Web Video Conferencing

Overview: video conferencing is a method of communication by which people stationed at different locations can actually communicate with each other through audio and video simultaneously . In addition to talking to each other, other activities which takes place in a conference like making a presentation, sharing and exchange of documents etc could be done during video conferencing . The availability of larger band width internet connection in addition to advanced software, video conferencing over the years has increased its efficiency many folds . With increased quality of picture, sound and good data transfer rate, video conferencing has been finding new areas of application . The fact that people could get together and share their ideas and thoughts without the need to travel and meet at a certain place has been a huge contributing factor for the wide acceptance of video conferencing over the world .

The evolution of video conferencing : The idea of video conferencing has been there since the evolution of television as a medium . In the early days, the exchange of analogue audio and video signals was done through a cable in between to CCTV (closed circuit television) systems . This technique was widely employed by TV channels while bringing in reports from far-off locations. However the technique was not feasible for popular applications such as company conferences and educational purposes, due to the high expense incurred in realizing the communication thru the cables . It also had a drawback of poor picture and audio quality due to the poor data transfer speed as the compression tools available then were not up to the mark . This was overcome in the days of digital telephony which could ensure a rate of 128 kbps while transferring compressed sound and video signals .

Internet based video conferencing came to the core by the 90's by which time much more efficient compression tools were available which allowed the user to use the technology from his own PC . There was a lot of free software available for video conferencing like the yahoo messenger and NetMeeting . Although the quality of the video and audio were only average, the technology was widely used and appreciated for its cheapness and the chance it offered the people around the world to communicate each other audio-visually .

Technology behind video conferencing using internet
The following components form part of the internet video conferencing system .
1. A video camera to record and input the video stream into the system
2 . Microphones and speakers for voice input and output respectively
3 . Internet facility, preferably a high speed broad band internet connection with a good modem .
4. Monitor or TV screen to view the video .
A video conferencing over internet is realized as follows . The audio and video inputs are digitally compressed real time by means of a codec where in the size could be reduced to nearly 0 .2% of the initial size. The compressed data are transmitted through the internet network using modem, which is received by the receiver and viewed and heard through the monitor and speakers . This process takes place simultaneously at all the points of the users who participate in the video conference, thereby realizing the communication between them like they would have been doing in a real conference .