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Videotelephony comprises the technologies for the reception and transmission of audio-video signals by users at different locations, for communication between people in real-time.
At the dawn of the technology, videotelephony also included image phones which would exchange still images between units every few seconds over conventional POTS-type telephone lines, essentially the same as slow scan TV systems.
Currently videotelephony usage has made significant inroads in government, healthcare, education and the news media. It is particularly useful to the deaf and speech-impaired who can use them with sign language and also with a video relay service, and well as to those with mobility issues or those who are located in distant places and are in need of telemedical or tele-educational services.
It is also used in commercial and corporate settings to facilitate meetings and conferences, typically between parties that already have established relationships.
Early history Edit
- Further information: Videophone -Early history
The concept of videotelephony was first popularized in the late 1880s in both the United States and Europe, although the sciences to permit its very earliest trials would take nearly a half century to be discovered. These evolved from studies and experimentation in the fields of electrical telegraphy, telephony, radio and television.
The development of video and television transmission technologies in the United States and the United Kingdom started in the latter half of the 1920s, spurred notably by AT&T, occurred in part to serve as an adjunct to the use of the telephone. A number of organizations believed that videotelephony would be superior to plain voice telecommunication. However video technology was to be deployed in analog television broadcasting long before it could become practical in videotelephony.
Major categories Edit
- Main article: Webcam
Videotelephony can be categorized by its functionality, that is to its intended purpose, and also by its method of transmissions.
Videophones were the earliest form of videotelephony, dating back to initial tests in 1927 by AT&T. During the late 1930s the post offices of several European governments established public videophone services for person-to-person communications utilizing dual cable circuit telephone transmission technology. In the present day standalone videophones and UMTS video-enabled mobile phones are usually used on a person-to-person basis.
Videoconferencing saw its earliest use with AT&T's Picturephone service in the early 1970s. Transmissions were analog over short distances, but converted to digital forms for longer calls, again using telephone transmission technology. Popular corporate videoconferencing systems in the present day have migrated almost exclusively to digital ISDN and IP transmission modes due to the need to convey the very large amounts of data generated by their cameras and microphones. These systems are often intended for use in conference mode, that is by many people in several different locations, all of whom can be viewed by every participant at each location.
Telepresence systems are a newer, more advanced subset of videoconferencing systems, meant to allow higher degrees of video and audio fidelity. Such high end systems are typically deployed in corporate settings.
Mobile collaboration systems are another recent development, combining the use of video, audio, and on-screen drawing capabilities using newest generation hand-held electronic devices broadcasting over secure networks, enabling multi-party conferencing in real-time, independent of location.
Categories by cost and quality of service Edit
From the least to the most expensive systems:
- Web camera videophone and videoconferencing systems that serve as compliments to personal computers, connected to other participants by computer and VoIP networks –lowest direct cost assuming the users already possess computers at their respective locations. Quality of service can range from low to very high, including high definition video available on the latest model webcams;
- Videophones –low to midrange cost. The earliest standalone models operated over either plain POTS telephone lines on the PSTN telephone networks or more expensive ISDN lines, while newer models have largely migrated to Internet protocol line service for higher image resolutions and sound quality. Quality of service for standalone videophones can vary from low to high;
- Videoconferencing systems –midrange cost, usually utilizing multipoint control units or other bridging services to allow multiple parties on a videoconference calls. Quality of service can vary from moderate to high;
- Telepresence systems –highest capabilities and highest cost. Full high-end systems can involve especially built teleconference rooms to allow expansive views with very high levels of audio and video fidelity, to permit an 'immersive' videoconference. When the proper type and capacity transmission lines are provided between facilities, the quality of service reaches state-of-the-art levels.
Impact on society, business, government, healthcare and media Edit
- Main article: Videoconferencing –Social and institutional impact
Use in sign language communications Edit
- Main articles: Video Relay Service, a service for deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech-impaired (mute) users communicating with hearing persons at a different location, plus Video Remote Interpreting, where all parties are in the same location.
Descriptive names and terminology Edit
See also Edit
- Mobile collaboration
- Project DIANE -a large U.S. business and social services videoconferencing network
- Telephony -the ancestral technology
- Daly, Edward A. & Hansell, Kathleen J. Visual Telephony, Artech House, Boston, 1999, ISBN 1-58053-023-0, ISBN 978-1-58053-023-1, CIPD HD9697.T452D35 651.7'3-dc21.
- Nellist, John G. Understanding Telecommunications And Lightwave Systems: An Entry-Level Guide, John Wiley and Sons, IEEE Press, 2002, ISBN 0-471-15032-0, ISBN 978-0-471-15032-9.
- Schnaars, Steve & Wymbs, Cliff. On The Persistence Of Lackluster Demand – The History Of The Video Telephone, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, March 2004, Vol.71, Issue 3, pp. 197–216. DOI:10.1016/S0040-1625(02)00410-9 . Viewable via ScienceDirect.com (subscription).
- Shepard, Steven. Videoconferencing Demystified: Making Video Services Work, McGraw-Hill Professional, 2002, ISBN 0-07-140085-0, ISBN 978-0-07-140085-5
- Stevenson Bacon, W. Amazing New Picturephone: A Step Closer to In-Person Visits, 'Popular Science, June 1968, pp. 46–47.
- Wilcox, James R. & Gibson, David K. Video Communications: The Whole Picture, Focal Press, CMP Books, San Francisco, 2005, ISBN 1-57820-316-3, ISBN 978-1-57820-316-1.
Further reading Edit
- Adeshina, Emmanuel. In-Person Visits Fade as Jails Set Up Video Units for Inmates and Families, The New York Times website, August 7, 2012, pg. A15 of the New York Edition.
- Bajaj, Vikas. Transparent Government, Via Webcams in India, The New York Times, July 18, 2011, pg.B3. Published online: July 17, 2011.
- Davis, Andrew W.; Weinstein, Ira M. The Business Case for Videoconferencing, Wainhouse Research, March 2005.
- Hoffman, Jan. When Your Therapist Is Only a Click Away, The New York Times, September 25, 2011, pg. ST1. Also published September 23, 2011 online at www.nytimes.com.
- Perlroth, Nicole. Cameras May Open Up the Board Room to Hackers, The New York Times online, January 22, 2012. A version of this article appeared in print on January 23, 2012, on page B1 of the New York edition with the headline: "Conferences Via the Net Called Risky".
- ProAV Magazine. Being There ProAV Magazine. 7 November 2008.
- Saint Louis, Catherine. With Enough Bandwidth, Many Join The Band, The New York Times, January 10, 2012 (online), January 11, 2012 (in print, New York Edition, pg. A1). Retrieved online January 11, 2012. Synopsis: a look at the pros and cons of videotelephony used for private, individual, music lessons.
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