Types of teleconferencing services?

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Teleconferencing has evolved to include audio, video, and web conferencing. Audio teleconferencing is affordable and offers special features, while video conferencing requires specialized equipment and is expensive. Web conferencing combines audio with document sharing and collaboration. Free options are limited, but independent vendors offer cost-effective solutions.

While teleconferencing once referred to phone-based conference calling only, in recent years the term has expanded to include different types of conferencing activities. While each of these approaches continues to include the inclusion of audio as a tool for communicating, visual elements are also included. Today, the three main categories or types of teleconferencing services are audio teleconferencing, web conferencing and video conferencing.

Audio teleconferencing services have been around for decades. Before the 1980s, these services were quite expensive and tended to be a commercial tool used only by large companies. However, as more nations implemented deregulation of telephone services in the second half of the 20th century, audio teleconferencing services began to be offered by a number of independent teleconferencing companies, as well as still being an available service from large telephone providers. telecommunications.

Over time, audio teleconferencing services have become extremely affordable, allowing small businesses, non-profit organizations, and even individuals to be able to afford the service. Many interchange operators offer limited audio conferencing capabilities to their subscribers, allowing them to use a three-way calling feature to create a mini-conference. There are a number of teleconferencing offices that offer audio conferencing with special features such as moderator-led question-and-answer sessions, muting capabilities, and the ability for the moderator to call participants and insert them into the call at will. One of the most popular types of audio conferencing today is known as toll-free conferencing, which allows moderators to hold a conference without reserving a call for a specific date and time.

Videoconferencing began appearing in the late 1980s. This approach requires the use of specialized equipment to provide video functionality to accompany audio teleconferencing. Video conferencing services offered by teleconferencing companies often use the same conference bridge facilities to carry both audio and video feeds, although some still use independent facilities for each part of the call. The latter approach is sometimes heralded as a superior solution, since if something goes wrong with the video feed, the call can continue over the audio connection until video can be restored. Of all the teleconferencing services offered today, video conferencing tends to be the most expensive and requires the largest investment in equipment at both the point of origin and the termination points.

In recent years, technological advances with the Internet have helped create a viable alternative to audio and video conferencing services. Known as web conferencing, this approach combines the ease of an audio conference call with the ability to share documents and slide presentations via an online conference. Many web conferencing providers offer specialized features such as the ability for the host to share control of the presentation, open the meeting to collaborate on a document, or allow attendees to silently send questions to the host, who can then post the question or respond in private to the participant. As with audio conferencing, web conferencing can now also be recorded, with both the voice and visual components archived for later playback, either online or as a standalone audio recording accessed over the phone.

In addition to paid teleconferencing services, there are also free services available online and by dial-up access. While providing a basic platform that works well for simple conference meetings, these free options are often limited in terms of the number of connections that can be made to the meeting and the features the host can use to conduct the conference session. For this reason, independent vendors have continued to thrive, offering all the tools needed to effectively run a conference call, while still costing far less than arranging people to attend traditional meetings that take place in a central location.

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