What is a conferencing system?
A conferencing system refers to a set of tools and software that allows multiple people to meet, communicate, and collaborate, typically over an internet connection. This kind of system serves as a platform for hosting virtual meetings, webinars, online classes, and similar events. In its most basic form, a conferencing system enables audio communication between multiple participants, like a group phone call. This audio conferencing setup requires each participant to have a device that can send and receive audio signals. Nowadays, this could be a computer, smartphone, or a dedicated conference phone. Some systems also allow dial-in numbers so participants can join using a regular phone.
Video Conferencing Capabilities
Most modern conferencing systems, however, offer video conferencing capabilities. Along with audio, they allow users to send and receive video feeds. This requires a device equipped with a camera and a screen. Video conferencing creates a more immersive and interactive experience, so participants can see each other, making communication more personal and nuanced. Another key feature of many conferencing systems is screen sharing. This allows one participant to display their computer screen to all other participants. This feature is particularly useful for presentations, demos, or collaborative work on a document or project. Some conferencing systems offer text-based chat alongside audio and video. This can be used for side conversations, sharing links or files, or for participants to communicate when they can’t or don’t want to speak. A number of conferencing systems also provide recording capabilities. This allows the audio, video, and sometimes even the text chat of a meeting to be saved for future reference. This can be useful for people who were unable to attend the meeting, or for reviewing what was discussed at a later time.
Modern conferencing systems also often have additional features designed to enhance collaboration and interactivity. These might include virtual whiteboards for sketching ideas, polling features to gather instant feedback, or breakout rooms for small group discussions within a larger meeting. In terms of operation, conferencing systems rely on internet connectivity to transmit data between participants. Many systems use a technology called Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to send audio and video data over the Internet. This approach is different from traditional phone lines and is part of what allows so many additional features. To use a conferencing system, each participant usually needs to install a software application or use a web browser that supports the system. In the case of a browser-based system, users often simply click on a link to join the meeting.