Videoconferencing such as the meeting above introduces great benefits to the workplace, education, and even personal lives. IEEE members can use videoconferencing software to visually educate their members and society without physically being in the same place. Members and other individuals can all participate in the conference using their own web cam, thus creating the sensation that all participants are in the same room, but really they are all utilizing telepresence technology. The community of practice as a whole, which is IEEE educating the world, can benefit greatly from videoconferencing as it allows said community to communicate education to a wide audience while also reducing travel costs and the carbon footprint of having all participants to the same location.
Many different videoconferencing technologies have been emerging within the past decade or two – the first type of web conferencing that I remember being instant messaging via AOL instant messenger. Over time, instant messaging and emailing combined forces with video chat services such as Skype, which fused both text and videoconferencing into one service. As the need for instant meetings grew, so did the technology behind webcams, microphones, and conferencing software. Companies began investing in larger cameras and television monitors that aided in surrounding individuals thus creating the sensation that they were in a meeting room with many other individuals, however said individuals were actually taking place in a meeting over hundreds or even thousands of miles. Although this technology has been around for quite some time, the bandwidth and internet speeds to support this type of conferencing were not always readily available. Among investing in better videoconferencing hardware and software, companies needed to start investing in larger bandwidth tunnels and faster connections to the internet in order to fully utilize the benefit from videoconferencing technology. Now, said technology is better than ever, and provides many benefits to the modern workplace as we know it.