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What is Videotelephony and How is it Related to Zoom?


As you are reading this, millions of users are using Zoom and other video conferencing platforms to meet online. Business meetings have been moved from office real estate to the internet. Classroom setups are optimized not just for in-room students but also for those attending from home. Conference venues are seeing fewer people on-site but have a good turnout still because of online attendees. Online meetings and classes have varying needs but one thing in common: audio and video needs should be met. A lesser-known but highly related word to these occurrences is “videotelephony”. These require full-duplex speakerphones to allow participants on all sides to speak at the same time. To those unfamiliar with it, the word sounds like a futuristic way of calling someone that can only be done in TV or science fiction. What is it and how is it related to Zoom, MS Teams, BlueJeans, WebEx, and others? Does it occur in real life? How much does a normal person need to spend to avail of this technology?


Interested? Read on to find out!

What is videotelephony?

Videotelephony is more commonly known as video teleconference, video conferencing, or telepresence. It is the usage of technologies for the transmission of video-audio signals by users in various locations. Video telephones convey both audio and video in real-time. This means that data is transferred simultaneously which then necessitates devices that allow individuals to speak at the same time (full-duplex). However, video conferencing has evolved to include more than just an individual to one or both ends of these online conversations. Now, they are more than just upgraded versions of a traditional telephone call. These days, joining a video conference is as common as calling clients or sending emails. There are different platforms to choose from or programs you can download if you are new to it.


Zoom, for example, is a widely popular provider of videotelephony. They have hardware products and service subscriptions available to users of various sizes. Enterprise cloud systems allow various users in a company to maximize the use of telephones. Zoom phones are capable of different features for your business’s needs. However, Zoom’s more profitable departments are in meetings and events. Hybrid meetings and events are important to cater to people on-site and remotely. COVID-19 prevention protocols are being imposed by businesses with varying results. Lessening on-site participants by offering online options is one way of ensuring fewer chances of cross-infection.


Video Conference Platforms

Zoom, MS Teams, BlueJeans, and WebEx are only some of the mainstream video conferencing platforms to choose from. Many options have freemium subscriptions. This means that while users may avail of free videotelephony, features available to them may be limited. For example, Zoom’s free subscription to meetings can:

● Host up to 100 participants

● Have unlimited group meetings for up to forty minutes

● Have a 30-hour time limit for one on one video calls

● Group chats

There was a time when group video conferences were limited to thirty minutes but Zoom has upgraded it to forty. Many users find that this package is enough for their needs. Premium users have more options such as social media streaming and an increased capacity for more participants. Companies with multiple users can avail of one subscription and enjoy benefits for the whole team (up to 99). Premium subscriptions can be as low as 4 USD to thousands of dollars. The more expensive subscriptions usually include native hardware that promises a smooth experience. Imagine equipping your room with multiple pieces of equipment all working together to provide your company a hassle-free (although expensive) experience. More often than not, 24/7 support and premium after-sales are sold separately. However, as stated above, many users are satisfied with the free features available to them, partnered with relatively cheaper innovative devices.


360 Video Conference

Forms of videotelephony include using video phones for online meetings. However, screen sizes on modern video phones are limited. Most video conferences these days necessitate the use of laptops to reference or present data. Security to prevent unwanted listeners or “meeting eavesdroppers” is an issue among devices capable of wireless connectivity. Visual devices are more often than not focused on only one angle of the room (front-facing). Many hybrid meetings are conducted these days to cater to remote workers who cannot join on-site teams. Round table conversations, for example, are not maximized using front-facing cameras, built-in laptop webcams, or smartphones. Video conference platforms are now offering a premium (not free) feature that allows remote attendees to see in-room participants individually. Facial expressions, body language, and even context are better conveyed when each participant can be seen. Moreover, seeing the whole room would be beneficial to remote attendees too. They could “read the room” to get a feel of the meeting as a whole.

All-in-one devices such as the Coolpo AI Huddle Pana turns your free and premium subscriptions into more immersive video conference experiences. Participating in a 360 video conference makes remote participants feel like they are face-to-face with everyone in the room.

How does it work?

The Pana has a 360­° fisheye lens that (1) captures the entire room in a panorama and (2) highlights and zooms in on active participants through their movements. Beside the lens are four smart microphones that complement the visual positioning with auditive positioning. The microphones that each have a fifteen feet pickup radius can also highlight active participants, thus completing the Pana’s dual positioning technology. And lastly, the bottom half of the device is made up of an all-surround speaker that allows the room to hear clearly. As a whole, the device has a modern design that fits in perfectly to most conference rooms and classrooms. It can be placed in the middle of the table or towards the front for maximum positioning. Moreover, a complementary software called Coolpo Tools is available to allow users to upgrade the firmware, customize the layout, retain focus on the most important angles, block certain views from automatic detection, and so much more.


Conclusion

Videotelephony is video conferencing. Video conferencing is here to stay. It is important that we know the different terms and types of this “new” type of doing business. It allows us to communicate effectively, to convey our meanings to others, without having to travel over long distances for it. Freemium video conferencing platforms can be maximized using innovations that are available in the market. Videotelephony via Zoom and other platforms can be a hassle-free experience, especially with the right tools and equipment that suits your preferences. Coolpo AI Huddle Pana is a perfect example of a “futuristic” product that turns your ordinary video calls into immersive meeting experiences. Best of all, it’s available for purchase now.

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