Videoconferences are groupware technologies that enable people in two or more locations to interact simultaneously by merging video, voice call, file sharing, instant messaging, and internet co-browsing across both Windows & Mac operating systems. Thanks to advancements high speed web connectivity, videoconferences are now more widely available at a lower cost. New, cheaper technologies such as the webcam, software compression and affordable broadband connections allow even personal users – not just business users – to enjoy video conferencing.
More importantly, video conferences have become extremely helpful in the field of medicine. It is now being applied to telemedicine – it is used to help diagnose patients remotely, conduct remote consultation, and transmit medical images and other pressing data all in real time.
Peripheral applications such as microscopes with built-in digital cameras, ultrasound tools, “videoendoscopes,” and many other related technologies can be connected to videoconferencing technology to transmit patient data. Stay-at-home patients can easily access nurses and physicians especially during medical emergency. Videoconferences also allow medical professionals to discuss cases and consult each other across large distances. Best of all, videoconferences allow patients in remote rural areas to get modern diagnosis without leaving their localities.
Videoconferences are now also widely available in schools and other educational institutions. Students, teachers and lecturers from the world over can hold classes together and even transmit these classes to isolated locations. Videoconferences have also lowered the costs of education, because students gain access to classes that their schools cannot afford to offer within their own vicinity for a lower cost.
Foreign language classes, for example, can be conducted from a remote university and transmitted to a recipient school. In some cases, videoconferences can replace field trips – economically disadvantaged students who cannot go personally to zoos, museums or to trips to other countries can immerse themselves in the same experience through the technology.