Videoconference Vocabulary and Terminology

What is a videoconference? a teleconference? a web conference? a virtual meeting? a webinar?

We have a variety of tools at our disposal and ways to connect with others have never been so easy. It used to be very difficult to connect and terms like ISDN, firewalls, V2IU, endpoint, and such were common. You pretty much were at the mercy of the tech person if you wanted to connect with someone outside your building. In some organizations, connecting outside your network was not permitted. Oh, and you had to understand what a network was.

ugh.

It kind of sucked. No, it really sucked. And most of the time the audio delay was so bad that it distracted from the content. Students giggled and you were pretty much always guaranteed a “bad freeze”. Luckily, things have improved dramatically.

What is harder is that there are so many different technologies and tools available that you have to understand what you are trying to do and then select the tool that fits your needs. Some tools are better for a one-way broadcast. Others are better for co-creating content. Others are better for have a conversation among members of a team.

  • Videoconference – a meeting between two or more people who can see each other on a screen.
  • Web conference – overarching term encompassing webinars and webcasts. Conducted via the Internet with a software to connect remote sites.
  • Virtual Meeting – a distributed meeting with parties joining in from different locations.
  • Webinar- generally a PowerPoint presentation to disseminate information. May or may not include video chat. Generally will include text chat, polling, and some voice interactions.
  • UVC (Unified Video Conferencing) – Bundles key features into one solution, including mobile, recording, and management.
  • Cloud Meetings-Meeting using commodity Internet and software based solutions. These can be either desktop, tablet, or phone connections.
  • Mobile Collaboration – Using tablets and phones to work together from distributed locations, within and outside one’s own network.
  • Skype – Owned by Microsoft and used for video and text chat. Paid accounts include multiparty calling and screen sharing. Clients work on all mobile and tablet devices.
  • FaceTime – Only works on Apple-Apple products. Audio calls and video calls.
  • Google Hangouts – Video and voice…on any device.

In this blog series, I will be using the term videoconference to mean two or more sites connecting at the same time, able to see and hear each other on some type of screen or device. I will also indicate if there are technical or proprietary limitations.

Hope this helps build your understanding.