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Video Conferencing vs Web Conferencing: What’s The Difference?

For employers, workers, educators, and learners, the topic of video conferencing vs web conferencing is important to get to grips with. As remote and hybrid working and learning models have grown in popularity, these two concepts have also become more commonplace, and they need to be understood fully, which means pinpointing precisely what they actually mean and how they differ from one another.

Keep reading to find out more about both video conferencing and web conferencing. Each requires a proper desk setup to execute them well, so discover ViewSonic’s range of collaboration tools and solutions for your next virtual conference.

Over recent years, a greater number of employers and educators have started to embrace remote and/or hybrid approaches, which makes it worthwhile to explore video conferencing vs web conferencing properly. In particular, understanding what the two terms actually mean, why and how the concepts are useful, and the ways the two ideas differ can all help to ensure both video conferencing and web conferencing are used effectively.

In truth, it is not uncommon to encounter the terms video conferencing and web conferencing being used interchangeably, and there are even some situations when this makes perfect sense. Yet, with that being said, they are also distinct concepts, which deserve individual attention and understanding.

In this article, we will shine the spotlight on both topics so that you can understand them and use them appropriately.

Video Conferencing vs Web Conferencing: The Basics

When exploring the differences between video conferencing and web conferencing, it is worth covering the basics first, starting with some simple definitions of the two terms. The most coherent way to do this is to begin with web conferencing; the reasons for this will become clearer as the two terms are explained in more detail.

Web Conferencing

Broadly speaking, a web conference can be defined as the sharing of information and ideas via computer screens, applications, and/or web-based content, often in real-time. This would include everything from virtual meetings, where people use conferencing software to have interactive conversations, to webinars, which are live lectures or presentations, and even webcasts, which are usually pre-recorded and then distributed to an audience online.

Therefore, web conferencing can be seen as something of a catch-all term for the various kinds of meetings, collaborative sessions, and idea-sharing activities that are made possible through internet communication. These activities may include video chat, text-based communication and/or voice-based communication.

Video Conferencing

Video conferencing is a narrower term and actually refers to a specific type of web conference. Put simply, a video conference is a web conference that makes use of video-assisted features. In practical terms, this means participants will be using webcams and microphones in order to recreate many of the features associated with face-to-face meetings. Other technology, like interactive whiteboards and video conferencing monitors, may also be deployed.

Generally, the term video conferencing is suggestive of real-time communication, using both video and audio signals, although text-based communication can also be involved, as can other features to make the conference accessible. It is also a term that is indicative of group communication rather than one-to-one video chat sessions.

A Closer Look at the Benefits of Web Conferencing

Businesses and academic institutions that embrace web conferencing as a whole have the opportunity to capitalize on some great benefits, with the single most obvious being the ability to connect to people anywhere, anytime. This is possible because web conferencing helps to remove many of the barriers that have traditionally been associated with geographical location, allowing meetings, presentations, and lessons to occur over vast distances.

Of course, this ability to limit or even eliminate the importance of physical distance can also have huge benefits when it comes to financial savings. Businesses have the opportunity to save significant sums when it comes to travel for meetings and events, with these savings extending to travel, accommodation, and other expenses. For events, there is also the opportunity to make significant savings on venue costs because people can ‘attend’ virtually.

As web conferencing is a broad term, the different possibilities that are included under its umbrella can also be considered a benefit. As an example, webcasts feature a one-directional flow of communication, which can make them ideal for delivering lectures to a class, whereas virtual meetings allow for a more back-and-forth flow of communication, with participants potentially sharing the information on their screens and speaking to one another in real-time.

A Closer Look at the Benefits of Video Conferencing

Video conferencing is a specific form of web conferencing, which is aided by video-assisted features, and this provides numerous benefits. One of the most important of these relates to the ability to see other participants; each participant will generally use a webcam to capture themselves while using software that allows them to see others. This can be important for replicating the visual aspects of a conventional meeting or lesson.

A major benefit that is linked to this is the ability to see and interpret facial expressions and other forms of body language. The significance of this can perhaps best be explained by highlighting the fact that most experts agree that between 70 and 93 percent of all communication is non-verbal. The ability to pick up on body language queues, such as fidgeting, closed body language, head movements, and overall posture can greatly improve understanding.

In work settings, video conferencing can be ideally suited for meetings and idea sharing, while in education settings, video conferencing can be used in place of traditional classroom discussions and brainstorming sessions. In each of these cases, software like Microsoft Teams or Zoom could be used to host the sessions, as well as any breakout sessions, while interactive whiteboarding technology can assist with collaborative efforts.

Final Thoughts

Video conferencing vs web conferencing is an important comparison because the two terms are often used interchangeably, but they mean different things. A good way to remember this difference is to highlight the fact that video conferencing is a specific form of web conferencing, with an emphasis on video-assisted features and technology, whereas web conferencing is a broader term, which includes meetings, webinars, presentations, and more.

Understanding the differences between the two will help you realize the benefits of each better and faster. It’s not just all hardware with video and web conferencing – softskills are also necessary to achieve an effective virtual meeting. Read more about what to do and not to in our useful guide or discover ViewSonic’s collaboration tools and solutions for your best video conferencing setup.