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A Teleconferencing Primer

Aug 17, 2007
Communication began with simple, one-on-one, in person-based interactions, primitive yet effective. Today there is an explosion of technology that allows groups of individuals to communicate worldwide without leaving their offices. This is the technology of teleconferencing, which literally means, "conference at a distance". Initially teleconferencing was conducted via a telephone network, and was limited to voice only. Computers have given a new meaning to the term, they allow more than just talk. Once a teleconference is established, these groups can share video, applications, presentations, and a host of other multimedia experiences.

Teleconferencing permits participants to meet in a virtual conference room, and communicate as if they were sitting right next to each other. Until the mid 90s, the hardware costs made teleconferencing exceedingly expensive for most businesses, and individuals, nevertheless this situation is changing rapidly. Most experts believe that teleconferencing will be one of the fastest growing segments of the computer industry.

In its basic form, teleconferencing uses communication means that range from simple telephone lines to sophisticated satellite links. The only requirement is that the conditions be interactive, allowing participants at each location the opportunity to actively participate in the meeting. As equipment and high-bandwidth cabling become more commonplace, it's possible that sophisticated, multimedia teleconferences can be held from your own computer or even in a mobile setting. Recent developments include improved equipment, more transmission options, the introduction of digital devices, and the integration of teleconferencing technologies with the desktop through personal computers.
Additionally, there is a trend toward using teleconferencing for more international applications. As more international services have become available, this segment has seen significant growth for teleconferencing.

The advantages of teleconferencing are obvious, and numerous. However, there are some disadvantages that should be bought to light. Technical failures may occur when trying to establish a conference or during a conference, which would terminate the meeting prematurely. Socializing is less than a face-to-face meeting, and it would be difficult to build close relationship between group members.

An individual's capability to progress culturally is unified in their ability to expand potential through innovative technology. Teleconferencing appears to address this progress, by enhancing productivity, communications, information management, continuing education, and travel and lower energy costs.
About the Author
Dr. Jay B Stockman O.D. is a contributing editor for myEyeNet. Visit http://myeyenet.com/ for more information.
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