What is Desktop Video Conferencing?

By Kevin Stewart
Updated: June 20, 2011

Desktop video conferencing is a form of video teleconferencing where all of the hardware and software platform components are contained in a desktop computer. Instead of requiring a meeting room with dedicated video cameras and monitors, desktop systems provide full video conferencing capabilities in a package that fits in a typical office workstation.

Unlike video telephony, where the video image is provided to enhance the experience of a telephone conversation, video conferencing is used to provide the benefits of face-to-face communication and facilitate visual communication between two or more participants in a meeting environment. Desktop video conferencing uses new technology to deliver this enhanced meeting experience.

Taking Advantage of Advances in High-Definition Video and Audio

Early video conferencing platforms were limited by the technology. To provide high quality picture and sound, large monitors and expensive cameras were installed in meeting rooms. Participants would have to arrange their meetings in these specially-equipped video conference centers.

Today’s powerful microprocessors and video monitor technology bring full high-definition video to the desktop for very low cost. The same level of improvement in sound processing has made high quality sound available on desktop video conferencing systems.

Bringing the Meeting to your Desktop

For busy professionals whose time is precious, it makes sense to have video conferencing capability built-into their regular work environment. Being able to take a meeting on short notice with other team members or clients is a key benefit of desktop systems. Having the essentials of your office environment available during video conferences helps save time and money, as opposed to the time and cost of scheduling meetings in dedicated conference rooms.

Extended Benefits of Desktop Systems

More than just an extension of the video conference room, desktop systems have their own benefits, such as touch-screen controls, multi-site and multi-conference options, and collaboration tools. The direct contact with desktop video systems enhances the immediacy of the video conference experience, which can make video conferencing more personal and effective.

While costs of desktop systems are generally lower than the costs of using dedicated conferencing facilities, desktop systems are also very sophisticated and can be configured to provide a wide range of features.

Choosing a Desktop Video Conferencing System

It is important to consider your requirements carefully when evaluating a desktop video conferencing system. The following are typical desktop system options you may want to have:

  • High-definition video (1080p, 30fps)
  • CD-quality sound
  • Touch-screen
  • Collaboration tools for adding notes and on-screen markup

With these and other competitive features, desktop video conferencing provides a powerful option worth considering for any business.

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