 billion by 2020 through the use of videoconferencing and telepresence technology, or the high-definition form of videoconferencing.
Videoconferencing has enabled educators and students to connect with their peers in remote or foreign locations and share experiences through videoconferencing “field trips.” For example, students in a classroom in Berlin, Germany and students from a classroom in Wichita, Kansas could all participate in a live video tour of a museum in Paris, France. Videoconferencing also allows students in various locations to share and discuss their different experiences.
As videoconferences continue to replace traditional on-site conferences, businesses and schools are saving traveling expenses, and hosting sites are saving on printing costs, promotions, refreshments and other items associated with hosting a conference. As a result, videoconferencing has made a positive impact on the environment. In addition to the financial benefits mentioned, the “Telepresence Revolution” study also determined that U.S. and U.K. businesses will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 5.5 metric tons by 2020 through the use of videoconferencing and telepresence technology.