With physical presence not a barrier to communication, the world is getting smaller by the day. Thanks to existing and emerging technologies, you can speak with someone in a formal or informal setting whenever it’s convenient for you both.
Teleconferencing works that way, providing real-time, dynamic, or interactive exchange of ideas and information. The term has come to mean many things. It can be specific and synonymous to a telephone conferencing, or teleseminar, or an umbrella term that includes videoconferencing, audioconferencing, and computer conferencing. Moreover, you can’t mention the subject without going into web and internet conferencing.
As it is, computers, telephones, and the internet all play a role in modern teleconferencing. And you can see for yourself how this mode of communication has changed the way information is shared in the following fields.
Teleconferencing in Education
Learning outside the classroom is not new with distance education and correspondence course, but the concept has gained a fuller acceptance nowadays. A January 2019 report from the National Center for Education Statistics showed glowing numbers for online course enrolment.
- In the fall of 2017, 3,104,913 out of 20,138,477 students were enrolled exclusively in distance education courses. The enrolment grew to 15.4 percent, from last year’s 14.71 percent during the same period.
- During the same period, 3,552,651 were enrolled in some, but not all, distance education courses. It showed an upward climb of 17.64 percent, from 2016’s 16.44 percent.
With flexible ways to communicate, students don’t have to appear in their classes personally, nor do their teachers, who can give them lectures and instructions live. Popular arrangements for e-learning are taking lessons (1) asynchronously or at the student’s pace or (2) synchronously, where they interact with other students and their teachers in a virtual classroom.
Teleconferencing in Health
The use of telecommunications and virtual technology in the field of medicine has made patient care and delivery more accessible and available. This innovation has given rise to telehealth, which affords medical services to everyone, particularly the homebound and elderly. They can use their computers or phones to set virtual appointments at home and maintain their health records.
Aside from the patients, health-care professionals benefit from telehealth. Doctors can consult with each other virtually. Other health practitioners can also receive training and medical knowledge via videoconferencing.
Telehealth is different from telemedicine, which refers to remote clinical services. A subset of telemedicine is telepsychiatry, which covers consultation, diagnosis, and treatment. One county in the US conducts a drug addiction program with an assessment program done through teleconferencing.
On a global scale, the telehealth market is expected to grow to US$22.71 billion by 2025, or a compound annual growth rate of 26.8 percent from 2016 to 2025, according to ScoopJunction.com, citing a Verified Market Research report.
Teleconferencing in Business
Organizations and companies have been at the forefront of technologies that will streamline business communication to reach their goals. Teleconferencing has been a go-to tool for them to relay essential updates and discuss what’s to come.
- Businesses use conference calls to provide status updates (e.g., third-quarter results). Participants can listen in via phone with a dial-in number and conference ID indicated. For example, Nortel Networks phones are typically used in live conferences and any voice conference or audioconference for that matter.
- Organizations with fewer participants favor videoconferencing for visual presentation and real-time sharing of documents and screens. Video teleconferencing has become a new way to meet face-to-face.
- Hiring managers take advantage of web interviews (audio or video) to screen applicants at the initial stages.
Time is money for companies, and teleconferencing saves them resources to communicate with in-office or remote employees. Anyone in the organization can meet virtually in short notice and can resolve issues quickly and get things moving.
Moreover, many businesses outsource work, and this trend is projected to grow at a significant pace. One report noted a growth rate of 7.75 percent over a 2018 to 2025 period.
Teleconferencing in Real Life
No one is exempt from the boons of advanced telecommunication tools and applications in today’s world.
- You can consult with your doctor without paying the clinic or hospital a visit.
- You can meet with your client or boss without flying or traveling to a particular place.
- You can participate in a seminar or learn something new outside the classroom.
- You can catch up on your incarcerated loved one, aside from a traditional visit.
How has teleconferencing has changed your life for the better?