How teleconferencing and video conferencing solutions stack up
It’s common to group teleconferencing and video conferencing solutions together, or even to treat the two as interchangeable. While today’s organizations regularly use them for similar purposes (e.g., scaling to multiple remote and branch offices, and reaching teams regardless of individual locations), these solutions are not identical.
Teleconferencing is the more general term. It can encompass almost any meeting in which the participants are not all in the same physical room, although it often denotes a voice-only call. In contrast, video conferencing is more specific, typically referring to converged platforms such as Cisco Webex Meetings, which contain features supporting unlimited voice and video meetings.
To better separate the two, let’s look at the distinctive advantages and disadvantages of each one:
A central benefit of teleconferencing is its flexibility. Since it frequently involves only audio, participants have many options for joining, including IP desk phones, smartphones, tablets, PCs, and even radios. Moreover, conferencing primarily through voice requires less bandwidth than adding video to the mix. You can save on service plans as well as network upgrades by doing so.
At the same time, teleconferencing has some clear limitations compared to video conferencing solutions. For example, in December 2015 The New York Times interviewed several executives and senior managers around the U.S., who admitted to doing everything from checking Twitter to washing dishes while on conference calls, in part because there were no visual feeds of anyone. Many attendees are not fully engaged in the typical conference call.
If teleconferencing is a rectangle, then video conferencing is a square: A video conference is always a type of teleconference, but a teleconference is not necessarily a video conference. The best video conferencing solutions combine the most important features of teleconferences – including the ability to easily join without setting up an account – with a unique, lifelike video experience.
Video conferencing helps keep meetings simple and structured, since everyone is visible and audio-visual quality is crisp. It can even boost employee engagement and retention by offering an ideal setup for mobile and remote workers.
According to a 2016 Gallup survey of 15,000 employed Americans, more than 40 percent of respondents reported spending some of their work hours at remote locations. Between 2012 and 2016, there was also a considerable jump in the number of workers who spent 4 to 5 days weekly away from any primary office, from 24 percent to 31 percent. Video conferencing is perfect for ensuring these individuals have access to communications tools on par with their in-office counterparts.
Synthesizing teleconferencing and video conferencing
The teleconferencing/video conferencing comparison doesn’t have to lead to either/or decision-making. It’s practical to combine the two and use whichever option is more appropriate for the occasion at hand.
More specifically, Cisco Webex Meetings comes with secure workspaces where teams can view HD video and get crystal-clear audio quality, all through an intuitive interface that enables end users to join from any device without the need for dialing or access codes.
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