Video Conferencing Tools
Video conferencing software enables two or more people to communicate via video and audio using an Internet connection. It enables them to conduct live remote meetings by transmitting audio, video, and text. Best-in-class video conferencing services let users share their screens, remotely access one another's desktops, chat via text, exchange files, communicate via digital whiteboards, and even broadcast conferences to large groups of passive viewers.
Advantages of Video Conferencing Tools
Video conferencing tools provide adequate functionality for various meeting use cases. Many corporations have already purchased licenses for such solutions, and use them regularly. They can be scaled to large audiences, and operate well in a moderated environment or a one-to-many format.
- Existing familiarity: you might already be using these tools at work or school.
- Corporate IT support: the tools may support your corporate IT systems and security requirements.
- Wide availability: the tools may support your native language, when needed.
When They Are Not Enough
These video conferencing tools, however, are geared toward voice-heavy, video-heavy, or PowerPoint-driven communications, rather than collaboration. They lack the kind of interactive functionality and content flow that XR can offer. Users can, for example, interact with the speaker(s) by asking questions via voice or chat, yet they cannot directly interact with any of the content. Users cannot draw on a slide being shared by a presenter, or add new images that everyone can see. Screen sharing is possible, but is usually limited to one user at a time sharing content in a non-interactive way. Furthermore, running video content streams via screen sharing is very bandwidth-intensive, and tends to result in very low-quality video viewing experiences for all users.
Disadvantages of Using Video Conferencing Tools
- One “speaker” at a time.
- No (or limited) collaboration tools.
- Content is not interactive.
- Network requirements for video and screen sharing can result in poor quality communications.
Using Video Conferencing Tools in XR
There are new solutions such as Moot and SPACES which enable VR integration of video conferencing platforms. These bridge the gap between video conferencing (e.g. Zoom, Slack, Webex, Skype, Google Hangouts, etc.) and XR, providing users with customization options to place objects to change the environment.
They are very user-friendly alternatives for those who might be anxious about jumping into XR, but are not a replacement for those tools, as they do not provide all of the same collaboration features that dedicated XR Collaboration tools offer.